Senior Seminars

Here are the Senior Seminars offered in the college.

Senior Seminars / Faculty Synopses
UTC2400 Community Leadership
Dr Tan Lai Yong & Ms Angie Tan
This interdisciplinary module introduces and examines the idea of ‘community leadership’. It focuses on how ordinary individuals identify social needs in the local community and endeavour to improve the lives of vulnerable groups by organising grassroots solutions. These individuals include grassroot leaders in HDB areas, social entrepreneurs and business people. They could be well known personalities or ordinary unsung heroes. Students are required to investigate the emergence of pioneering community leaders combining the socio-historical contexts, personal psychology, networking, negotiation, and socialisation processes and social entrepreneurship. The teaching methodology incorporates lectures, seminar discussion, experiential exercises and field study to interview real-life community leaders.
UTC2403/UTS2403 Citizenship in a Changing World
Dr Daniel Jew & Dr Lavanya Balachandran
Originally a concept which bound individual members to a defined nation via relations of rights and responsibilities, “citizenship” in the 21st century is coming under unprecedented pressure from technological change and globalization. This module will trace the development of the concept, the values and social assumptions which underpin citizenship, and the interactions between liberal, communitarian and civic narratives of citizenship from ancient Greece to contemporary Singapore. Three key relationships are considered: the rights and duties of citizens in relation to government, to other citizens, and to non-citizens in and beyond the polity.
UTC2404 (Re)Building Communities: Insights from India
Ms Wong Soon Fen & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
This module explores the concepts, practices and issues related to “community development”. It focuses on the building and/or rebuilding of marginalised communities (e.g. women, the poor) in developing Asia, particularly within the context of India. It offers students an interactive learning opportunity that combines development theory, classroom discussions in Singapore, and field visits in India. Students will critically examine debates about the nature of community development as well as ethical, social and economic challenges of different models.
UTC2405 Emerging Asia: Successes and Challenges
Dr Linda Matar
Why do certain societies succeed, while others fail? While some countries in East Asia such as Singapore and South Korea have achieved economic success, others in the Middle East (or ‘West Asia’) have undergone a trend of de-development, evident in the post-‘Arab Spring’social unrest. This module explores the contrasting social and economic development models of Asia’s regions. We will explore how states are formed, different economic strategies countries have pursued, weigh the impact of culture, and examine social deprivation and autocratic leadership. We uncover the deep-rooted social and economic reasons behind successful or failed development in different Asian countries.
UTC2406/UTS2404 Cities and Nature
Dr Toh Tai Chong
Must urbanisation come at the expense of the environment? Using insights from urban planning, ecology, engineering, sociology and public policy, this module focuses on how cities can integrate with nature to create sustainable communities which minimise humans’ ecological footprint. Students will explore the innovations utilised by different cities around the world. Using Singapore as a case study, students will be able to apply the concepts outlined in the Singapore Sustainable Blueprint into their communities.
UTC2407/UTS2405 Work and Inequality
Assoc Prof Siok Tambyah
This module introduces students to the concept of “invisible work” – tasks that are an integral part of everyday life, yet remain unrecognized and devalued by employers, governments, consumers and even workers themselves. Students will learn about different conceptualizations of paid and unpaid work, gendered and racialized labor, and the challenges posed by a global market that increasingly relies on flexible, short-term contracts. Drawing from the disciplines of sociology, geography, and business, readings and discussions will focus on the various manifestations of inequality in arenas such as domestic and professional care work, the emotional labor of service work, and the “hidden” work of information technology industries and business process outsourcing.
UTC2409/UTS2407 Understanding Communities: Theory & Practice
Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay & Ms Angie Tan
This module helps students to critically understand the unmet needs and issues of marginalised communities (e.g. the elderly and the disabled). It does this by providing students with opportunities to actively engage with a selected community, and to study its challenges in-depth. Students will be equipped with the basic concepts and skills of research and evaluation to study the community’s programmes and policies. They will apply the knowledge they acquire in the classroom to real-world situations through group projects and collaborations with a community partner.
UTC2410A Reconstructing Communities: Insights from the Balkans
Assoc Prof Reuben Wong & Dr Lavanya Balachandran
This module explores the concepts and practices of post-conflict community reconstruction in the successor states of ex-Yugoslavia. It focuses on the rebuilding of trust and cooperation between Serbs, Croats and Bosnias/Muslims in several new nation-states after the wars and genocides of the 1990s. It offers students an interactive learning opportunity that combines development and conflict/peace theories, classroom discussions in Singapore, and a study trip. Students will critically examine debates about rebuilding communities, as well as the ethical, social, and economic challenges of community development and reconstruction.
UTC2410B Community, Culture, Conservation: Insights from Nepal
Ms Wong Soon Fen & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
This module explores the concepts, practices and issues in community development in relation to culture and conservation of natural resources and heritage. It focuses on the interplay of tradition and innovation in the holistic development of a society, particularly within the context of Nepal. It offers students an interactive learning opportunity that combines theory, classroom-based seminars and field visits. Students will critically examine discourses on the dilemmas and designs of community development as well as ethical, social and economic challenges of different models.
UTC2411/UTS2408 Unequal Parenthoods in Asia
* New module launching on AY1920 Semester 2 *
Dr Lavanya Balachandran
Does parenting come naturally? Are there significant cultural differences in parenting practices, between Singapore, Asia more broadly, and the West? Do women parent differently from men? In this module, students will see that parenting may be universal but also a diverse experience. Drawing on case studies from Singapore, and other Asian societies, we examine how parenting roles and styles and perceptions of parenting are differentially produced across time, place and context. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will learn how broader systems of inequality through institutions, policies, experts, technology and material resources perpetuate socially stratified and fragmented experiences of parenting.
UTC2412/UTS2409 Mental wellness: Local and global approaches
* New module launching on AY1920 Semester 2 *
Ms Wong Soon Fen
What is mental wellness? How do we define ‘(ab)normal’? How do communities across different countries and cultures perceive and promote mental health and resilience? How do the government, society and family contribute to mental wellness? What roles can medical approaches, mindfulness and mindsets play? This module explores the key concepts and approaches to mental wellness across disciplines, ideologies and cultures. We will examine different perspectives in Singapore and beyond to appreciate the mental health landscape at the global, local and individual levels.
UTS2400 Identities in Asia
Assoc Prof Anne Raffin, Dr Kevin McGahan & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
This course explores identity-formation in Asia from top-down and bottom-up perspectives, by looking at how authorities, communities and individuals construct their collective identities. The concept of ‘identity’ is a contentious site as it deals with issues of belonging, imagining communities and defining one’s trajectory (identity-formation). Looking at historical cases to cross-compare examples among Asian societies, the course aims to encourage students to investigate groups and their relationships to their surrounding communities (families, societies and gender) and to examine the relations between state and identity, and between social activism and identity.
UTS2402/UTC2402 Environment and Civil Society in Singapore
Dr Joelle Lai & Dr Toh Tai Chong
How ‘green’ is Singapore and how should we preserve biodiversity on this island? This GEM explores the rise of the conservation ethic in Singapore. It traces the scientific, social and economic conditions that gave rise to the global environmental movement, and to its various expressions in Singapore. Students will engage with stakeholders (scientists, officials, civil society) to understand the conflicts and collaborations between advocates of development and conservation. The class will make field trips to evaluate state-civil society partnerships (wildlife sanctuaries, green corridors, water catchment etc), and debate choices and dilemmas for the future.