Senior Seminars

What characterises a Senior Seminar is its focus on a significant issue that may be productively discussed from both Asian and global perspectives, and its openness to multi-disciplinary debates and input.

Small-group discussions, facilitated by fellows from diverse backgrounds, are at the heart of the Senior Seminar. These are complemented by interactive sessions with guest speakers with deep expertise on pertinent aspects of the seminar topic. The overall aim of these seminars is to foster critical engagement with a topical Global-Asia issue that exerts a profound impact on society. These modules do not have final exams.

View Timetable for AY2018/19 Semester 2

Time and Life

There are few things that impact our lives as much as our sense of time. Singapore is a ‘fast-paced’ city where deadlines, time-saving apps and fertility clocks shape people’s actions and experiences, and where many feel ‘time poor’, even if they are cash rich. In this module, we examine the ways in which we take time for granted through analysing the ways in which our lives are temporally grounded. We do so particularly through tracing connections between individual experience, social life and technologies such as clocks and watches, electric lighting and the internet. Is time-stress inevitable in this day and age? What does it mean to use one’s time well?

By Dr Céline Coderey

Negotiating in a Complex World

We live in a world where complex negotiations take place daily. Navigating these complex negotiations requires one to be conscious of the psychological, historical, sociological, economical, and other contextual factors that shape each unique encounter. The rapid advancement in science and technology adds to the challenge of interpreting highly technical, domain‐specific information, which is critical in rationalizing decisions and persuading counterparts. In this module, we adopt a case study approach to dissecting complex negotiations. Students will learn to adopt both a macro and micro perspective in analysing such negotiations.

By Dr Michael Grainger

Technology and the Fate of Knowledge

The course will look at how claims to knowledge are legitimized and how our concept and representations of it have developed over time due to the kinds of technologies that have been adopted. We examine the role and nature of
knowledge, communication, data, trust, privacy, and related concepts from an interdisciplinary angle. Through 13 seminars, we explore these issues with examples such as big data, humanmachine interaction, engineering, and the internet. The goal of the module is to enable students to critically appreciate various forms of knowledge and assess how they shape our individual and collective lives.

By Dr Connor Graham, Dr Eric Kerr

Intelligence and Singapore Society

This module invites students to probe the concept of ‘intelligence’ in relation to Singapore’s ongoing development as a nation. The idea that smart minds are essential for survival has shaped domestic policies and international positioning strategies. We ask: in what ways has human intelligence been defined, measured and harnessed? What counts as intelligence, and what does not? Beyond notions of intelligence centred on the human individual, we will also consider forms of collective and artificial intelligence, mediated by science and technology. What kinds of intelligence are needed for the future and how can Singapore develop them?

By Dr Sorelle Henricus

Biomedicine and Singapore Society

This ‘Senior Seminar’ module will consider social and public health issues raised by modern advances in biomedicine, particularly as they affect Singapore and the surrounding region. Merging insights from medicine, social sciences, and the humanities, students will be introduced to problems, conflicts, and debates, and asked to form their own reasoned opinions. The seminar will meet weekly in small groups of 15‐20, with periodic full‐class meetings to hear guest speakers.

By Associate Professor Lina Lim

Technologies and Ageing in Singapore

With a rapid growth in ageing population, technological advancements offer opportunities to impact the lives of the elderly in Singapore. There is an increasing need to improve the health and social needs of the ageing population. In what ways can we do to help the elderly achieve a sense of worth, confidence and productivity? How do technologies empower and disempower the elderly to have a stronger connection to their community and improved social life? What kind of technologies are required to address the needs of the growing ageing population in the future and how can Singapore develop them?

By Dr Kuan Yee Han

Climate Change

This ‘Senior Seminar’ module will consider one of the most pressing problems of our time from multiple viewpoints. Merging insights from the sciences and humanities, students will be introduced to problems, conflicts, and debates over the causes of, and solutions to, the phenomenon of global warming and its implications for humanity. The seminar will meet weekly in small groups of 15‐20, with periodic full‐class meetings to hear guest speakers.

By Dr Connor Graham

Singapore as "Model" City?

A ‘global city’, a ‘city in a garden’, a ‘city of 6.9 million’... what do these and other models say about Singapore and its relationship to its past and future? This course facilitates critical and multi‐disciplinary engagement with the imagination and organization of Singapore as city. Students will examine visible aspects of the urban environment together with what is (treated as) invisible, and explore what is at stake in meeting Singapore’s ambition within its borders and beyond. The module culminates in a project that allows students to situate ideals of the liveable, sustainable, inclusive (etc.) city in particular urban sites.

By Dr Margaret Tan, Dr Jeremy Fernando

Gaming Life

Games permeate disparate fields of knowledge and involve cultural practices that are part of everyday life. This module investigates the idea of ‘the game’ to develop an appreciation of gaming life. Games are explored in theoretical and practical ways to develop questions interrelating technology, culture, and human community. Further investigation explores gaming culture, i.e.:strategy, tactics, entanglement, addiction, pleasure, play; and domains such as ‘political’ and ‘academic’ games. Play and practice are central features. Students will engage in the construction, critique, and development of games, applying concepts to broader issues of public concern related to the production of social form.

By Dr Jeremy Fernando
The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.