Edition 2017

Conversations in Singapore History 2017 explored topics of global, regional and local historical interest, through three distinctive panels. ‘Looking Out – Singapore in World History‘, examines the postcolonial against a global backdrop from pedagogical, geopolitical, linguistic, and legal perspectives. ‘Looking About – Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean‘, studies diasporic, aristocratic and architectural connections across the diverse societies of maritime Southeast Asia.  ‘Looking In – Culture and Society in Singapore‘ traces Singapore’s histories from the ground up through its music, film, and public consciousness.


Saturday, 25th February 2017
Danson Room, Trinity College, Oxford
9.20 a.m. (registration) to 5 p.m.


Keynote: ‘Haunted by the global: The ideological roots of Singapore’s world-class complex’ 

Dr Mark Frost, Undergraduate Director and Senior Lecturer, University of Essex
Formerly Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
& Senior Scriptwriter and Historical Consultant, National Museum of Singapore


Panel 1: Looking Out – Singapore in World History

Hidden Scars: The De-emphasis of Colonial Violence in Singapore Secondary School History Textbooks
Ng Qi Siang, Yale-NUS

‘Singlish really so special one meh?’: Colloquial Singaporean English and Post-Colonial Creole Exceptionalism
Tamisha Tan, Cambridge University

The concept of ‘peoples’ in international law in the context of ASEAN Commonwealth countries
Christopher Tan, Cambridge University


Panel 2: Looking About – Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean 

“Becoming Peranakan”: Hybridity and Reinvention in the Creation of Straits Chinese Identity
Minerva Lim, Cambridge University

Building a Wall: Reconstructing the Defenses of 14th Century Temasik
Min Lim, Yale-NUS College

Regardless of Race: Tracking the Identity of the Indian Community in Singapore, 1978-90
Joshua Jesudason, London School of Economics

A Palace without Royalty: The Malay Heritage Centre and the Taming of Malay Indigeneity
Khairulanwar Zaini, Oxford University


Panel 3: Looking In – Culture and Society in Singapore 

Another Singaporean Song: Xinyao’s Impact on National Identity
Karen Ho, Yale-NUS College

Model Culture as Culture Model: The Politics of Real Representation in the City-State
Rocky Howe, King’s College London

Dutiful Citizens: Exploring Female Citizenship and National Service in Singapore from 1967 to 2004
So Phia Ong, Oxford University  

Money No Enough: The Cultural Construction of Class in Singapore
Sara Ng, Oxford University


Closing Presentation: From Global to Local – On Historical Research in Singapore 

Piecing together the prehistory of Island Southeast Asia: navigating the conflict between research interests and heritage rights in postcolonial Singapore
Dr James Walker, University of Cambridge, and Dr David Clinnick, National Library of Singapore  

The full programme with abstracts for 2017 can be found here.