Major Prescribed Electives (MPE)

HH1025 World Archaeology
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course will enable students to rectify a criticism which is often levelled against historians: that the field is becoming increasingly narrow, hyper-specialized, and does not prepare students to grapple with large-scale, long-term changes and processes, and to be able to formulate analogies with case studies from different parts of the world and periods of time. At the end of the course, students will be able to: 1) gain an understanding of the human and natural factors which led to the formation of large political, social, and cultural units in different areas in the world, 2) be able to differentiate superficial short-term processes of change from more profound but subtle evolutionary trajectories by isolating and comparing specific attributes found in case studies derived from different eras, 3) develop processes of reasoning which will enable them to distinguish between necessary and sufficient causal factors, and dependent versus independent variables which fostered the growth of large-scale socio-cultural units with specific geographical correlates and boundaries or frontiers, and be able to explain why these variables differ when discussing the origins of political, technological, economic, or religious institutions and adaptations in various parts of the world, and 4) be able to identify and critique hypotheses and assumptions advanced by some basic works of scholarship dealing with topics on which the course focuses: for example, what constitutes a common long-term evolutionary trend which can be compared across different places and times, and what superficial differences mask or obscure common evolutionary processes between different societies or geographical regions?


HH1125 History and Archaeology: An Introduction
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

History and Archaeology: An Introduction provides a comprehensive overview of the development of two closely related fields of study: history and archaeology. In the course, students gain an understanding of the objectives, tools and sources of archaeology and history and how the similarities in the two disciplines provided the basis for the establishment of historical archaeology as a field of study in the United States in the mid-20th century. Since then the field has expanded to other parts of the world including Africa, Europe, and Australia. The course introduces students to the history of archaeology defined by its focus on material culture, and how its development intersects with history, especially in the study of past cultures, societies and technologies of periods when historical documentation was also available. The course begins with a diachronic survey of the relations between history and archaeology before narrowing its focus to the specific development of historical archaeology in North America and its impact on other parts of the world, especially Asia. By examining case studies, images, and readings, the course helps students to acquire elementary skills to interpret the information presented in the course. Students will learn to identify and discuss key questions, approaches, methods, and sources used in historical archaeology at the end of the course. 


HH2125 The World in 12 Objects
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

The World in 12 Objects appropriates an approach through a set of objects to describe and discuss human perception of the past and how divergent perceptions have shaped the histories we write of humans’ place in the world. This course also examines past societies and their practices, traditions, and products. The course focuses on 12 objects over 12 weeks. By examining a single object each week, the course uses different objects as points of entry to discuss different topics examined in archaeology and history such as religion, trade and exchange, communications, migration, urbanization, industry and production, etc. By centering on an object, its properties, form, production, context, and history, the course provides students with the tools to explore history by focusing on the life history (biography) of material items, such as a dinosaur fossil, stone tool, crozier, bronze sword, glass bead, a mummy, Kraak porcelain, or a piece of water pipe etc. 


HH2126 Heroes and Heroines in Asia
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Heroes and Heroines in Asia utilizes an approach of comparing historical and literary human archetypes to describe and discuss human perceptions of the ideal being, the heroic female and male. Comparison of different character types and human beings’ divergent perceptions of heroes and heroines shaped the histories we write of the roles of individuals and communities in the world. This course focuses on the examples found in premodern Asia. This course analyzes the myths and legends associated with heroes and heroines, and examines archaeological remains, such as statues, paintings, and temples linked to such individuals in conjunction with historical records. For the prehistoric period, archaeological remains provide important artifacts which can be used to hypothesize the importance and role of heroic beings, who would have been ancestor figures. As we get into the historical period, kings, queens, and other figures assumed important positions as heroic figures of authority who possessed spiritual powers. With the advent of world religions, for example, new archetypes were created, and new traits were qualities which members aim to emulate. This course examines the evolution of the ideal individual (hero and heroine) in premodern Asia. It considers whether continuity or change was more characteristic of the direction in which the heroic figure developed across time and region.


HH3022 World War II and Southeast Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? or HH1008 The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia | 3 AUs

In August 1945 the US dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, bringing to an end the Second World War (or WWII). Yet in Southeast Asia, the end of the three year, 9 month and 1 day occupation by Japan marked only the beginning of another round of intense conflicts. Events of 1941-45 led to destabilization of every country in the region and dramatically affected the ability of Western colonial powers to regain their colonial territories. Japan presented to Southeast Asian countries renewed hope and renewed fear but changed the way the people in the region thought of themselves in any event. As a result, revolutions of national independence were waged in nearly every Southeast Asian country after WWII ended. Was Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia the same as Western colonization, only on a more intense scale time-wise? Or were Japan’s “crowbar” effects crucial for the development of postwar independence movements? How do we understand WWII in relation to the birth and rise of a new Asian world? In this class, we seek to answer these questions by studying WWII in Southeast Asia through a country-by-country approach. For each country or group of countries, the following aspects will be discussed: Situations before the outbreak of the war, especially with regards to Western colonial powers; the timeline of Japanese invasion and involvement; the economic, political and cultural changes that occurred during the Japanese occupation; the end of the war and post-war repercussions.​  


HH3031 The United States and the Modern Middle East
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course explores major events and developments in the United States’ interventions in the Middle East and Muslim world since 1945. You will learn to critique US involvement in the Middle East and Muslim world, particularly how this involvement has been shaped by seminal events such as the European powers’ neo-colonial projects in the post-1945 period, the rise of Arab nationalism and Islamic radicalism, US-Soviet competition for influence in the Middle East and adjacent Muslim-dominated states (such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan), the American alliance with the state of Israel, and US predominance in global affairs after the Cold War.​  


HH3043 China’s Cultural Revolution as History and Memory
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

Firstly, this course will allow you to develop in-depth knowledge and critical perspectives on the Cultural Revolution as history by familiarizing you with secondary sources and debates on the period. Secondly, using various types of primary sources, including novels, exhibitions, films, and debates in online spaces, it seeks to develop historiographical skills by encouraging you to compare various source materials and perspectives, including sources categorized as “fiction.” Finally, it also seeks to contribute to skills in the realm of public history by looking into how the Cultural Revolution has been remembered in public media. This course would not only allow you to develop your skills as historians through the use of sources across disciplines and beyond “non-fiction,” but it would also help you to develop “historical empathy” by reading personal accounts from multiple perspectives as well as written in different time periods. No prior knowledge of Chinese history is required.​  


HH4015 Film: A Global History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

Two ideas animate this course: firstly that film was the major international cultural form of the twentieth century. Secondly, that historians of the twentieth century need to be able to deal with sources beyond the textual. HH4015 brings together these two ideas by grounding students in key debates about the history, aesthetics and philosophy of film. It also challenges students to take advantage of the recent mass film digitization programmes of the early twenty-first century – the aim being to give you the skills, experience and confidence to produce historical arguments with visual sources. 


HH4021 Public and Applied History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

Experimental, problem-focused and socially useful, HH4021 offers a unique opportunity to reach out from beyond the walls of the NTU classroom. It is a course that will ground you in both the various methodological practices, and professional contexts, of Public History. It begins by thinking about the ways in which our understandings of the past, and the uses it is put to, are shaped by the present. We move on to address how the past is encountered imaginatively, through objects and in the media. HH4021 will push you to find ways of applying historical methodologies to non-academic contexts, to evaluate the way in which these methodologies are applied and to reflect on the ethical, methodological and intellectual consequences of making historical knowledge ‘useable’. 


HH4027 Propaganda: History, theories and practices
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

In this course, we consider the varied pasts of propaganda – its founding ideologies, its practitioners, its practices and its material, technological and political legacies – in order to understand the complex roles it has come to play in our lives today. Along the way it asks, what exactly is propaganda, and how historically contingent have definitions of it been? Is it best considered an evolving method of communication, a constantly developing format, or a genre? How have changing ideas about human nature informed its development? What have been the parameters of propaganda’s effectiveness and how does this interrelate with censorship? What forces have shaped the development of propaganda and how? Might propaganda not only be inevitable in a society dominated by technology, but even desirable to manage societal change? These questions have value in their own right, but outside of history they should interest students based in RSIS, WKW and NBS, as well as across the School of Humanities and the NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity. In a digital age, it no longer seems contentious to say, ‘propaganda is everywhere and inescapable.’ We see it in international diplomacy and the news media, but also in the workplace, consumer culture and public health. More pointedly the theory of ‘hybrid war’ is encouraging governments (and non-state actors) around the around the world to develop new offensive and defensive propaganda capabilities. Students interested in understanding these phenomena in wider intellectual, theoretical and artistic contexts should take the course. It provides an intellectual grounding that will be of lasting benefit to students intending to work in the media, government and diplomacy. 


HH4125 Colonial Archaeology of Southeast Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1125 or HH2025 or HH2125 | 4 AUs

Colonial Archaeology of Southeast Asia provides a focused and close examination of the key questions and issues relating to the colonial period, which corresponds to the time frame between 1500 and 1900. In terms of periodization, the period spans the time from the early modern through the modern historical periods of Southeast Asian history. In the course, students gain an understanding of the objectives, tools and sources of archaeology and history. The course also ensures that students continue to be informed by the goals of archaeology defined by its focus on material culture and close link to history, especially in the study of past cultures, societies and technologies of periods when historical documentation was also available. By examining case studies, images, and readings, the course allows the students to build on what they have learned from the other archaeology and historical archaeology courses such as HH1125, HH2025 and HH2125 to interpret and critically evaluate the information presented in this course. Students will learn to identify and discuss key questions, approaches, methods, and sources related to colonial archaeology at the end of the course. In particular, students will acquire the ability to utilize historical archaeology methodology to analyze the sources of colonial and modern Southeast Asia.


HH1008 The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia introduces you to the background, factors contributing to the development, and the shaping of the nature of modern Southeast Asian nation-states from the colonial through the post-World War II and post-independent periods. The course draws materials from a diverse range of sources: from earlier, contemporary and later reflections to literature (novels) and even comics. By drawing case studies, examples, images and readings, the course helps you to acquire elementary skills to interpret the information you learn in the class meetings. Once you can identify and contrast available data, you will be able to write critical essays comparing and contrasting the arguments proposed by various scholars. In evaluating these arguments and comparing their efficacies, you will be able to construct a critical, evident based, and well-argued paper. Your ability to synthesize the range of viewpoints, assess their merits and demerits, and make a decisive conclusion regarding the effectiveness of different arguments will give you a foundation of knowledge and critical enquiry skills which you can use to proceed to more advanced courses in history. This course will provide you with a firm foundation in understanding the history, socio-political and economic transformation of modern Southeast Asian countries which you can build on when you consider furthering your studies in higher level courses on Southeast Asia, colonialism, political history, socio-economic history, and key historical developments in Southeast Asia in the 20th century.​


HH2005 Foundations of East Asia (previous course title: East Asia; Tradition and Modernity)
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

Much of what we see in current day East Asia finds its roots in centuries past, yet in new forms. This course surveys the long arc of East Asian history through the main themes of tradition and transformation. Tracing from the Han dynasty to the present day, this course examines fundamental questions of what a state is and how to manage it, conceptions of self, the cosmos, and the role and form of ethical and societal norms. Beginning with the formation of the early Chinese empire, the course will follow dominant historical concerns in each period of analysis, alternating between the regions that now make up China and Korea and Japan as primary foci.  With a solid grounding in how these ideas and historical patterns played out prior to Western encounter, the course will then examine their rechartings as the region situated itself within a wider global context beyond the region. These will form the underlying basis for examining the reactions to, incorporation, and local development of more recent phenomena of nationalism, modernity, and reform and/or revolution.  This course encourages students to examine preconceptions of what is meant by "East Asia " both in a historical and present-day sense and also to recognise that scholarship of East Asian history has also evolved over time. ​


HH2009 China in Revolution and Reform
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

This course will provide you with a thorough understanding of the history of modern China from the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) up to today. It will enable you to investigate and explain the broader historical processes behind the political, cultural, and societal formation of modern China. It will also enable you to analyze and interpret both primary and secondary sources specific to the field of modern Chinese history. The course will enable you to read these sources in context and to collect and synthesize large quantities of both primary and relevant secondary sources on modern Chinese history. Based on your analysis of these sources, the course will enable you to formulate novel historical arguments pertaining to the history of modern China. 


HH2011 Ancient and Medieval South Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

In this course, you will explore ancient and medieval South Asian (c. 3000BCE-1200CE) history from a variety of perspectives. You will engage with a wide range of South Asian literatures and become familiar with theoretical approaches to these sources. In this course, you will take seriously the arguments and narrative frameworks of texts such as the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, Buddhist literatures, classical Sanskrit poetry, political theory, as well as treatises on aesthetics, sexuality, economics, family and war.


HH2024 History of the Malay World: Present identities, Past Histories
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

In this course, you will examine and deconstruct the category 'Malay' as a lens into the broader processes of making and unmaking group identities in the maritime Southeast Asia region that historically used the Malay language as a trade lingua franca. You will conceptualize how Malay ethnic identity is an ongoing process and group boundaries develop with culturally specific markers along five major axes: economy, geography, political authority, religion and gender. As the course spans the pre-modern and modern periods, it will offer you an opportunity to compare and contrast how these processes change over time. Given the paucity of conventional documentary archives in accessing this history, you will develop new skills in interpreting alternative archives such as archaeological artifacts, the architecture of mosques and houses as well as literary manuscripts.​


HH2025 The World of Southeast Asia to 1600
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

This course examines the relationship between art, archaeology, and history in ancient Southeast Asia. This course spans the period from prehistory until 1600 which marks the approximate point when Southeast Asian polities and cultures began to change as a result of the forces of early colonialism. The course readings cover conventional themes in Southeast Asian ancient history. Topics include “Indianisation” (or Sanskritisation as some scholars prefer to term it) in connection with Hindu and Buddhist concepts of kingship, processes of urbanisation and state formation, networks of communications and trade, and their impact on the development of intellectual ideas, religious practices, art and architecture; and comparisons between the ideas of earlier Southeast Asian historians and new perspectives. This course will end with new data from the field by archaeologists and other scholars. There will also be discussions about whether the data support or refute established notions of the Southeast Asian past.


HH2030 Ascetics and Aesthetics of Medieval Japan (previous course title: Ancient and Medieval Japan)
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

The course is a social and intellectual history of pre-modern Japan, mapping both institutional shifts and the distinct cultures that emerged in the early Buddhist temple complexes of ancient Nara, in women’s quarters of the Heian court of Kyoto, in the medieval capital of Kamakura, among the samurai of the Warring States Period and in the tea houses and pleasure districts of Edo (early Tokyo). The course will engage the Japanese experience from a wide range of thematic and cultural perspectives. Themes will include political and military cultures, the machinations of court intrigue, the brilliant and melancholy literary productions of aristocratic women, the rise of a Buddhist intelligentsia, and the emergence of the high arts that have come to define what we all know and love about Japanese culture today.


HH2031 History of Food in China
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

Food constitutes a vital aspect of Chinese culture that figures saliently both in China and beyond. It forms a significant aspect of heritage identification for many ethnic communities in Singapore.  
This course uses the lens of food to explore Chinese history and various historical methodologies.  Students will assess the complex ways that food connects not only to daily life, through cooking and eating, as spice and as medicine, from the expression and formation of the self to the mediation of social relationship, but to larger histories of trade, ecology, medicine, religion, agriculture, travel and ethnic identity. 

You will analyse the deep history of food in China from antiquity to the present, exploring the rich culture of food within China, its longer-durée migration through East and SE Asia, and its rapid spread to the rest of the world in recent past. As you study food through the lenses of: agriculture, medicine, flavoring and sensory history, the history of practice such as techniques of cooking (which we may try ourselves), religion, cosmography, regional features, food trade, and Chinese food in the world, you will come to understand food not as an object on the tongue, but as a doorway to analyzing the world around you, past and present. Capitalizing on the sensory qualities of food, you will produce multi-media assignments describing how the past survives in, or has been transformed by, the present. 

The course seeks to use the study of dishes and drinks in China as a gateway to not just understand the variety historiographical approaches to Chinese society but also illuminate how our dietary habits and ways of living here and now are themselves forms of received historical practice.  


HH3003 Migration and Diaspora: Chinese Experiences in Comparative Perspective
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

"Diaspora” has become a buzzword in the last decades—with scholars referring to the proliferation of the term as a “diaspora diaspora”—but what do we mean when we talk about “diaspora”? Is there such as thing as a “Chinese diaspora”? And why do some use terms such as “overseas Chinese” and “Chinese overseas” instead? In this course, we will critically engage with different research paradigms to study the movement of Chinese to Southeast Asia, the Americas and Europe.  

We will first outline the broader historical patterns of migration, focusing on traders in Southeast Asia, mass migration since the mid-nineteenth century, migration after 1945, and the rise of the “new migrants” after 1978. Following this, we will look at distinct migration patterns in more detail: why and when did Chinese migrate to Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Europe? Apart from local and global factors, what policies existed in host societies (and in China) and how did this affect the formation of Chinese communities? This brings us to the third area of concern, namely the organizational aspects of the Chinese communities: what were the principles behind community organizations? How did they materialize in different contexts? And how did they change over time? Finally, we will look into questions of identity and representation through media such as film, TV series, and literature. Throughout the course, we will engage with various types of primary sources, such as cartoons, photographs, novels, films, magazines, and historical artefacts. 


HH3007 Southeast Asian-China Interactions
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

In the course Southeast Asian-China Interaction, you will examine Chinese texts, indigenous writings that include non-contemporary works which discuss the early historical connections of the Southeast Asian kingdoms with China and archaeological data in the form of Chinese artifacts found on both land sites and shipwrecks. This course will provide an understanding on long period of interactions between Southeast Asia and China. For instance, historical documents such as historical annals were examined as archaeological evidences in early Chinese dynasties from the Han to early Song dynasty period, the various connections between the different Chinese dynasties and the Southeast Asian kingdoms will portray the vibrancy of the trade relations then. You will also be provided with archaeological evidences from sites that facilitates them to understand the importance of archaeological sites as a primary source of data gathering. You will also learn the trade relations between Southeast Asia and China through artefacts such as Chinese ceramics and coins. By examining and analyzing the data from the artefacts, you are able to have a better understanding on the cultural and social aspects in early China and Southeast Asia societies.​


HH3008 Modern South Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

India is rapidly emerging as an economic powerhouse and a global power. This course will help you to understand contemporary South Asia by introducing you to the complex modern history of this region.  In Modern South Asia, you will explore the fragmentation of the Mughal Empire and the rise of the British East India Company.  You will investigate the social, political and economic transformations that occurred under British colonial rule, as well as the emergence of vibrant social reform, religious and nationalist movements.  You will also gain an understanding of historical changes in social structures, for instance, caste hierarchies.  In Modern South Asia, you will deepen your skills in analysing primary sources.  You will also debate various approaches and theories in South Asian history, such as Subaltern Studies. Throughout this course, we will explore themes in South Asian history in a way that connects the past to the present.  In class, you will analyse the ways that history is represented in film and in other media in contemporary South Asia.  You will also write about the contemporary relevance of South Asian history in both ‘scholarly’ and ‘journalistic’ modes, for both specialist and non-­‐specialist audiences. 


HH3020 Introduction to Korean History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 


This is a seminar course in the history of Korea, focusing on its modern part. You will be able to study the major issues in the creation of the Korean nations, the national identities, the growth of their unique social and political structures, and the technological and industrial growth in the modern periods. Through a seminar for thirteen weeks, you will learn the dynamics of Korean history which placed the country in the changing global landscape in the contemporary world.​


HH3023 Burma/Myanmar: A History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? or HH1003 Asia-Pacific in Global History: From 1800 or HHH1008 The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia| 3 AUs 

Burma/Myanmar: A History introduces you to the development of cultures, peoples, polities, and societies which occupy the territory of what constitutes the modern nation-state of Myanmar. The course draws materials from archaeology, history, and art history. By drawing case studies, examples, images and readings, the course helps you to acquire elementary skills to interpret the information you learn in the class meetings. Once you can identify and contrast available data, you will be able to compose historical narratives surveying and evaluating societies and peoples of Burma/Myanmar from ancient times to the present day. Discussion about the case studies is significant because the sites examined formed the early connecting nodes of what might have been an extensive network of technology transfer along the north-south and east-west corridors linking China and India via mainland Southeast Asia. You will also learn what sources are available, how scholars used these sources, and how they come to write the essays they wrote.


HH3027 A History of Modern Indonesia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

This course will examine the historical forces that shaped a collection of islands spread across the equator named by the Dutch colonizers as “the Netherlands East Indies” into today’s Indonesia—the world’s fourth most populous nation and the largest Muslim-majority democracy with the most enthusiastic users of Twitter and Facebook. The course serves two purposes: first, to provide some of the factual grounding to understand a profoundly important neighbour of Singapore; second, to use modern Indonesia as a pair of lenses to investigate a number of broader questions: How can a sense of statehood be forged upon a kaleidoscopic body of territories with diverse ethnicities, languages and belief systems? What caused the economic underperformance in some formerly colonised countries despite their rich natural resources and an abundance of labor? Is violence unavoidable in times of radical political changes in developing countries? We will also look at issues such as the entangled and embattled relations among nationalism, Islam and communism, the longstanding question of interethnic conflicts as well as the ongoing tension between the center of state power and the periphery.​ 


HH3036 South Asia and the World
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs 

This module examines how the region of South Asia has interacted with the rest of Asia and with other parts of the world. In this course, we will track the complexity of these interregional connections through a focus on empire, oceans, slavery, labor flows, law, pilgrimages, migration, and diaspora. These interconnections are as varied as they are complex, but they allow us to rethink the history of South Asia as part of both an interregional arena and a world system.​


HH3044 Heritage Medicine in Singapore: Malay and Chinese Traditions
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs 

This seminar covers two major traditions of ethno-medicine important to Singapore: Chinese and Malay. We will examine their intellectual history, evolving practices, their practitioners and patients and its impact on modern society, drawing on history, anthropology, and health research. While the two traditions have generally been studied in silos, this course places them in juxtaposition, enabling us to interrogate connections, interactions, and contestations across traditions. 

The course moves forward through thematic seminars, taught in turn by the instructors. Designed to encourage comparisons, we will interrogate how each tradition is defined, the characteristics and influences shaping practice of medicine, the connections between traditional medicine and the natural world, the emergence of hybrid practices such as Peranakan, and how traditional medicine supports, complements, and contests biomedicine in the modern state. 

This course is targeted for those who are keen to explore medicine beyond the scientific tradition and explore approaches that deprivilege biomedicine and institutions such as hospitals to delve into a past where healthcare was less institutionalized and regulated. It will be of value to humanities students who may be contemplating career paths in the health service (particularly in the burgeoning fields of alternative medicine) and to medical students who would like to integrate biomedical and traditional approaches to healing. 

HH4003 The Silk Road: Old and New
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs 

This course introduces you to the history of the Silk Roads in the longue durée.  Through this course, you will become familiar with and understand the major trends, debates, concepts and theories in the history of the Silk Roads, both the overland and the maritime, especially with respect to the role of Southeast Asia and Central Asia in the history of Eurasian exchange in different epochs of global history. You will also be able to apply these concepts, as you analyze and evaluate the different features of Silk Roads from the pre-modern to the modern period.   This course will also allow you to develop and produce new original work in the history of the Silk Roads. 


HH4012 Intellectual History of Modern China
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs 

What is an “intellectual” and what did and does it mean in a Chinese context? How did “intellectuals” understand the world around them and what was their role in society? How did they express their views and what media did they use to spread them? In this course, we look into the main themes, debates, and circulations of ideas in twentieth-century China through some of its advocates, paying attention to the specific contexts in which these ideas were put forward. The various themes and debates we will study reflect Chinese engagements with being “modern” in the economic, political, and cultural sense. The readings include translated selections of writings by Chinese intellectuals, which allows us to evaluate the various interpretations put forward in secondary sources. On a broader level, we also address the underlying questions: What is the relation between ideas and social and political engagement? And how does intellectual history relate to other approaches to history?

Starting in the late nineteenth century, this course moves chronologically and thematically across the twentieth century. We begin our journey in the late 1800s, where we look into circulations of Western ideas about “progress” and how they came to be merged with novel interpretations of Confucianism and Buddhism. Here, we discuss the reformers Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao. Whereas the former held some unusual views, the latter also played a role in the development of modern journalism. From there, we first look at the role of translation in the shaping of new ideas and worldviews. We then move to the May Fourth Movement, where we pay specific attention to the position of women in society. We will also discuss those who questioned the tenets of a liberal modernity based on scientism, such as Liang Shuming. After this, we pause at the more inward-looking nationalism of the 1930s and debates on pan-Asianism. For the post-1949 period, our main focus is on Maoism and its global circulations. In a final section, we relate the intellectual developments of modern China to contemporary outgrowths. Here, we discuss the issue of minority writers through the figure of Tsering Woeser, the Tiananmen demonstrations, and, finally, the rise of the so-called “grassroots intellectuals” in the 1990s and 2000s.


HH4013 The 'Big Man' and Political Legitimation in Southeast Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? or HHH1008 The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia| 3 AUs 

The “Big Man” and Political Legitimation in Southeast Asia gives you a comprehensive understanding of political authority and moral legitimacy of power in Southeast Asia from the prehistoric times until the present day. In this course, we study the concepts and theories of political leadership and institution, the key scholars who proposed these models, the main fields of study, multiple approaches, and the case studies in Southeast Asia. This advanced level course is structured as a reading course in which you will engage closely with the weekly texts at a detailed level. Having taken the course, you can identify the different models of political leadership, the key scholars who discuss these models of political authority, the sources they used, how they used their sources, what arguments they made, and evaluate and critique their theses. In addition to issues regarding moral and political legitimacy, you will examine the impact of historical processes such as colonialism, imperialisim, and modernization on the conceptualization and manifestation of political authority in Southeast Asian societies. By participating in the critical reading and examination of the theoretical models, the scholars’ arguments and their works, you will learn the craft of designing research questions, and constructing hypotheses which they can attempt to test, and producing strong arguments for their research papers.​


HH4017 Defining the Nation: India on the Eve of Independence
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs 

"Defining a Nation " is an innovative course that will introduce you to the decolonisation of South Asia through a roll-playing and strategy game. In HH4017, you will explore the history of late colonial India, the emergence of the Indian and Pakistani nationalist movements, the intellectual history of nationalism and the reasons behind Partition in 1947. HH4017 takes the form of a game modeled on the Simla conference in 1945. You will be assigned the role of one of the historical figures involved in the conference, such as Mahatma Gandhi or Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In this course, you will conduct original primary source research on your character, develop your skills in presenting a persuasive argument in written and oral form and work with, and learn from, other students in the course of the game. You will gain an appreciation of multiple perspectives on the history of twentieth century South Asia and the contentious history of nationalism in the region. 


HH4023 The United States and Southeast Asia in the Twentieth Century
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs 

This course explores major events and developments in the United States' involvement in Southeast Asia since the beginning of the twentieth century. You will learn to critique US intervention in Southeast Asia, particularly how this involvement was shaped by seminal events such as the rise of communism in Europe and China, the ascension of the Japanese Empire, the outbreak of the Pacific War, the neo-colonial/ recolonization efforts of the European powers, the surge in Southeast Asian nationalism that intertwined with the Cold War, and major developments in the post-Vietnam War era.  


HH4029 History of Modern China and Colonial Hong Kong, c. 1945-1997 
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs 

This module explores the diplomatic, political, social and economic history of British Hong Kong during the period from 1945 to 1997. It examines how development in China and decolonization of the British Empire influenced Sino-British relations and the British colony.

Hong Kong was important geo-politically. Due to geographical proximity, developments in China and Hong Kong always affected each other. The 1967 riots were a classic example. Historically, the legitimacy of British rule was never recognized by the Chinese governments. Tensions always existed between Britain and China over Hong Kong’s future constitutional settlement. Politically, the Chinese Communists and the western governments both treated Hong Kong as a strategic base during the Cold War, advocating competing ideologies. Economically, it served as an economic gateway for the Communist regime to trade with foreign powers and earn foreign exchange. Hong Kong was also unique. Scholars promoted the concept that Hong Kong was a peculiar colony. The colonial government exercised a policy of indirect rule, combining economic laissez-faire with some interventions in for example the provision of social housing. The society underwent rapid urbanization but remained relatively stable. Western and Chinese culture blended. Hong Kong Chinese increasingly differentiated themselves from Mainland Chinese. This module examines the connections between colonial Hong Kong, Britain and China via six inter-locking themes: imperial diplomacy, diplomatic end game, social order and colonial state-building, identity, political culture and economic dynamism. Through exploring the modern history of Hong Kong during the colonial era, useful insights in China’s development, international relations and British colonialism can be acquired.  


HH4090 Special Topics in History - Global Asia
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs 

In the special topics in history of global Asia, you will examine the social history in the 20th century. You will compare the nation building experiences of some different Asian countries at the verge of development and modernization in the wake of their independence from colonization. Through this course, you will compare the political, economic, and social changes during the same periods.  You will recognize the critical events in the 20th century history that reflects greater international trends and ideological battles that took place in the post-colonial world.

HH2002 Gender in History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course analyses diverse ideas about what makes men ‘masculine’ and women ‘feminine’ in the modern world, as well as diverse experiences of modern men and women. We will analyse how gender has intersected with various dimensions of modernity, including: class; domesticity and family; imperialism; race; citizenship; nationalism; sexuality; the body; and the emergence of feminist and queer movements. Students will gain an understanding of how contemporary ideas about masculinity and femininity are historically specific and analyse the processes by which contemporary gender and sexual regimes in various parts of the world emerged. ​


HH2007 Health and Illnesses in History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course aims to offer a historical insight into the problems of health and illness from a global perspective. While health and illness are key issues across the boundaries of nations and times, they have been highly contested subjects in terms of definition, meaning, and implication. What do we mean when we say that we are healthy? What role have doctors and medical researchers played within shifting social and political structures? How did modern medicine come to emerge and what impact did it make upon the changing cultural landscape of modern society? The course will give you an opportunity to think about the shifting practices and ideas of health and illness, along with the role of the professionals who stays at the center of health-related activities.​ ​


HH2008 Feasting and Fasting: Food and Drink in History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This module provides a broad overview of the history of food from pre-historical times to the present. You will learn how food is related to other aspects of human history and culture, including religion, ritual, trade, economics, customs, technology, and politics. This module will be of relevance to students with interests in cultural and social history, or students who intend to pursue more in depth studies on the history of consumption. 


HH2015 Biopolitics and East Asian History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course offers a comparative study of issues related to the history of biology and the uses of biological knowledge in East Asia. Biomedical technologies, biosecurity, biodiversity, and biobanking number among various issues that increasingly pertain to biopolitics. Used to describe 17th century shifts in sovereign power, Foucault raised the term biopolitics, along with anatomo-politics, to describe how different levels of life became increasingly regulated, from species-centric populations to individual bodies, respectively. Issues that involve the biological occur in many different locations with different styles of governance, but analyses of biopolitics have tended to relate more to European history. Within the grain of Asian history, the study of issues that involve the biological requires a questioning of existing theoretical frameworks used to examine the politicization of life. This class explores imperial, colonial, and national experiences in East Asia in order to examine how various societies, polities, and people have authored, approached, and interpreted knowledge about different levels of regenerative life. HH1001 highly recommended in preparation of this course. ​


HH2017 History of Information Technology
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

The History of Information Technology surveys the history of computers and other information technologies from the nineteenth century to the present. Content will include nineteenth century "information technologies" such as Baggage's engines and the telegraph, the invention of the electronic computer, the emergence of networking, the rise of the personal computer, the growth of the World Wide Web, as well as recent trends in computing and information technology such as social networking and cloud computing. ​


HH2020 Science and War
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This module examines the relationship between science, technology, and warfare during the modern period. You will learn how science and technology has affected the course of wars, strategy, and tactics, as well as how warfare has affected the development of science and technology. This module will be of relevance to you if you have interests in military history or the history of science and technology. ​


HH2023 Reading in History of Health and Medicine
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course aims at offering you an opportunity to investigate primary sources in Western medical history. Historians stress the significance of skill reading and analyzing primary sources, as it is the key asset in their profession. In the history of health and medicine, this is especially important, as medical knowledge in the past is strikingly different from that of today. How can we make sense of this difference in historical contexts? You will learn how to approach primary sources, must be read more analytically within their own contexts. This reading will deepen your understanding of cultural and political dimensions of health and illness in their multiple manifestations. 


HH2026 Health, Food, and Sports in Modern Korean History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

In this course, you will be able to investigate and comprehend the critical importance of three topics that have often been marginalized in the conventional Korean history courses, namely, healthcare, food, and sports cultures. By comparing and contrasting different historians’ distinct perspectives on them, you should be able to explain the significance of the body and the contributing factors to it in Korean history. 


HH2027 Blood, Germs, and Sick Bodies: Biomedicine in History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Biomedicine has considerably changed the modern human life in the globalizing world. This course offers a topic survey in the history of global biomedicine and its cultural impacts. You will learn the histories of the rise of the biomedical industries which include pharmaceutical companies, their patrons, and the network of hospitals, physicians, and biomedical scientists, alongside another rising power, the patient activist groups. 


HH3002 Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern East Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course introduces students to major issues and themes in the history of science, technology, environment, and medicine in East Asia. Various ideas about and interactions with the natural world have ancient roots that have undergone myriad changes in the regions that include China, Japan, and Korea today. How did those changes occur within and among different societies? How did transformations of scientific and technological knowledge and practices over the centuries inform everyday life in East Asia? These questions, including those connected to societal and environmental issues on a more global scale, will be examined. In this interdisciplinary course, students will undertake a problem-solving approach to examine how particular histories of science and technology in East Asia societies and cultures contribute to a holistic understanding of highly interconnected issues connected to food and agriculture, health and medicine, architecture, laboratory science communication, energy, transportation, natural resources, empire, nuclear weapons and power. ​


HH3004 Comparative Business History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course introduces you to the field of business history from a comparative and global perspective.  Through this course, you will become familiar with and understand the concepts, trends and debates in the field of business history, You will also be able to apply these concepts, as you analyze and evaluate business history case studies in different time periods and different parts of the world.   This course will also allow you to develop and produce new original work in the field of business history. 


HH3010 Biotechnology and Society
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This module examines the social, cultural, economic, legal, and political impacts of biotechnologies from the 1970s to the present. You will learn about the history of biotechnologies and analyze their effects using tools from the social sciences. This module draws on the history and sociology of science and will be of interest to students seeking in depth understanding of the relationships between science and society.​ 


HH3013 Comparative History of Race Science
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course contributes to the History programme's offerings in Interdisciplinary History. It will expand your knowledge of social history and the history of science. It provides practice in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression. This course explores three important elements of the history of race science: its origins in Western encounters with nature and colonial peoples; the development of the scientific measurement, classification and quantification of race in the metropolitan and colonial context; and the relations between race science, gender, medical and technological interventions, and nationhood. ​


HH3016 History of Madness
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course surveys themes and theories related to madness and "psy " disciplines in various cultural contexts including continental Europe, Britain, colonies and different nation states. It introduces how madness was explained, treated and managed across different social and historical contexts. Through this course, students will learn the socio-historical, cultural and economic factors that determine our understanding of "madness " in the history and contemporary society. 


HH3017 World Environmental History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

In this class, you will encounter the field of world environmental history through a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks.  We will begin by examining “Big History,” which contextualizes the human past within broader biological, geological, and even astronomical processes. We will then contemplate how the exchange of pathogens has connected human populations and shaped world history through plagues and epidemics.  Next, we will examine the role of the environment in European colonization of America and Australasia, a theme environmental historians have dubbed “Ecological Imperialism.”  We will subsequently draw on world systems analysis and dependency theory to explore how the spread of capitalism has transformed societies and environments the world over.  We will conclude with a discussion of the theories of space and place that underlie our understandings of the globe and its human history.​ 


HH3018 The Environmental History of Oceans
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Aimed at history students but also suitable for anyone with an interest in the oceans’ past, this elective course will provide you with a general overview of the key themes and debates within the field of marine environmental history. Upon completion of this course, you will have a better understanding of how humans have shaped ocean environments historically, and how oceans have shaped the course of human history. You will additionally be stronger writers and thinkers. 


HH3019 History of the Body
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

The body has become a focal point of a variety of cultural and political discourses and practices in modern society. Based on major literature in the history of the body, this course aims at leading students to deepen their perspective on the body and its various social and philosophical underpinnings. Why do we need to take care of our body? How and why were Asia and Europe so different in understanding and describing the body? In what place has the body been placed in the changing cultural landscape of the globalizing world? What has been the true nature of corporal punishment and torture on the body? Why do many people today check the number of dietary calories to maintain a slender body? What is the impact of developing technologies upon our body and its social implication? By asking and answering these questions, students will be able to broaden their historical understanding of the body, which shall also contribute to their scholarship in history and other disciplines. 


HH3028 Global History of Capitalism
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This module examines the long history of capitalism from a global perspective. Beginning with the rise of capitalism in the West, the module tracks the development of capitalism, its spread throughout the world, and the challenges it has faced. The module also introduces the major themes and debates in the new field of the history of capitalism. 


HH3030 The Apocalypse in Western History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course aims to help you understand how and why the prospect of total physical and/or spiritual destruction and rebirth has remained a recurrent preoccupation in Western culture. It will expand your knowledge of Western cultural and religious history as well as provide practice in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression. This course offers you opportunities to analyse historical sources and historiography, which will strengthen your abilities in the field of History. It will broaden your knowledge of American history and cultural history, and cultivate interdisciplinarity by bringing together the historical study of society with the analysis of literary texts, artworks, films, and other cultural artifacts. 


HH3032 Science and Religion in History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Many people have believed that science and religion are contraries. Science is often considered the paradigm of humans' rational thoughts that fight against all kind of ignorance, bigotry, and superstition, which may include religious thoughts and practices. However, many historians of science after the late twentieth century have found that the relationship between science and religion is far more complex. In some cases, religions do hamper and suppress some scientists' claims and acitivities, but religions can also be a positive factor in the construction of scientific ideas and worldviews, inculding those for the rise of modern science. This course aims at your deeper understanding of this complexity in a historical depth. 


HH3033 Buddhism: A Social and Intellectual History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

Is Buddhism a philosophy? Is it a religion? Is it a set of rituals? This course will give you the tools to evaluate these and other questions you have about Buddhism. This course will cover Buddhist social and intellectual history, beginning with the emergence of the cult of the Buddha and the earliest monasteries in South Asia, then discuss medieval transitions in East and South East Asia, and end with a set of discussions on how to think about modern, post-modern and global Buddhisms.The course will engage the Buddhist experience from a wide range of thematic and cultural perspectives. Themes will include Buddhism and the family, the experience of meditation, death ritual, Buddhism and war, the body as an object of desire and repulsion, Buddhist medicine, and the structure of monastic life. Cultural contexts will include India, China, Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand, among others. ​


HH3034 Ascestism: The Discipline of Desire
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

Asceticism is an intense negotiation of the self with its desires, usually taking the form of the attempt to repress or curtail sexual desire. Asceticism is often misunderstood as a radical response to the problem of obsessive desire. Excessive attachments to sex, food, and money are among the most common of these concerns—today we refer to these as addictions—both in the contemporary world and to those living in a pre-modern context. In this course, we will discuss the experiences of ascetic figures throughout history not as relics of history but as intelligible responses to the problem of obsessive desire common to all ages. We will examine case studies of ascetic practices from ancient and modern India, Southeast Asia, medieval China and Japan, and the ancient and medieval Christian worlds. The first part of the course will be devoted to understanding some of the most notable social science approaches to ascetic behavior in the field of religion while the second part of the course will be devoted to close readings of case studies in light of these theoretical approaches. Cross-cultural comparison and contrast will be stressed. In the final part of the course, we will turn to modern conceptions of asceticism, attempting to answer the question—does the ascetic response to obsessive desire make sense in the world we live in today? ​


HH3040 History of Chinese Medicine
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

You’ll be interested in this class if you have ever used Chinese medicine or have family members who do, if the connection between heritage and modernity is important to you, and if you study the history of science in Asia. In this course you will examine the origins and changes of Chinese medicine over time. Proceeding through a chronological review, each lesson in this multiperspectival course will demonstrate how different topics, research methods and periods produce different kinds of history-writing. Through these analyses, you will learn how to evaluate medical history, and how medicine can be used as a focus to write a variety of historical studies, bringing together themes of health, disease and the body with the history and practices of self, state and cosmos. These will lead up to the final weeks when you will reflect on the role of tradition and heritage in the context of biomodernity, and how embodied practices such as medicine shape not only the worlds we live in, but our very selves. ​


HH3041 History of Feminism
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

In 'History of Feminism' you will examine the global history of feminist movements since the nineteenth century. Feminist movements have globally played a significant role in redefinitions of citizenship and shifts in gender norms. You will investigate the place of feminist movements in broader social, political and cultural transformations, as well as analyzing various strands of feminist thought, within and outside academia. You will be introduced to various gender history and transnational/global history methodologies and will compare, contrast, and appraise these methodologies. This course will equip you with skills in interpreting primary sources, especially analysing gendered language and images in historical documents. 'History of Feminism' will also develop your capacity to apply your historical research and writing skills outside of an academic context, for a non-specialist audience. ​


​HH3042 Climate and Society in Historical Perspective
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This seminar covers major traditions of thought regarding climate, climate change and its impact on society, drawing on history, science and anthropology. In this course, we ask:  

▪ How does knowledge about the earth’s climate evolve? How does such knowledge circulate, change and become entangled with political ecology?

▪ In what ways do societies, past and present, interpret weather events and climactic perturbations?

▪ How do differences in climate shape or inform societal organization?

▪ How do different societies cope with extreme climatic events? How do they reflect, reveal, and reproduce socio-economic structures such as inequality?

The course is divided into three parts. The first, “Reconstructing the Climate” concerns the epistemologies that we use to understand the climate, their strengths and limitations as well as how climate knowledge influences state-society organization. In the second part, “Climate Perturbations in Human History,” we analyse various interpretations of how climate has historically influenced past currents of societal change, including theories of environmental determinism and collapse. The final part of this course, “Contemporary Climate Change” invites us to examine and critique present approaches to climate policies, using case studies from past climate-induced events and paying particular attention to the notions of risk and resilience. ​


HH3044 Heritage Medicine in Singapore: Malay and Chinese Traditions
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This seminar covers two major traditions of ethno-medicine important to Singapore: Chinese and Malay. We will examine their intellectual history, evolving practices, their practitioners and patients and its impact on modern society, drawing on history, anthropology, and health research. While the two traditions have generally been studied in silos, this course places them in juxtaposition, enabling us to interrogate connections, interactions, and contestations across traditions. 

The course moves forward through thematic seminars, taught in turn by the instructors. Designed to encourage comparisons, we will interrogate how each tradition is defined, the characteristics and influences shaping practice of medicine, the connections between traditional medicine and the natural world, the emergence of hybrid practices such as Peranakan, and how traditional medicine supports, complements, and contests biomedicine in the modern state. 

This course is targeted for those who are keen to explore medicine beyond the scientific tradition and explore approaches that deprivilege biomedicine and institutions such as hospitals to delve into a past where healthcare was less institutionalized and regulated. It will be of value to humanities students who may be contemplating career paths in the health service (particularly in the burgeoning fields of alternative medicine) and to medical students who would like to integrate biomedical and traditional approaches to healing. 

HH3130 The History of Time
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course contributes to the History programme’s offerings in Interdisciplinary History. It will expand students’ knowledge of Western social, cultural and technological history as well as provide practice in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression. This course explores three important elements of the history of time: its intellectual conception and cultural representation; its scientific and technological quantification, rationalization, and mastery; and its role in structuring societies and their activities. It will expand your knowledge of Western social, cultural and technological history and contribute to your knowledge in the field of Interdisciplinary History. You will also gain experience in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression.​ ​


HH4005 Culture and Heritage: Perspectives from History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

This course contributes to the History programme’s offerings in Interdisciplinary History. It will expand your knowledge of the debates surrounding the preservation and contestation of heritage and culture. It provides practice in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression. This course explores the distinction between authentic and inauthentic distinctions, and examines the impact of globalization and commercialization on heritage sites and practices around the world.​ ​


HH4006 The Green Earth: Issues in Environmental History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

To challenge students to think about how human societies have altered their environments, and how, in turn, these modified environments have shaped the course of human history. Students will recognize that environmental changes in the distant past have had longterm repercussions for both humans and the natural world. They will also gain an appreciation for the wide variety of strategies that human groups have devised to exploit their environments, and will contemplate why some populations succeeded in developing more sustainable practices than others.​ ​


HH4020 Science, Technology and Science Fiction
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

This module examines the relationship between science, technology, and science fiction over the past fifty years. You will learn how science fiction affects the development of science and technology, and, conversely, how developments in science and technology influence the genre of science fiction. This module will be of relevance to you if you have interests in cultural history, or if you intend to pursue in depth research on the relationship between science, technology and society. 


HH4022 Colonial combination of Western and folk-based medical practices in Singapore
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs


The aim of the course is to provide students with a general overview of the basic themes and issues in biological anthropology and medical history. In this course, you will also examine how colonial Singapore combined both western and folk medical practices in Singapore. This course will analyze the co-existence of Western tropical medicine and folk immigrant medical practices, the role of missionary nurses and doctors and their relationship to colonial medicine and policy and lastly, the course will study the use of epidemiology in Singapore during the 1918 influenza pandemic. 


HH4024 Lineage, Ritual, and the State in Asia
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

The ghost of the ancestor hovers like a specter over the social order of every political community. While power is often measured by economic prosperity or bureaucratic efficiency, in this course, we will examine a number of historical cases in China, India, and Southeast Asia, in which rulers appeal to the authority of ancestors to justify their claims to political power. This course has two major components. The first is a set of several case studies, which include medieval Indian courts, the earliest state-structures in China, tribal societies in modern central India, and the Cambodian Buddhist monastery. The second is the set of theoretical lenses through which we will examine these cases. These lenses will be drawn from ritual studies, theories of sexuality and lineage, anthropological theories of kingship, studies of shamanism and spirit possession, child psychology, and group psychology. ​


HH4025 History of Disease: Human Evolution, Disease and Health
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

The aim of the course is to provide students with a general overview of the basic themes and issues in the history of diseases and medical history.  

This will be done with an emphasis on global epidemic diseases—such as leprosy in the 12th century, plague in the 15th century, and cholera in the 19th century—and how these have impacted human civilisations. The course will begin with an in-depth examination of why knowing disease history is important, which stretches from the archaeological evidence of our human fossil ancestors to the end of the early 20th century and the rise of current diseases in these last few decades. 

This course also focuses on the history of diseases and their evolution along with human history, beginning when certain zoonosis pathogens changed to affect human evolution. Apart from the history of diseases, the course explores how humans managed their illnesses in the past, modern medicine today, and how we seek to improve in the future. Knowing human medical history will help us know how to prepare for the future, because how we fight diseases could have unintended consequences that encourage pathogens to evolve and mutate again. ​


HH4028 Tantric South Asia: Politics, Asethetics, Religion
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs


The aim of the course is to provide students with a general overview of the basic themes and issues in the history of diseases and medical history.  

This will be done with an emphasis on global epidemic diseases—such as leprosy in the 12th century, plague in the 15th century, and cholera in the 19th century—and how these have impacted human civilisations. The course will begin with an in-depth examination of why knowing disease history is important, which stretches from the archaeological evidence of our human fossil ancestors to the end of the early 20th century and the rise of current diseases in these last few decades. 

This course also focuses on the history of diseases and their evolution along with human history, beginning when certain zoonosis pathogens changed to affect human evolution. Apart from the history of diseases, the course explores how humans managed their illnesses in the past, modern medicine today, and how we seek to improve in the future. Knowing human medical history will help us know how to prepare for the future, because how we fight diseases could have unintended consequences that encourage pathogens to evolve and mutate again. ​


HH4091 Special Topics in History - Interdisciplinary History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

The seminar is designed to help you analyze and discuss major topics in interdisciplinary history. You will investigate topics that cross the boundaries of disciplines. You will read across a number of fields to seek an understanding of the historical dynamics and contours of interdisciplinary topics.​ 


HI3001 1984: Past, Present, Prophecy
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

From the first Apple Macintosh advert (which featured the tag line ‘why 1984 won’t be like 1984’) to Wikileaks (via Neil Postman’s Amusing ourselves to death), in popular cultural cameos from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs to Haruki Murakami 1Q84, 1984 seems to be everywhere. In this course you’ll explore the transformations of George Orwell’s touchstone novel and this broader, mobile idea. To test out these ideas and to understand the shifting cultural contexts of ‘1984’ as a metaphorical prism, we will focus on both the real events of 1984 (when Orwell’s work was purportedly to have come true) as well as anticipations of an Orwellian future from the 1970s to the present day. By weaving together art history, literature, media, politics, technology and social activism, we will bring increasingly staid debates about postmodernism, mediatisation and the Cold War (another term coined by Orwell) back to critical life. This interdisciplinary course asks you to think both as a literary critic and cultural historian in order to reevalute this overdetermined juncture of modern life. This course offers you significant exposure to, and a practical apprenticeship in, the kind of interdisciplinary work that is the hallmark of our own research. You will perform rigorous research of primary materials and analyze them with a close attention to language, narrative, and context. In working with your peers from another discipline, you also will learn from and inspire one another, to become better thinkers and writers for an audience beyond your immediate discipline. ​ 

HH1006 The West in Global History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

We will conduct a multifaceted study of Western civilization. We begin with Peter N. Stearns’s essay Western Civilization in World History (2003), in which he recounts the history of Western civilization (“Western civ”) courses in the U.S. university curriculum (which will yield some insight into American culture) and the transition from Western civ to world history courses towards the end of the twentieth century. Stearns’s essay provides the background and framework for the rest of the course.  

We then study four major historiographies of Western society by Edward Gibbon, Oswald Spengler, Arnold J. Toynbee (not to be confused with his uncle Arnold Toynbee, an economic historian), and William H. McNeill. We end this part of the course with Marshall Sahlins’s essay on the Western conception of human nature. 

In the last part of the course, we will study the various factors which historians have proposed to explain the rise of Europe from about 1500 onwards. 

We will use “Western civilization” to refer to the civilization and “Western civ” to refer to the practice of offering (sometimes compulsory) “Western civ” courses in U.S. undergraduate curriculum. ​


HH1010 US History to 1865 (previous course title: The Unrealized Dream: An Introduction to US History)
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Aimed at history students but also suitable for anyone with an interest in American history, this elective course will provide you with a general overview of American history from the pre-colonial period through the Civil War. This class will also introduce you to some of the key theoretical approaches and debates in the writing of US history. Upon completion of this course, you will have a better understanding of the historical development of America’s political, social, cultural, and economic systems. You will additionally be stronger writers and thinkers.​


HH1011 US History since 1865
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

Aimed at history students but also suitable for anyone with an interest in American history, this elective course will provide you with a general overview of American history from the Reconstruction Era through the War on Terror. This class will also introduce you to some of the key theoretical approaches and debates in the writing of US history. Upon completion of this course, you will have a better understanding of the historical development of America’s political, social, cultural, and economic systems. You will additionally be stronger writers and thinkers.


HH2004 The Islamicate World
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

In this course, you will investigate the historical development of Muslim societies from the classical period to the present. You will analyse diverse theories and practices of Muslim communities that span a global scale while being embedded in their own local political, economic and social contexts. This course will equip you to conceptualize the basic precepts and terminology defining the idea of a Muslim World while inviting you to critique this notion through empirical historical evidence. You will also develop your skills in analysing and interpreting primary and secondary sources, particularly through close readings of how Islamic concepts are employed in literary works, visual art and political rhetoric. 

The contents of this course cover the period from the advent of Islam in the 7th century to the present. We will examine key ideas that scholars have used to conceptualize institutions and interactions in the Muslim World, such as: Islamicate, caliphate, shari'a, syncretism, cosmopolitanism and Islamism. It will emphasize the lived experience of Muslims by drawing on case studies from many different parts of the Islamicate World and highlight the complexities of the relationship between religious theology and practice. Such empirical examples will help you understand and analyse the contemporary positioning of Muslims in the modern nation-state and as a global community. This course will be useful in helping you understand the historical roots of contemporary debates about Islam and gain a nuanced view of the ways in which the religion interacted with secular politics. ​


HH2006 Modern European History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course introduces students to key themes in the social, political, and cultural history of Europe from the French Revolution to the twenty first century. We will ask how and why Europe came to dominate the world in the nineteenth century and why it lost that dominance in the twentieth. Why did Europe give birth both to models of democracy and social equality but also to dictatorship and terror? Why has Europe been such a laboratory for nationalism and does the emergence of the European Union signal the end, resurgence or reconfiguration of this epoch?


HH2021 Race, Gender, Class and Colonial Power
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

In HH2021, you will examine various dimensions of colonial power by exploring the history of the British Empire.  Colonial rule had important impacts upon colonised societies; thus, understanding colonialism is important to understanding our contemporary post-colonial moment.  This course will equip you with the skills you need to critically examine colonialism through analytical frameworks of race, class and gender.  You will be introduced to recent shifts in the historiography of colonialism and will appraise a variety of approaches to the subject.  Race, Gender, Class and Colonial Power will also deepen your skills in interpreting and analysing visual and written primary source materials. 


HH3006 US Foreign Relations History (previous course title: The United States and the Modern World)
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course explores American foreign relations from when the United States was a small republic on the eastern seaboard of North America up to the present. The central theme of the course is how American international power arose, mutually constitutive with American territorial and commercial expansion and encounters with other nations, cultures and empires within and beyond the American continent.


HH3009 Comparative History of Global Migrations
Pre-requisite(s): HH1002 Asia-Pacific in Global History: Pre-1800 and HH1003 Asia-Pacific in Global History: From 1800 | 3 AUs

This course introduces you to the history of migrations from a comparative and global perspective.  Through this course, you will become familiar with and understand the concepts, trends and debates in the field of migration history, You will also be able to apply these concepts, as you analyze and evaluate the different migration case studies in different time periods and different parts of the world.   This course will also allow you to develop and produce new original work in the history of global migrations. ​ 


HH3012 The United States and the Vietnam Wars (previous course title: The United States and the IndoChina Wars) 
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course will examine, analyze and critique the causes, conduct, and consequences of the American involvement in Vietnam from the era of colonial Southeast Asia, through World War II, the Cold War and the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You will learn about the legacies of the Vietnam Wars on US foreign relations, international politics and warfare, and study major works and primary sources that highlight not just American but also the Vietnamese actors and other regional players. Through the prism of US-Vietnam relations, you will also assess how great power politics intersected with post-1945 decolonization and nation-building in Southeast Asia, and review its impact on current regional and international affairs.


HH3024 Decolonisation and Democracy: Britain since 1945
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

This course examines the culture, society and politics of Britain after 1945. It is a course that explores the political, economic and intellectual consequences of imperial decline. It analyses the ways in which national life both joyfully and painfully adapted to a new world order, and the ways in which new forms of social expression in Britain variously rubbed against, reached an accommodation with, and sometimes enhanced, much older and more far-reaching ambitions to wield international influence.  ​


HH3025 The Cultural, Social and Economic History of Football
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 3 AUs

Football is a global phenomenon and one of the most dynamic engines of the process commonly known, celebrated and feared as globalisation. Just as the multi-layered processes of industrialisation shaped the game, the subsequent industrialisation of football has been intertwined with profound social and cultural change. This course examines how, over the course of the twentieth century, football became one of the most significant cultural practices of the current global era. 


HH3035 Empire and Decolonization
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course will examine the history of the dismantling of the British Empire as well as the legacies it leaves, which continue to shape the modern world. At its height in the 1920s, the British Empire covered almost a quarter of the earth’s area, and yet soon after, by the 1940s and 50s, newly independent nation states were emerging from the end of Britain’s empire. Just in Africa, more than fifty new states were created in the 1950s. In this course, we will map the economic, social, political, and cultural histories of this foundational shift in the twentieth century called decolonization.​


HH3037 Politics of Popular Culture
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

What do Olympic protests, Nazi fashion, Cultural Revolution operas, and The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye have in common? All are examples used in this upper-division World History course to probe the global intersections of popular culture and politics since the 19th century. By examining theatre, television, film, artworks, literature, broadcast media, sports, fashion, and other popular cultural expressions through the lens of critical theory, you will gain a better appreciation of how states, revolutionary movements, citizens, consumers, and emerging media have originated, shaped, and resolved contentious debates over popular culture. Topics include such issues as cultural appropriation, boycotts, propaganda and censorship. In the process, you will gain a deeper understanding of global social, cultural and political history and critical approaches to culture, while developing skill in the use of historical sources and in written and oral expression. This course will thus prove useful to anyone involved not only in public history but communication and the arts.


HH3039 Maritime Asia in the Longue Dureé
Pre-requisite(s): HH1002 Asia-Pacific in Global History: Pre-1800 and HH1003 Asia-Pacific in Global History: From 1800 | 3 AUs

This course surveys the history of the seas in the making of Asian history. It examines the making of Maritime Asia in the longue duree. It posits an alternative framing of Asian history from the perspective of the sea. Instead of focusing on individual oceans and seas, it shall treat the Indian Ocean, littoral and archipelagic Southeast Asia, the East Asian seas and the Pacific within a single analytical frame, and the chart the impact of the seas and oceans, as well as the people, commodities, and ideas moving and circulating through these maritime spaces, on Asian history. It shall examine the making of premodern Maritime Asia, and its transformations during the periods of European commercial and imperial expansion between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It shall also examine the continued impact of the seas and oceans on modern Asian history today. ​


HH4007 An International History of the Cold War
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

The Cold War dominated the second half of the 20th century, but until recently we had only an imperfect sense of what it was all about. In the past, historians used to write about it from within the event they were seeking to describe, so that there was no way to know its outcome. And because only a few Western countries had begun to open their archives, these accounts could only reflect one side of the story. As a result, Cold War history was once asymmetrical and incomplete. The end of the Cold War and the subsequent partial opening of Soviet, Eastern European, and Chinese archives have revolutionized the field. Everything we thought we knew is open for reconsideration, whether because of the new documents available to us or as a consequence of being able to reflect on how its outcome in new ways thanks to methodological developments within the discipline.

This course will provide an introduction to key topics in the new, international history of the Cold War. Through this course, I hope to break down the stereotypical understanding of the Cold War as a military competition between the Western and Eastern Blocs by bringing in the lived experiences of the peoples in the global south, the evolution of mass culture and media in different parts of the world, the roles of ideology and technology, and the emerging networks of interdependence that bound societies together in new ways. This course will also provide some of the factual grounding and conceptual apparatus necessary to understand the contemporary world.


HH4010 Anticolonial Resistance in the British Empire (previous course title: Dissent, Resistance, Rebellion) 
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

This course will examine anticolonial thought and movements in response to the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our primary focus will be on the response of colonized peoples to the expansion and consolidation of the British Empire as it spread across the globe through the means of both formal and informal rule. We will also examine the roots of anticolonial thought and action in broader struggles against imperialism, as well as instances of transnational solidarity drawing upon anticolonial movements. The case studies will cover grassroots and popular social movements from the Haitian Revolution to decolonization in Asia and Africa, particularly focusing on cases where small or disempowered groups (successfully or unsuccessfully) challenged the majority or existing power structures. What do these movements have in common? What inspires them? What strategies are used? What makes them succeed or fail? This course will also examine the role that such movements have had in shaping the course of history and effecting social, economic, and political change.​


HH4011 Slavery and Forced Labour in the Indian Ocean World (previous course title: Concubines, Slave Soldiers and  Domestic Drudgery: Slavery in the Indian Ocean World)
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

HH4011 will introduce you to the history of slavery and forced labour in the Indian Ocean region (which encompasses East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) in the early modern and modern periods. By examining slavery and forced labour, you will deepen your knowledge of the social organisation and political structures of Indian Ocean societies and analyse historical transnational connections within and beyond the region. Examining the everyday lives of slaves will also build your understanding of the history of marginalised communities in Indian Ocean societies. In this course, you will evaluate and apply theoretical and historical perspectives on: concepts of slavery and freedom; identity formation; historical memory; and methodological issues associated with the history of marginalised groups. Through HH4011, you will also develop your skills in analysing and interpreting a range of primary sources, including textual and visual sources.​


HH4014 A Global History of Death
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

This course contributes to the History programme’s offerings in Interdisciplinary History. It will expand your knowledge of cultural and social history. It provides practice in the analysis of historical sources, historiography, as well as in written and oral expression. This course explores three important elements of the cultural history of death: the influence of religious belief on the imagination of death; the impact of nationalism and economic and social development on the practice of death; and the relations between death and modernization, secularization, urbanization, commercialization, and globalization.​ 


HH4016 Topics in World History
Pre-requisite(s): HH1001 What is History? | 4 AUs

This advanced level seminar introduces students to the various approaches, methodology, and themes examined by world historians through the careful reading of key works by world historians, and seeks to engage them in discussions about the assumptions underlying the various approaches used by these scholars. The course is divided into six parts, each of which encapsulates a major theme which forms part of the foundation for the world history discipline. Students will read major texts related to these six themes, and will be prepared to analyze them in class.


HH4026 Decolonisation of the British Empire in Asia and Africa
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

After the end of the Second World War, the British Empire shifted its imperialist policy due to increased economic costs to sustain its colonies and the loss of strategically important spots, such as India and Suez. The rise of the United States and the Soviet Union also led to changing balance of power. With the rise of nationalist sentiments in Asia and Africa, it became increasingly uneconomical and difficult for Britain to hold on to colonies, leading to decolonisations in the 1950s and 1960s. This module explores the political, economic, social and diplomatic factors behind the decline of the British Empire and whether the Empire was strong or weak post-1945. It also examines how patterns of decolonisation varied in British colonies in Asia and Africa. Decolonisation was executed through diverging means in different pace. For example, democratisations and decentralisations took place in Malaya and Kenya soon after the Second World War while democratic reforms were absent in Hong Kong. While British administration ceased in Singapore in 1963, Hong Kong remained a British colony until 1997. Lastly, the module investigates various means employed by the colonial governments to suppress dissidents and capture the ‘hearts and minds’ of the locals during the transitional period, ranging from psychological tests conducted in the Malaya Emergency and secret opinion polling systems in Hong Kong, to ‘sanitary surveillance’ in Singapore and repressive interrogation camps in Mau Mau Uprisings. In doing so, students will critically examine the relationships between the British Empire and its colonies, the Cold War and decolonisations, and culture and colonial statecrafts in Africa and Asia from 1945 to 1997. 

This course also focuses on the history of diseases and their evolution along with human history, beginning when certain zoonosis pathogens changed to affect human evolution. Apart from the history of diseases, the course explores how humans managed their illnesses in the past, modern medicine today, and how we seek to improve in the future.


HH4092 Special Topics in History - World History
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 4 AUs

The seminar is designed to help you understand the world as a historical space. Instead of emphasizing state-to-state relations, you will take a broader transnational approach and attend to the circulation and exchange of goods, people, and ideas across the world. You will read across a number of fields and disciplines to seek an understanding of the historical dynamics and contours of the world.​