General Education, Singapore Studies and Freshman Seminars

The Department also offers an interesting range of General Education (GEK/GEM/GEH/GES/GET) modules, Singapore Studies (SSA) modules and Freshman Seminars (FMA). General Education and Singapore Studies modules fulfil university-level requirements.

Semester 1

General Education Modules

Tania ROY and Susan ANG

Human beings are 'tale-telling animals'. We all tell stories, and we all listen to them, read them and watch them. This module looks at the ways in which people tell stories, the kinds of stories they tell, and the meanings those stories generate. It focuses, in particular, upon the telling, and gives special attention to questions concerned with that. Texts include a novel, a play, films, short stories, poems and oral tales.

Prerequisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: EN1101E, EN2101, EN2101E. Students who are majoring in EN, or intend to major in EN, should not take GEK1000
Cross-listing: EN1101E
Nala LEE

This introductory overview of linguistics aims at equipping students with a solid foundation in the object, methods and goals of the science of spoken language, the prime tool of human communication. Through a principled analysis of patterns of sound, form and meaning at the levels of word, sentence and text, students will gain insight into what it means to say that language is a rule-governed system and an organic whole. The results of this exploration will be useful to those interested in the relationship between language and mind, society and culture.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: EL1101E
Cross-listing: EL1101E
Gilbert YEOH

Can movies engage with serious concerns? Through the close study of films by great directors, this module explores how film as an artistic medium can be used to engage with significant socio-cultural and existential concerns. Students will be taught how to analyze film as an artistic medium and, further, how film directors use the aesthetic elements of film to engage with important subjects. Through films by directors like Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Wong Kar-Wai and Zhang Yimou, students get a chance to reflect on issues like the human condition, the family, the urban condition, love and society, and the nation.

Preclusion for GEK2020: GEH1053
Preclusion for GEH1053: GEK2020
Robin LOON

This module will provide students with foundational knowledge of the different aspects of, approaches and discursive contexts relating to the study and praxis of theatre and performance. The module will also introduce students to the various forms of classical and contemporary performance practices and their attendant modes of analyses: combining play analysis, theatre history and theory. Using complementary content-centred lectures and practice laboratory, the module creates an environment where students simultaneously engage with module content while investigating its relations to the creation of theatre and performance.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: TS1101E
Cross-listing: TS1101E
Peter TAN

This module focuses on names as a means of marking out the socio-cultural identity of the named and of the namer. Attention will be paid to anthroponyms (personal names), toponyms (place names) and commercial names. This module will be interdisciplinary in nature and will combine a range of approaches to names. Linguistic and philosophical approaches will provide the theoretical anchor to the topic of names. Subsequent seminars will contextualise names in their historical, geographical, political and literary contexts. There will be scope for students to develop the module in the direction of their interests in the mini project.

Preclusion for GEM1031: GEH1054
Preclusion for GEH1054: GEM1031
Alvin LIM

This module introduces a broad spectrum of performance practices that may be identified as local cultural expressions found in Singapore. Such practices occur in varied spaces and mediums, and include street opera, getai [song-stage], animal performances, theatre, film, religious festivals, national day parades, YouTube video performances and mobile gaming. Students will explore the rich performative histories of these practices and study concepts of performativity, liveness, and mediation. They will learn the ways in which technology and media play a crucial part in cultural expression and identity formation. The module is open to all students and Continuous Assessment is 100%.
Edna LIM

Hollywood cinema is arguably the most popular and dominant cinema in the world but it is also a group style that represents a particular mode of expression and approach to the cinematic medium. This module explores the ways that Hollywood has used film form to create a naturalised style and viewing experience. We will study its conventions as well as the variations and deviations that push the envelope or constitute alternative constructions of the realistic. This module is 100% CA and some of the films studied may have mature content.

Singapore Studies Modules

Ismail TALIB

This module will focus on Singapore literature in English. It will deal with selected texts in the three main genres: poetry, fiction and drama. There will also be opportunities to discuss the works with the writers. One of its main aims is to show how literature will help us gain a more comprehensive insight into our understanding of Singapore.

Preclusion for SSA1207: SSA1207FC, GES1025
Preclusion for GES1025: SSA1207, SSA1207FC

Semester 2

General Education Modules

Gilbert YEOH

Human beings are 'tale-telling animals'. We all tell stories, and we all listen to them, read them and watch them. This module looks at the ways in which people tell stories, the kinds of stories they tell, and the meanings those stories generate. It focuses, in particular, upon the telling, and gives special attention to questions concerned with that. Texts include a novel, a play, films, short stories, poems and oral tales.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: EN1101E, EN2101, EN2101E. Students who are majoring in EN, or intend to major in EN, should not take GEK1000
Cross-listing: EN1101E
Leslie LEE

This introductory overview of linguistics aims at equipping students with a solid foundation in the object, methods and goals of the science of spoken language, the prime tool of human communication. Through a principled analysis of patterns of sound, form and meaning at the levels of word, sentence and text, students will gain insight into what it means to say that language is a rule-governed system and an organic whole. The results of this exploration will be useful to those interested in the relationship between language and mind, society and culture.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: EL1101E
Cross-listing: EL1101E
John W. PHILLIPS

The module examines the import of “culture” for understanding human activity and the history of the emergence of Cultural Studies as a discipline within the university. Specifically it explores the theoretical and methodological tools that have defined the field, as well as the objects to which they are turned. The course addresses the following areas: theories and models of communication; the history of broadcasting and broadcasting institutions; current and future developments in media technology; and cyberspace. Starting with an introduction to key theoretical concepts, the course examines the production and consumption of a range of popular cultural forms including film, television, popular fiction, and music.
Ismail TALIB

In this module, students will learn the basic concepts of narrative. It will expose them to narrative as a basic idea that runs through their lives, and which has its most sophisticated manifestations in literature and cinema. While the analysis of literary and cinematic texts will play an important part in the module, students should also develop an awareness of how narrative is used in everyday discourse, and how it shapes their response to reality.

Preclusion for GEK1049: GEH1051
Preclusion for GEH1051: GEK1049
Graham WOLFE

While many of us spend much of our lives glued to small computer screens, theatrical productions continue to bring people together for shared experiences. What are the attractions of theatre, what makes it distinct, and how can it enrich our understanding of human society? This module, which requires no prior knowledge of theatre, starts with the spectator’s experience and works outwards. We learn how to analyse theatre’s styles and effects. We explore how human societies use theatre to confront questions and express beliefs, hopes, and anxieties. We examine how cultures influence each other through theatre, and how theatre provokes change.

Preclusion for GEK1055: GEH1058
Preclusion for GEH1058: GEK1055
YONG Li Lan, Miguel ESCOBAR

Digital technologies let us do humanities differently, using interactive publishing, machine-driven analysis, media-rich platforms, online archives and crowd-sourced databases. How are these technologies changing the humanities? This module invites students from across the university to consider this question through a problem-based approach. In each session, the students will learn to use and critically evaluate digital tools and platforms. Reflecting the multiple approaches within the digital humanities, teaching combines seminar discussions of topics with hands-on training in web programming, text encoding and video processing techniques.

Preclusion for GEK2050: GET1030
Preclusion for GET1030: GEK2050
Maiya MURPHY

This module will provide students with foundational knowledge of the different aspects of, approaches and discursive contexts relating to the study and praxis of theatre and performance. The module will also introduce students to the various forms of classical and contemporary performance practices and their attendant modes of analyses: combining play analysis, theatre history & theory. Using complementary content-centred lectures and practice laboratory, the module creates an environment where students simultaneously engage with module content while investigating its relations to the creation of theatre and performance.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: TS1101E
Cross-listing: TS1101E
John WHALEN-BRIDGE

Cinematic and literary expression centred on religious topics can be studied to see how the vitality of cultural expression and power of the religious imagination interrelate. No prior training in artistic interpretation or religious history is required, though the module presumes a curiosity about religion and culture. It trains students to think about why people sometimes enjoy seeing films about painful topics. It clarifies the difference between “studying” and “practising” religion, and it teaches students to discuss controversial topics with tact.

Preclusion for GEM1033: GEH1055
Preclusion for GEH1055: GEM1033
Michael ERLEWINE

Our capacity for language is a defining aspect of what it means to be human and is central to both thought and communication. This course investigates the rules that underlie what we say, how meaning is encoded, and how we reason with language. We will apply mathematical tools of pattern description and logic to describe and better understand human language, with the goal of developing logical explanations for linguistic phenomena. Comparison to artificial and programming languages will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on clear, precise descriptions and their accessible communication through writing and oral presentation.

Singapore Studies Modules

Robin LOON

While drawing on methodologies and approaches used in literary studies, this module moves beyond the traditional confines of Singapore Literature. We will thus examine the representation of Singapore, and of contemporary issues of importance in Singapore, in a variety of different popular media. After an initial introduction to the critical reading of cultural representation, we will explore traditional genres such as poetry and drama, as well as more popular ones such as television, film, and popular autobiography. The module is open to all students.

Preclusion for SSA1206: GES1023
Preclusion for GES1023: SSA1206
Robin LOON

This module provides a grand overview of Singapore English Language Theatre as well as an in-depth analysis of its canonical texts. It traces the development of Singapore’s cultural identity through her theatre’s shifting strategies of representation. Apart from contextualising the key texts within an awareness of Singapore cultural policy and social rubric, this module also focuses on an understanding of theoretical paradigms from postcolonialism, feminism, interculturalism and postmodernism.

Preclusion: TS3235. Students who are majoring in TS, or intend to major in TS, should not take SSA3201.
Cross-listing: TS3235