Succeeding to the Headship of a department where I was once an undergraduate student is an enormous privilege and a responsibility which I have accepted with humility. This is where I was exposed to the disciplines of Sociology and Anthropology and encountered inspiring educators and researchers. This is where I now practice my craft – teaching and doing ethnographic research – with great personal satisfaction. This disciplinary ‘joint-ness' and the institutional co-location of these disciplines began in 1965 when the ‘Department of Sociology' was first founded at the then University of Singapore – and persists firmly into the present. Through the decades this dual disciplinary grounding has continued to be reflected in the intellectual tenor of the department.
The department offers a range of engaging undergraduate and graduate modules that speak to the complexities of everyday living that unfold in diverse socio-cultural and political settings. Examples include the following fields: comparative historical sociology; financial and economic sociology; urban studies; cultural studies; research on religion; family, health and demography studies; work, class, mobility and inequalities; politics, power and violence; law, justice, human rights, social movements and deviance; kinship, gender and sexuality; visual and popular culture, media and communication studies. The department strives to equip students with core theoretical and methodological skill sets with which to critically analyse any societal domain, comparatively and historically. The effort is to produce skilled researchers – theoreticians and methodologists – who are trained to ask critical questions, formulate research problems, design and execute a research agenda effectively – skills that they can further translate into any context, and certainly beyond academic settings.
The department is a diverse, dynamic and innovative research and teaching unit with strong expertise in research on Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia as well as on Singapore society. One of the largest Sociology departments in the world, it offers comprehensive undergraduate, honours and graduate programmes, led by a group of dedicated and creative researchers and educators. The strength and vitality of the department are rooted in its teaching capacity fronted by excellent educators not to mention its stellar research and publication profile given a strong core of accomplished researchers and intellectuals. The classrooms, departmental seminars, graduate workshops and conferences organized through department initiatives afford opportunities for debating and debunking ideas and perspectives on culture, politics and society, challenging students to problematize everything - in the spirit of refusing to take anything for granted.
Professor Vineeta Sinha
Head of Department