Undergraduate

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Course Descriptions

Below is a list of Sociology courses, click on the course title to view the outline.
 
(Pre-requisite: Nil)
 
Contemporary Singapore has been described by observers in many different ways. The country has been perceived by some as a model of economic success and multi-ethnic harmony. Others have criticised the high degree of state regulation in the nation-state. This course provides a sociological perspective on various aspects of Singapore society, from its historical formation to its post-independence social transformation. Issues to be covered include the question of national identity and culture. We examine whether Singaporeans possess a common identity and a culture to call their own.  Matters concerning the exercise of political power and the maintenance of authority will also be analyzed. We explore methods of governance that shape society and individuals. Finally, we examine social divisions, for example, class, gender, and religious affiliations. Students will learn to develop the ‘sociological imagination’- the ability to relate personal problems of everyday life to the larger political, economic, social and cultural issues.

HS0301: Environmental Sustainability (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: Nil)
 
Our planet is undergoing radical environmental and social changes. Environmental sustainability has now been put into question by, for example, our consumption patterns, loss of biodiversity, depletion of resources, and imbalanced power relations. With apparent ecological and social limits to globalization and development, the current levels of consumption are unsustainable, inequitable, and inaccessible to the majority of humans. Understanding the environmental sustainability is a crucial matter at a time when our planet is in peril - both environmentally and socially. This course will show possible pathways for a sustainable earth.
(Pre-requisite: Nil)
 
This introductory course explores what it means to develop a "sociological imagination". Moving beyond the biological basis of behaviour, the course develops a perspective of the human person located in "society" within webs of informal and institutionalized social relationships. Social life is governed by norms and social constraints, but individuals as social actors also "make history" and exercise choice in their lives. In addition, the course develops a comparative understanding of the diversity of societal forms and cultural traditions in human history, especially the key features of modern life and its continued transformation in contemporary times.
(Pre-requisite: Nil)
Beginning with a broad perspective on the historical formation of Singapore, from its premodern roots, through its evolution as a colonial society, and then its fast-paced development as a modern nation-state in Southeast Asia, this course develops a holistic analysis of fundamental features of Singapore as a "society". The course examines the making of "Singaporeans" and "Singapore culture". The patterns of social order and dynamics of social change are understood by focusing on the relationships between political rule, economic structure, and cultural life.
(Pre-requisite: Nil)
This course introduces students to sociological theories, methods, and research through an examination of selected social problems in a global context. "Social problems" refers to sets of social conditions, arrangements, and practices whose resolution, or mere existence, social actors deem important. "Social problems" are social in two ways. First, social problems are constituted through human interaction. Second, social problems are socially defined and thus the meaning and significance of social problems may be contested. There are some social problems that pose practical (if different) challenges for us all. This course introduces sociological perspectives on social problems relating to poverty and inequality, work and occupations, social welfare, and the constitution and role of government.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course examines the theoretical foundations of sociology as a discipline. It focuses on the key ideas and perspectives developed by "classical" social theorists in their analyses of basic features of social life, the making of modern society and the consequences of modernity. In particular, the contributions of major thinkers such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber are discussed against the backdrop of the social and intellectual contexts of their times. In understanding the pivotal influence of such contributions on the development of the discipline, the course also considers their continuing relevance for analysing social change in the contemporary world.
 
This course introduces the methodology - and methods - of social research. It offers a practical immersion into the process of studying human beings and social phenomena, from the formulation of research questions to the interpretation of research findings. Students are exposed to a range of research methods, including the experiment, ethnographic fieldwork, the interview, documentary research, and the social survey, taking a "hands-on" and "learning-by-doing" approach in carrying out and completing a research project. In addition to questions concerning the analysis and use of qualitative and quantitative data, students also consider ethical issues in social research.

HS2003 Economy and Society (Renamed from Economy, Technology and Society) (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
From the invention of the ploughshare to the rise of the internet, technological advancement makes an impact on economic organisation, social relations, and cultural life. In developing this central theme, this course begins with an understanding of the rise of science as a social institution and as a predominant form of rationality. In addition to understanding basic shifts in the experience of time and space brought about by scientific and technological advances, the course considers specific changes in the way that people live, learn, work and play. The human and social consequences - benefits and costs - of the impact of such advances are also examined.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
In its widest sense, culture refers to the sum total of ways of life that are shared by members of a society, providing a sense of social order and yet changing through time. In addition to the concept of "material culture", this course focuses on intangible aspects of culture such as values, norms, ideas, beliefs and symbols, which govern the conduct of social life. Culture is transmitted by the institutions and processes of "socialisation" and is drawn into the social construction of personal and collective identities. The course also discusses changing conceptions of selfhood in modern society and issues related to "ethnocentrism", "cultural relativism", "subculture", "global culture", "popular culture", and "multiculturalism".
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Large-scale and complex organisations are a central feature of modern society. This course examines theories and types of organisations, especially in terms of hierarchy, control, authority, decision-making and accountability. In particular, it considers the rise and impact of bureaucracy and bureaucratic rationality in modern society and the subsequent development of schools or systems of management. In understanding the formal features of bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic organizations, the course also considers the informal, cultural and small-group processes that influence the functioning of organisations. Organisational change - and the transformation of management in contemporary society - is analysed in terms of the relations between organisations and their environments.

HS2007 Understanding Globalization (Renamed from Globalization and Social Change)  (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
'Globalization' refers to the increasing interaction and interdependence between peoples and places across the world. This course examines the interrelated cultural, economic and political processes that constitute globalization, and analyses their impact on individuals, groups, cities and nation-states. Emphasis is placed on understanding the multifaceted character of globalization and the debates that it has engendered. Specific themes include the spread of global capitalism, the global consequences of technological advancements in transport and communications (especially the Internet), the expansion of consumer culture, issues of global governance, and new cultural formations.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Social divisions are found within all societies, whether in relation to wealth, status, or power. In particular, this course examines theories of social class, the dynamics of class formation and the "reproduction" of class along the lines of education, occupation, and lifestyle - involving unequal access to not only economic capital but also cultural capital or symbolic capital. The course also discusses poverty, gender inequality, racial discrimination, the "digital divide" and other forms of social exclusion and marginalisation in contemporary society.

HS2009  Sociology of the Life Course  (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
The social experiences of individuals change as they develop through different stages of life from birth to death. Members of each age cohort and generation share certain formative or defining experiences such as schooling, work, family life, and retirement. This course examines the various stages of the life-course in tandem with the changing demographic profile of a society, paying attention to social factors related to marriage, parenthood, family structure, education, employment, health and medical care, living arrangements, lifestyles and social equity. The social, economic and political implications and consequences of demographic trends and the policies that address such trends are also discussed.

HS2011 Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations (3 AU)  
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course develops an understanding of ethnicity as a social concept and phenomenon in which group boundaries are defined and maintained on the basis of inherited or acquired cultural characteristics (e.g., language and customs). In particular, it considers the relationship between ethnic identity and minority status in plural or multicultural societies, especially in relation to racism or other forms of discrimination. The course also examines patterns of ethnic integration, ethnic conflict and the politics of identity in different societies, especially in light of flows of new immigrants from global diasporas.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course is designed to introduce contemporary forms of migration and their implications for living within diverse and multicultural societies through sociological concepts and key perspectives. This course will give students a broad understanding of the central issues associated with migration and settlement, with an attempt to focus on south-south migrations and generate conversation with more commonly studied South to North movements of people. The first half of the course will address various types of migration and key transnational framings of the movements of people across domestic and international boundaries. In the second half, the ways in which various states deal with the diversity of their temporary and more permanent immigrant populations will be explored. This is done using a case study approach that allows for a deeper understanding of each site. Finally, the course introduces some elements of everyday migrant life in order to provide a balance to highly state-centric readings of migration. The course seeks to link issues of migration with understandings of contemporary multiculturalism so that they can be examined as interrelated transnational phenomena. In these discussions, class and ethnicity emerge as key vectors of differentiation and analysis.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
The family occupies a central place in the everyday lives of most people across societies and cultures. Yet changes in contemporary society have had a major impact on the family as a social institution. Beginning with the study of kinship patterns in human society, this course examines theoretical perspectives on the family and the diversity of family forms and households that have developed over time. It considers issues related to intimacy, marriage, divorce, parenthood (both motherhood and fatherhood), alternatives to conventional family practices, and social policies which affect family life and family planning. The "politics of the family" and issues such as gender inequality and domestic violence are also discussed. 
HS2015 Education and Society (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Formal education is a defining social institution of modern society. Its influence on individuals and society extends far beyond its pedagogical function, especially in relation to social inequality, economic development, governance and cultural life. In examining theories of schooling, the development of educational systems and the expansion of schooling in various societies, this course also considers the social organisation and culture of the school, the role of the formal and informal curriculum, the educational experiences of various social groups, and the social factors that affect educational opportunity and individual educational attainment.

HS2018 Media and Society (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Beginning with an understanding of the social character of communication, this course explores the interrelationship between media--oral, written, print, broadcast, and electronic media--and society. It considers the production and reception of media in relation to social inequality, political power, economic structure and cultural life. Topics include the role of media in the social construction of reality, the making of popular culture, cyber-culture, and the creation of new vehicles of self-expression. In addition to examining theories of media, the course explores issues such as the rise of the media industry and the formulation of media policies within national and transnational contexts. It also focuses on the social impact of 'new media' created by the digital technologies, especially the Internet and mobile telecommunications.

HS2019  Science, Technology and Society (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Rapid advancement in science and technology presents individuals and societies with a unprecedented array of challenges. This course explores the social, ethical and policy issues associated with scientific and technological advancement by posing questions such as the following: What is science? How is scientific knowledge created, disseminated and adopted? How are discoveries and inventions made and accepted? What is the nature of scientific and technological progress? How is it influenced by social, political, economic and cultural factors? What are the roles of universities, research institutes and industrial or business partners? In examining the social implications and consequences of the new scientific ideas and technological applications, the course scrutinises developments in multiple fields, including the life sciences, medicine, engineering and digital media.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the social-scientific study of population. Beginning with a discussion of the significance of changing demographic patterns within nation-states and in the global context, we consider the development of population science and major theories of demographic change. Special attention is given to “the demographic transition” and the causes and consequences of population growth in developed and developing countries. In understanding population dynamics, we focus on basic aspects of demographic structure and composition and analyse their implications for ethnic, gender, class and inter-generational relations. In particular, we analyse the role of the state in formulating and implementing population policy, especially in relation to fertility, which is in turn influenced by marriage and the formation of families and households. Population growth and distribution are also studied in relation to immigration, aging and mortality.

HS2023  Environmental Sociology (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course provides a critical survey of key theories and issues in environmental sociology. Beginning with an overview of environmental problems in the contemporary world, we examine the social construction of nature and the development of environmentalism as a concept and a social movement. In particular, it analyse the challenges of sustainable development and the roles of the state, market, and civil society in responding to environmental issues. Specific issues such as climate change, food security, and renewable energy are studied from a sociological perspective. The course will also consider issues related to environmental inequality and environmental justice.

HS2026  Deviance and Society  (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course addresses the fundamental question of how any type of behavior can be treated as "deviant", "delinquent" or "criminal" within the context of a particular society. In examining theories of deviance - especially the social construction or labelling of deviance - the course considers the mechanisms of formal and informal control in a society and the strategies of resistance on the part of "deviant" groups. It also discusses basic concepts in criminology, varieties of crime (including corporate crime, organized crime, international crime and cybercrime) and systems of law enforcement and public surveillance.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
This course examines the social contexts of age and aging. The primary focus of the course is on aging process and the elderly.  Our approach emphasises the complexity of aging, recognising it as a multidimensional process.  Students will examine the situations, contributions, and concerns of the elderly.  Consideration will be given to ethical issues and dilemmas and to social and professional responses. The social and economic challenges posed by an aging population will also be considered.
(Pre-requisite: HS2001)
This course builds upon the foundations laid by classical social theory and maps out the field of contemporary social theory. In particular, the legacy of classical theory is critically reviewed in light of the advent of the postindustrial, postmodern and post-Cold War era in the late twentieth-century and the early twenty-first century. Beyond surveying the ideas and perspectives that major social theorists have developed in response to the transformation of contemporary society, the course focuses on key contributions that have influenced the development of sociology in recent decades.

HS3002  Understanding Social Statistics (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: HS2002)
 
Social statistics appear routinely not just in articles in academic journals but also those in newspapers and popular magazines. Statistics are often cited and accepted as factual evidence or empirical support for a particular opinion or policy. But statistics can be used and abused. This course aims to develop a working understanding of social statistics, focusing on basic statistical concepts, the logic of statistical reasoning in social research, the foundations of statistical inference and hypothesis testing, and the generation and interpretation of statistical data. Students also learn to use a statistical software package for social research.

HS3004  Cities and Urban Life (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
This course examines theories of urban development and features of urbanism as a way of life, focusing on processes of urbanisation and metropolitan development in both the developed world and in the developing world. It considers the urban transformation of predominantly rural societies, highlighting the implications of the rural-urban divide and issues related to urban poverty, housing and urban renewal. The course also discusses the rise of global cities and informational cities--and the rise of the creative city--with emphasis on the competition between cities in attracting trade, talent and tourists and the potential collaboration between them in addressing problems engendered by the global economy and international migration.

HS3007  Religion and Society (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
This course is concerned with the place of religion in personal and collective life, the varieties of religious phenomena, and the social organisation of religious belief and practice. In particular, the course draws a comparison of the types of religious worldviews embodied in animistic, polytheistic and monotheistic religions. In so doing, it examines the great religious traditions, including the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese religion, as well as new religious movements. The course also discusses the relation between religion and modernity, especially science, capitalist rationality and the secular state.

HS3011  Power, Politics and the State (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
Power is a fundamental feature of social life, and it is manifested most obviously in the role of political institutions, especially in the modern nation-state. This course examines the nature and exercise of power and political control. In tracing the making of the modern state, it considers the ideological processes that legitimise political rule and government authority, especially in relation to nation-building and citizenship. In drawing contrasts between fascist and democratic states, it discusses the processes of democratisation, including the changing relations between state and civil society, the role of social movements, the protection of human rights, and the mechanisms of conflict resolution.

HS3014 Health, Medicine, and Society (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
Illness is a primary component of suffering, and human beings have developed different methods of dealing with it. However, notions of 'sickness' often connote physiological dysfunctions, which in turn require biomedical remedies. What then does it mean to be healthy? What are the social conditions for physical well-being? How can 'genuine' and 'pseudo' medicine be distinguished? How is medicine organised as a profession, institution and industry? In drawing on theories and case studies, this course considers how social relations and cultural constructs influence the definition of health, the provision of medicine, and the effects of therapy. Topics include medical ethics, medical technology, and the political economy of healthcare.

HS3015  Development and Social Change  (3 AU)
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
Why are some countries poorer than others, and why do some countries develop faster than others? Development is often equated with industrialisation, modernisation and other such large-scale social transformations. That conventional approach assumes that all societies advance through linear, evolutionary stages of 'progress' through the adoption of modernising institutions and practices. In studying the historical experience of developing countries (in Africa, Latin America and Asia), this course views development and social change through the lens of political, economic and cultural processes, recognising that outcomes of 'development' often hinge on competing ideas, conflicting interests, and power asymmetries. Students will gain a historically grounded understanding of development and social change in a variety of institutional settings.
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 

This course teaches students to understand societies through the comparative method, focusing particularly on the categories of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, demography, post-colonial history, scientific development and globalization. Source material will draw heavily on Singapore, Israel, and Qatar, three multi-racial post-British protectorates with advanced development in science and technology and each with a unique history of national identity formation. Each week will focus on a particular theme of comparison, asking how we can understand each society through each specific lens of comparison. Through the course of the lectures students will understand the varied ways societies can be compared, yielding a rich analytic toolkit for deploying the comparative method. 


HS3017 Sociology of Tourism (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
As a prominent aspect of globalisation, tourism entails the global creation and consumption of tourism spaces characterised by complex interactions between tourists, host communities, state agencies, businesses, cultural institutions and international organizations. The study of tourism as a social and cultural practice therefore also deals with issues such as migration, development, sociocultural change, and domination. Drawing on theoretical perspectives and research findings from various disciplines, using multimedia teaching tools, and engaging in fieldwork activities, this course develops a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted character of tourism and its impact on contemporary societies.

HS3018 Sociology of Gender (3 AU)  
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
This course examines gender relations within various institutional contexts. Beginning with a discussion of gender difference and inequality from a sociological perspective, we consider theories of gender, including the nature of patriarchy, and the social and cultural construction of women and men. In particular, we will discuss the structural and ideological aspects of gender relations in social contexts such as the following: the family and household, work and the economy, politics and the state, and popular culture and mass media. Within these contexts, we examine specific issues, for example, the domestic division of labour, gender segregation in employment, gender representations and identities, and gender inequality in relation to crime and violence. In so doing, we also analyse the effectiveness of public policy in these areas.

HS3019  Sexuality and Society (3 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: Any two of the 2000-level cores)
 
This course surveys the study of sexuality as a social phenomenon. Beginning with a discussion of anthropological and sociological approaches to sexuality, we examine the plurality of sexual identities and communities across historical periods and societies. In particular, we focus on the construction of masculinity and femininity in relation to the family, social class, work, and citizenship, highlighting the politics of diversity and the negotiation of sexual and reproductive rights. In so doing, we analyse the relationship between intimacy and modernity, and sexuality in contemporary society.
(Pre-requisite: HS1001)
 
Language use, socialisation, interaction, cooperation and conflict, self-presentation and identity-formation, these are some basic processes in social life. Paying detailed attention to everyday social interaction and interpersonal relations, this course examines the inextricable relations between emotions, motives and thoughts, and the social worlds of individuals and groups. The course considers a wide array of empirical phenomena from multiple theoretical perspectives and equips students with tools for analysing the processes through which human beings construct their social realities, which in turn shape their notions of selfhood and collective identities vis-à-vis others.

 
HS4001 Research Practicum I: Qualitative Social Research (4 AU)
(Prerequisite: HS2002 Doing Social Research)
 
This course offers practical training in the methodology and methods of qualitative social research. The training covers methods such as in-depth interviewing participant-observation, ethnographic fieldwork, documentary research and content analysis.

HS4002  Research Practicum II: Quantitative Social Research (4 AU)
(Prerequisite: HS3002 Understanding Social Statistics)  
 
This course offers practical training in the methodology and methods of quantitative social research. The training primarily covers survey research methodology, involving questionnaire design, probability and non-probability sampling, and the construction of scales and indices.

HS4008  Social Institutions of Contemporary China (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
How does contemporary Chinese society (both rural and urban) organise itself socially? The burgeoning literature on contemporary China emphasises economic and political rationalities.Yet Chinese society is a classic exemplar of how individuals are socially embedded in it. This course explores this powerful dimension of social organisation in the everyday lives of the Chinese.
By examining social institutions such as the family, work and grassroots organisations, neighbourhoods, social welfare, religion and ideology, we seek to better understand how Chinese lives are socially controlled and how their behaviour and beliefs can be understood by these social constraints. At the same time, by looking at how these social institutions restructure themselves as China moves from socialism to capitalism, we will see how the Chinese, as active agents, rewrite the social rules and reinvent new norms and institutions. Depending on the composition of the class, there may be an optional discussion session on one of the course topics in standard Mandarin.

HS4011  The Self in Southeast Asia (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002
 
The rapidity of social change in Southeast Asia has resulted in the transformation of many Southeast Asian societies in just a few decades. This seminar style course will examine how this rapid social change has affected the individual in terms of self and identity. The focus on Thailand and Malaysia will provide the opportunity to compare and contrast two different cultures in Southeast Asia. One issue that will be considered is the growth of individualism, what it means in Thailand and Malaysia, and the ways in which it is manifested in everyday life.

HS4013  Youth cultures and subcultures (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
Youth as a social phenomenon arose largely as a cultural derivative of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States and is now global. In the twentieth century particularly, youth became an object of sociological, cultural, and psychological analyses. The concept “subculture” has been used with various degrees of success to analyse youths’ individual and collective behaviors. In this course students will survey some of the many strands of subcultural theory about youth during the 20th and 21st centuries. The course will begin with early sociological work from the University of Chicago, followed by an overview of the British cultural studies approach. Students will then move on to examples of contemporary subculture theory and research. A number of historical and contemporary subcultures will be discussed during the course.

HS4015  Sociology of Reproduction (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course will analyse the topic of human reproduction through the sociological lens - that is,we will examine reproduction as a social, cultural, economic and political phenomenon, in addition to treating it as a biological phenomenon. We will review various theories and concepts, and explore a wide range of issues - including, but not limited to, teenage pregnancies, the discovery of birth control pills, "pink parenting," abortion, fertility tourism, and population policies.

HS4016 Social Movements (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
This course serves as an introduction to the vast and rich research in sociology on this important subject. We will explore social movements through a sociological lens, asking: what are the conditions for their emergence? What are social movement organisations’ and activists’ tactics and strategies, and how do these come about? How do social movements shape the worlds in which we live?

HS4019  Body, Self and Society (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
Academic interest in the cultural studies of the body emerged in the 1990s as a response to fundamental changes in the relationships between the self and society. Medical sciences, social media, popular culture, globalisation and many other forces have contributed to the increasingly ambiguous status of the human body in contemporary societies. Research framed with ‘the body’ and ‘embodiment’ as analytical units has thus increased exponentially over the past two decades. Through discussions of how sociologists and anthropologists make sense of the body caught within forces of modernity, this course aims to encourage students to go beyond treating the body as a mere biological product and see how it is also socially, culturally, and politically constituted. 

HS4021  Postcolonial sexuality (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course explores the implications of colonialism in current understandings of sexual knowledge and behavior. The relationship between colonised and coloniser is explored through the notion of scientific approaches to sexuality in the 19th century to shed light on Orientalism, self-orientalism and nowadays sexual cultures. The course will highlight the relationship between theory and practice in understanding the context of colonialism and sexuality.

HS4022  Sociology of Islam in the Malay World (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This module explores the effects of the modernization project upon the religious life of the Malays. By employing sociological insights, the course provides theoretical tools to critically examine the strategies various Muslim and non-Muslim social groups in the Malay World adopt to respond and adjust to these social processes. It will study themes such as popular youth cultures, religious ideologies, socio-economic development, social movements and state management to disentangle the ways in which global processes such as the increasing securitization besieging the September 11 generation and living in an age of migration are experienced within the context of pietization in the Malay World.

 
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
The contemporary world faces unprecedented risks which extend beyond the periodic occurrence of natural disasters. Such risks - e.g., health risks and "cyber-risks" - are created by technological advancements (e.g., in fields such as biotechnology, genomics and information technology) and can have a global impact. This course examines the causes and consequences of new risk-related phenomena such as the threat of epidemics (e.g. SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and bird flu), which can spread across national boundaries. In addition to health and environmental risks, the early twenty-first century world is characterised by new and unpredictable forms of violence such as terrorist acts, whose causes and consequences are again not confined within the context of a single nation-state. This course also discusses the perception of insecurity and the negotiation of risk - and the management of potential and actual crises.

HS4026  Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors: Explorations in Chinese Religions (4 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
Hungry ghosts, benevolent ancestors, and powerful gods jostle for human attention together with the “wind” and “water” of fengshui. Buddhist deities, Daoist immortals, Confucian saints, Jesus, Allah, and a multitude of spirits—interacting with powerful forces unleashed by processes of modernisation, secularisation and globalisation—continue to exert profound influence on the social, economic and political experiences in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere. Many Chinese people continue to experience the physical and social landscapes in which they live as enchanted and animated by non-human beings that form an integral part of their daily experiences. The religious revival witnessed in China in recent years is a poignant indication of the significant role religion continues to play in the lives of many Chinese, despite numerous attempts by the Communist party-state to stamp it out. As China globalises and persists in its modernization effort, the various religions exist in a tense and ambiguous relationship with an officially atheistic ruling party that seeks to maintain hegemonic control over society. Through the examination of various important methodological and substantive issues relating to religions in mainland China and other Chinese societies, this course aims to enable students to analyse the complex ways in which Chinese religions shape, and are shaped by, contemporary social, political, and cultural developments.

HS4027: Cultural Politics of Development and the Environment (4 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
The central question that guides this course is: what is the critical intersection between development and the environment, and what kind of cultural politics does it generate? Given that there are competing interpretations and often very high and multiple stakes in understanding/representing environmental loss, claims, and knowledge(s), the questions of identity, territory, and meanings have increasingly become central to the cultural politics of environment and development. Attentive to the historical, political economic, and cultural discourses and practices that constitute these environmental contestations, the emphasis in the course will be to look at the struggles over nature as struggles over place, identity, meanings, representations, and livelihoods.

HS4028: Migration and Development in a Globalizing World (4 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course introduces a variety of theories and cutting-edge studies on the migration-development nexus. At the end of the course, students would gain better insights into the causes of migration and its effects on social and economic development in various parts of the world, including Singapore and other Asian countries.

HS4029 Magic, Witchcraft and Shamanism (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course introduces theoretical approaches to the study of magic, witchcraft and the spirit world in relation to the broader fields of sociology of knowledge, sociology of wellbeing, and sociology of conflict management. Empirical cases studies from different cultures and societies will allow students to understand the topic from a comparative angle.

HS4030 Social Science Fiction (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002) 
 
Sociologists of everyday life study how people create, share, and use aspects of popular culture. Sociologists are often interested in the significance of popular culture in terms of themes such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, inequality/social problems, family/social relations/community, sustainability/environmentalism, self/identity, economy/production/consumption, religion, media, and so on. Likewise, science fiction as a genre often deals with the same themes, though through imaginative content, including futuristic or alternative settings, science and technology. It is simultaneously critical and innovative in its focus on lived reality. Its imaginative elements are largely plausible within current scientific paradigms, and genre writers often explore the potential consequences of social, scientific, and technological changes in society.

HS4031 Global Cities (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002) 
 
This course takes the concept of the Global City as its starting point to understand metropolitan life through this particular expression of contemporary urbanism. The limitations of such a conceptual framing will be explored, and applicability of the concept to cities outside the ‘West’ will be examined. In addition to exploring key issues in urban studies through the frame of the global city, the course also aims to introduce methodological perspectives for studying how global city processes manifest at the scale of the everyday. In doing so, this course takes the ‘urban’ as the primary unit of analysis, as opposed to the ‘national’ or ‘state’.
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002) 
 
By considering the culture and politics of the discourse and practice of ‘innovation’ in state, industry, and academic spheres, this class gives you an opportunity to apply your cumulative social scientific training to contemporary questions of major, local, regional and global importance. By comparing and contrasting American, Chinese, Singaporean, and other models and approaches, you will gain competence in cross-cultural sociological, cultural, and geographical analysis. Overall, you will gain expertise by leading discussion sessions and deepen your knowledge through research on specific themes of innovation.
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002) 
 
This course considers ageing in a broad sociological context with comparative perspectives. The course addresses the ways in which ageing is socially defined and experienced. It also applies a critical perspective to the ways in which ageing is framed by family, groups, and society. The course covers how ageing issues are constructed differently over time and in different cultures.
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002) 
 
This course will teach you to critically understand the role of science and technology in contemporary societies and in particular the impacts of science and technology on social identity.
This course is aimed at senior sociology undergraduates interested in both science and technology and social identity.
 
You will learn how to employ advanced concepts in social theory to explain the complexities of science and technologies in their specific contexts.  You will thus develop both your theoretical thinking as well as your application of social theory to explain the roles of science and technologies in the contemporary world. The emphasis of the course is the relationships between science and technology and social identities, including but not limited to: nation, race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. The course will thus also develop your knowledge of the anthropology and sociology of identity.
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
Science and technology are the ubiquitous, yet often-invisible streams running through the variegated terrain of society. The ebbs and flows of science and technology have become one of the dominant mediating agents for human experience, and percolate through cultural and natural fault lines, reconfiguring channels between each, while themselves being altered through their passage. These dynamics, in short, are terraformations. Usually, only when we are confronted with catastrophes such as the terrorist attacks or massive oil spills or earthquakes, we recognize a fundamental paradox of modern times: As ‘socio technical’ systems grow increasingly complex, our ability to explain, discipline and organize our world becomes drastically limited and uncertain, even as the stakes in successfully navigating these straits become unthinkably high. Only when we are faced with these dramatic events are the mists briefly lifted that normally obscure particular confluences of science, technology, power and culture from ordinary view. In this course, we will look at the less dramatic but equally pervasive circulations (and disjunctures) of global capital, technology and knowledge and how they remake our natural and social worlds.
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course is designed to help you obtain comprehensive and critical knowledge of the relationship between mental health and society. Readings and lectures deal with a variety of theories and empirical research of sociology of mental health. In particular, this course examines a range of topics related to sociology of mental health from a private area of family and gender to a public area of work and policies. While the course materials draw mostly from sociological theory and research, we will also draw from the richness of other disciplines—especially psychological research on stress and mental health. This course will underscore the ways that social inequality manifests itself in the area of mental health, focusing on social patterns, processes, and outcomes, as well as the relevance of social contexts for contributing to disparities in mental health.

 HS4080  Honours Seminar in Applied Sociology (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course focuses on a particular topic in applied sociology, especially by bringing theoretical insights and empirical research to bear on sociological analysis and evaluation of an area of social policy.

HS4090  Honours Seminar in Current Sociology (4 AU)
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This course offers a treatment of a new topic or a more specialised theoretical or empirical treatment of an existing topic, focusing on a case study or drawing from an ongoing research project.
 
i) Culture and Anthropology (4 AU)
 
This course is designed to provide a broad overview of socio-cultural anthropology for advanced undergraduate students. David Sloan Wilson recently described the social sciences  as “a vast archipelago of disciplines that only partially communicate with each other.” The goal of the course is to help students equip themselves with a map of most of the larger anthropological islands, and their situation vis-à-vis neighboring archipelagos such as sociology, philosophy, history and economics. We will identify the homelands of celebrated ideas, and trace the exchange networks by which they travel around the archipelago. We will not spend a lot of time on any single island, but we will fill our canoes with many valuables, and diligent students will learn how to find their way back to the sites that they find most appealing.
ii) Sociology and Global Health (4 AU)
 
Infectious disease pandemics such as HIV or bird flu; epidemics of cancer caused by industrial pollution of air and water; malnutrition amidst famine and poverty: today’s public health problems cross national borders and take shape at a global scale.  In this course, we will adopt a sociological perspective to critically examine the relationship between globalization processes and health, as well as the shift from international to ‘global’ institutions of health governance.  In the first part of the course, we explore how disease first came to be constituted as a “social” problem of collective, rather than individual life.  Public health and the social sciences share a common origin in the modern politics of governing collective life, and both became grounded in the institutions of the nation state.  In the second part of the course, we address a series of problems that have challenged this national scale of health governance (as well as the traditional form of international cooperation).  In each case, we also explore new social science concepts and methods developed to understand health and disease in post-national or ‘post-social’ settings.

HS4091 – Honours Seminar "Sociology of the Arts" (4 AU) 
(Pre-requisite: All Core Courses except HS4001 and HS4002)
 
This seminar course focuses on sociological perspectives on "the arts", with special attention paid to the visual arts (and, to a lesser extent, the performing arts). We examine basic questions such as "What is art and what is a  work of art?" and "What is involved in art-making?". We also analyse processes of artistic creation and the roles of key persons and institutions in the making of "art worlds" and  "arts ecosystems", including artists, audiences, consumers, curators, critics, collectors,dealers, arts bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, museums, galleries, government agencies, and commercial parties (e.g., auction houses). In so doing, we attempt to understand the interrelations between "art" (or "the arts") and politics (esp. the state), commerce (esp. the art market and the cultural or creative industries) and social divisions (esp. class and gender).

General Education Requirements-Prescribed Electives (GER -PEs)
 
HS8008  Understanding Culture and Globalization (3 AU)
Pre-requisite: Nil 
Today, we are living in an interconnected world. People from diverse backgrounds have to practice forms of cultural negotiation when they interact together. This course analyses how cultures are socially constructed and what happens when different cultures meet. Cultures are not monolithic constructs. People continuously negotiate their content in relation to a wide variety of factors and globalization has accelerated and broadened these forms of negotiations. The principal themes are: cultural capital, dominant cultures, sub-cultures, Asianization, Westernisation, consumption, hybridity, popular culture and transnationalism.

HS8009  Understanding China Today (3 AU)
Pre-requisite: Nil
 
This course examines the market transition process in China since 1978. Market transition here is understood as a process of not only economic transformation, but also sociopolitical and cultural change. Thus, In addition to introducing the facts and policy issues behind China's recent economic "miracle", the course also discusses the broad implications of economic reforms on the political, social, and cultural systems in China and the transformation of the political, social, and cultural systems.

HS8010  Food in Culture and Society (3 AU)
Pre-requisite: Nil
 
Food constitutes a profoundly important part of human life. It affects us physiologically, culturally and socially, and it is a major element in history, economy and politics. This course introduces the ways in which food-related questions have been researched by scientists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists and others. Why do we eat what we eat? How has the human diet changed over the centuries? How does our food get to our tables? What are the consequences of our eating patterns? What difference does it make whether we find and cook our own food, or have it prepared for us by others? What does fast food do to us and our society? Why are some people starving while others are eating too much? If these and other such questions interest you, then this is the course for you.
HS8017  Man or Machine: Science and Modern Society (3 AU)
Pre-requisite: Nil
 
Modern society has been characterised by the proliferation of science and technology in everyday life. The culture of the new millennium will be much more influenced by technoscientific advances particularly in biotechnological and informational fields. This course is designed to provide an introduction to sociological studies of science and technology. A wide range of issues is discussed including the Internet and cyberworld, nanotechnology and new material, bio-engineering, medical science, and military technology. All the cases will be observed using the sociological lenses that allow students to understand structural relations that underpin unprecedented development of science and technology. The role of science and technology in globalisation processes is also examined. From learning these cases using sociological frameworks, students will develop the ability to examine social and cultural implications of science and technology in contemporary society. 
 
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