General Education Requirements-Prescribed Electives (GER -PEs)
HS8001 Women in a Globalized World (3 AU)
This course examines issues related to women in the context of a globalised world with a focus on Southeast Asia, which has experienced rapid economic transformation. This transformation has brought about significant social and cultural consequences for women and concomitant changes to the family. This course familiarises students with the nature of the social and economic changes that have taken place and their impact on the diverse multi-cultural aspects of Southeast Asia societies such as the race/ethnic, religious/secular, rural/urban, social class and gender differences, both between and within the different countries.
HS8003 Comparative Societies (3 AU)
This is a globally-focused course on comparative societies and social patterns that surveys five societies, including Japan, Mexico, the Kalahari Bushmen, Egypt, and Germany. Basic concepts from social science are introduced to enable students to compare and contrast aspects of social organisation across societies and assess their relative importance, such as culture and values, social groups and institutions, social stratification and inequality, and gender and ethnic relations. The selected cases also demonstrate aspects of societies and social organisation that contribute to social stability or social change. Students will gain specific knowledge about the societies under review as well as the ability to use tools and concepts learned in the course to expand their knowledge of other societies around the globe.
HS8004 Sex, Death & Related Social Processes (3 AU)
Mutually exclusive with: GS14
Population is shaped by two processes, births and death. Even though both are biological processes, there are significant social dimensions to these population processes. Sex is what initiates the process of birth and tends to be a highly regulated social process. This course will provide an introduction to the social dimensions of population processes. We will examine the debates of the core population issues: population growth, births and deaths. Within this framework, the issues such as health and the family will also be considered.
HS8005 Religion and Social Life (3 AU)
Mutually exclusive with: GS11
Religion constitutes a profoundly important part of individual and social life. The different relations have been major components in history, politics and culture. This course will help students to start thinking about these issues, and introduce the ways in which religion is investigated by sociologists, historians, psychologists, anthropologists, and others. On completing the course, students should be able to take a more informed interest in issues concerning religion that form part of current discussion, both public and private.
HS8008 Understanding Culture and Globalization (3 AU)
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)
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)
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.
HS8011 Whose Rules? Issues in Crime and Punishment (3 AU)
Crimes and deviance, as fiction or as news, have always been stock topics for human discussion. Today in the mass media it is no different. But ways of understanding and explaining them and ways of reacting to them have changed over time. Are criminals and deviants born different, or just brought up different? Are they mad, or merely sad? Are they predominantly male? Who sets the rules anyway? And does prison do any good? Students will be familiarised with the historical sequence of major sociological explanations, contrasted or interwoven with philosophical, biological and psychological theories. Students will learn how to detect these varied approaches in everyday writings, talk and policies, as well as the difficulties of interpreting the research on which they are based and the oft-quoted statistics of crime.
This course will focus on cross-cultural meanings of emotional experiences and expressions, which appear differently across time and space. After reviewing various theoretical frameworks, we will read ethnographic accounts of emotions in everyday life from a broad variety of ethnographic settings, ranging from small-scale communities, postindustrial complex societies to cyberspace, and diverse genres from Bedouin love songs, Kaluli laments, to the U. S. cable news after the terrorist attack on September 11. Specific topics include; definitions of emotion; emotion and non-verbal communication; emotion and self-presentation; emotion and language; gender issues in emotion; emotion and the body; emotion, power and politics; emotions in global encounters.
HS8013 Tourism Today: Image, Stories and Trends (3 AU)
In the 21st century we have the sense of living in a scientific, technologically-based and statistically-described world that is a far cry from the olden days when life was based on unconfirmed beliefs and far-fetched stories. Yet our understanding of our societies may not be as factually-grounded as we think. Through the topic of Tourism in Singapore and Southeast Asia, students will explore the knowledge we have of the societies we live in, what we tell and sell to tourists about ourselves and what we tell ourselves about tourism. Using sociology and history texts, official statistics, newspaper reports, tourist guidebooks and brochures and a host of other sources, the course will outline and students will explore and present on Singapore and Southeast Asian history, heritage, development and conservation in relation to tourism in general and specific trends such as ecotourism. Individual topics might range from The Merlion, to “Uniquely Singapore” and “Malaysia Truly Asia” to Casinos and Integrated Resorts or the future of Pulau Ubin.
HS8014 How Do Social Inequalities Come About? (3 AU)
This course introduces the analytic and systematic study of how social differentiations become structured and durable social inequalities. We look, in particular, how the differences in class, status, power, gender, ethnicity, caste and age become the bases for unequal life-chances. We look to social thinkers since the Enlightenment to explain the causes of these inequalities and how they are legitimated and contested.
HS8015 Why We Work: How Work Shapes Our Lives (3 AU)
The course looks at why we work and how our lives are organised by it. The course has three main sections. In the first section on Employment, students learn how paid work is organized in different labour markets. Who gets the good jobs and who the bad? What is the link between educational credentials and job placement? In the second section on Unemployment, students find out about the structural explanations for unemployment in an increasingly globalised world. In the third section on Unpaid Work and Leisure, students learn about work that is not paid or evaluated highly but which nevertheless is essential for the well-being of individuals, for instance, housework and caring work, and ask why this is so. Throughout the course, the emphasis is placed on the relationship between work (in its various forms) and our lives. How does work discipline as well as emancipate us? Examples will be drawn from advanced economies such as the USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan and Singapore as well as developing countries like China and Malaysia.
HS8016 Understanding Singapore Society (3 AU)
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-racial 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 torelate larger societal issues and personal concerns of everyday life.
HS8017 Man or Machine: Science and Modern Society (3 AU)
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.
HS8018 Our Bodies, Our Selves (3 AU)
This course provides a meaningful insight on the body as a contested terrain on which struggles over control and resistance are fought out in contemporary societies. We will to understand how the body has been included in the sociological inquiry as a critical reflective response to the current social changes. By emphasising on the transformations in medical knowledge, we will analyse how the understanding of the body has changed from a passive receptacle of disease to a responsible and active agent of self-care. Moreover, we will examine the knowledge of the body vis-à-vis social competence.
HS8019 Living in Contemporary Cities (3 AU)
This course investigates various social forces that shape urban life conditions and the developmental patterns of cities by exploring a range of urban sociological concepts and relevant empirical research outcomes.
HS8020 Exploring Southeast Asia through Films (3 AU)
The course introduces students to the region around Singapore – in particular, to the cultural and social aspects of the people who live in the region. We will examine contemporary Southeast Asian society and culture through the lens of contemporary Southeast Asian films. The course will examine key issues pertaining to gender, ethnic, religious and national identities in contemporary Southeast Asia. It will also discuss the forces of urbanisation, modernity and globalisation that have affected society, culture, ethnicity, and economy in the region. Each of the films selected for viewing and discussion will provide scope for the discussion of key issues pertinent to understandings of Southeast Asia. The range of countries to which this course refers includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.