On 5 April 2017, the inaugural batch of graduating History seniors presented their capstones. The fruit of a year’s labour, capstone topics spanned a diverse range of topics, from religious history to investigations of the history of war memory.
To reflect this variety in topics, the public capstone presentation was divided into three panels, namely, “Varieties of History”, “The Japanese in Singapore”, and “Singapore in History.” Each presenter had 10 minutes to present, with 5 minutes of FAQs. The line-up of the panels along with a short write-up of the capstone’s contents are appended below:
Panel 1: Varieties of History
Joyan Tan: ‘Where Esther Parted the Ways’
Focusing on the 2nd to 6th centuries CE, Tan argues that the Christian church fathers and Jewish rabbis interpreted and used the book of Esther respectively in order to establish their separate social and religious identities in a turbulent time of change.
Amanda Lee: ‘Contraception and Chastity: A History of Contraception from the Perspective of the Catholic Church’
Lee’s project traces the changes in the Church’s and Catholic thinkers’ conceptions of contraception in the twentieth century, revealing how such teachings were responsive to changes in societal thought on contraception and chastity.
Michelle Koh: ‘Changing Conceptions of Vice and Virtue in 18th Century British Commercial Society’
Koh’s capstone argues for the importance of Bernard Mandevile’s work, The Fable of the Bees, in understanding evolving conceptions of vice and virtue in 18th century Britain.
Evannia Handoyo: ‘A Public Testimony: Piracy, Realism and the Mariner’s Autobiography in Mid-eighteenth Century Britain’
Handoyo’s project examined British mariners’ autobiographies in the mid-eighteenth century, investigating their connection to piracy trials and realist fiction.
Panel 2: The Japanese in Singapore
Regina Hong: ‘Beyond Healers: National Concerns, Local Ties, and Japanese Practitioners in Pre-war Singapore’
Hong’s work investigates the presence of Japanese practitioners in Singapore prior to the Second World War and argues that they were not only healers but were also leaders and bridges of national and local communities.
Melody Madhavan: ‘The Resolution of the Sook Ching Incident: An Examination of Singaporean Newspapers’
Madhavan’s project focuses on Chinese and English newspaper coverage of the Sook Ching Incident to trace the evolution of public memory of the incident for the local Chinese community from the end of the war to 1968.
Xi Min Ling: ‘Deconstructing Japanese Memoirs of the Invasion of Malaya and Singapore’
Through an analysis of Japanese-language memoirs of World War II in Singapore, Ling argues for a more nuanced reading of such memoirs as gateways into understanding the human roots of diverse political opinion on the Pacific War and the impact of events in post-war Japanese socio-political life on their subsequent framings.
Panel 3: Singapore in History
Li Nanlan: ‘Filial Sons and or Patriotic Sojourners: Life and Concerns of the Teochew Migrants in their Remittance Letters’
Li’s work utilises a recently-published archive of letters from Teochew migrants to their families to explore the complex identities these individuals negotiated during the course of their lives in Singapore.
Tinesh Indrarajah: ‘Forging a Singaporean Ceylonese Tamil Identity: A Study on Kinship Networks and Societal Respectability’
Focusing on the oral histories of Ceylonese Tamils conducted by the Oral History Department of the National Archives of Singapore, Indrarajah investigates the kinship and gender structures of Ceylonese Tamil families as they build a new home away from home.
Karen Ho: ‘Another Singaporean Song: Xinyao and National Identity in Singapore’
Uniquely using xinyao songs as a primary source, Ho explores the movement’s points of alignment and disagreement with government objectives, and how it revealed an alternative conception of national identity in 1980s Singapore.
Congratulations to the 2017 History seniors for completing their capstones!