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The Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore is located in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, AS1 #03-06, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570. Its telephone number is (65) 6516 3822 / 6275 / 8983 and email address is


1965-1970: Establishing an Identity[]

Teaching in the Department began in 1966 with just three staff members: Professor Murray Groves, an Australian social anthropologist who was appointed the first Chair of Sociology, Mrs Daisy Seah as secretary and a peon. One hundred and fifty students enrolled for three courses. The students were highly motivated and were not deterred by the staffing constraints. A number of full-time lecturers were hired but the staff remained at about half a dozen. The Department's first home was on the top floor of the Manasseh Meyer Building located at the Upper Quadrangle of the University's Bukit Timah campus. This was also the site where the Department's (and the University's) first weekly seminars were held.

One problem that hampered teaching was the lack of sociological material on Malaya and Singapore. The collection of data fell upon the members of the staff and students. Riaz Hassan and Joseph Tamney compiled a reader on Singapore, Analysis of an Asian Society: Singapore from the works of authors from the University. The students' Sociology Society produced the South-East Asian Journal of Sociology that was a scholarly journal for both local and refereed international contributors. Even though it only ran three issues, it was the forebear of the by now internationally established Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science that is based in the Department and published by Times Academic Press.

1971-1980: Expansions[]

This period was one of expansion for the Department including its move to larger quarters at House Number Eleven in the Bukit Timah campus. The Department began to build an indigenous research base and to focus the teaching on Singapore and Southeast Asia. The Working Paper Series was set up as a means to encourage members of the Department to write and present their research findings. it was also regarded as a means to establish the academic standing of the Department by providing the intellectual stimulation needed to take advantage of the multiracial environment of a growing metropolis. Urban sociology and ethnic relations became central themes of both teaching and research in the Department. The Research Seminar that was begun some years was formalised. There was active participation in the seminar from outside the Department as such activities were elsewhere in the University. Postgraduate research was emphasised with an expansion of the Department's postgraduate programme to offer a doctoral degree in addition to the existing Master's degree. The Department continued to expand as both sociologists and anthropologists were recruited from the wider region, and its own graduates began to return with PhDs from abroad.

1981-2000: Consolidation and New Directions[]

When the Department moved to Kent Ridge campus in 1981 it had 23 full-time teaching staff. It is presently one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with 30 full-time teaching staff. The research activities of the Department have become varied over the years. Although primarily focused on Singapore, some staff members have always had research interests in other countries of the region. During this period the Department also emphasised multidisciplinary research. In more recent years a considerable amount of research interest has been shown in the area of applied sociology. Since the 1994-95 academic year, with the introduction of the modular system, the Department has introduced a host of new courses reflecting both its regional focus and applied orientation. Many of the staff continue to work in close collaboration with various governmental departments and international bodies.

2001-2010: Sociology for the Twenty-First Century[]

At the beginning of the new century, the Department remained sensitive to the new demands and challenges posed by rapid modernization of Singapore society. It engaged in some larger scale, multidisciplinary research projects. Several of these had a demographic focus: the "Comparative Study of Health and Aging in Asia", undertaken together with the University of Michigan, USA, and funded by the US National Institute of Aging; and a study on " Transitions in Health, Wealth, and Welfare of Elderly Singaporeans: 1995-1999", sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Department of Sociology, in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development and the University of Michigan. The launching of this research project brought Singapore on par with major studies on ageing in the United States such as the Health and Retirement Survey. A third concerned "Late Marriage and Low Fertility in Singapore: Insights from a Socio-Cultural Perspective" and was funded by the NUS University Research Committee. A number of comparative projects sought to enhance understandings of political, economic and social conditions in the region, for instance those on "Ethnicity, Migration, and the Nation-state in Southeast and East Asia", which compared concepts of ethnicity, and the conditions of migrants, in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan; ASEAN Regional Identities; Cultural Values and Asian Regional Identities; Cultural Values and Asian Entrepreneurship: A Cross-Cultural Comparison; and East Asian Modernization and Modernity. In 2002, a team from the Department completed the First World Values Survey in Singapore, a project which emphasized cross-national comparisons of social change and value shifts as well as reflects the Department initiative in social indicators research.

2010s: Research Clusters[]

Today, the Department is continuing to develop its core research programmes organized in four clusters: Anthropology; Comparative Historical Sociology; Family, Demography and Inequality; and Urban, Mobility and Cultural Studies.

Academic staff[]

  • Adelyn Lim, Senior Lecturer, 6516 3823
  • Angelique Chan, Associate Professor, 6516 5685
  • Anne Raffin, Associate Professor, 6516 6064
  • Bussarawan (Puk) Teerawichitchainan, Associate Professor, 6516 3824
  • Canay Ozden-Schilling, Assistant Professor, 6516 6112
  • Chengpang Lee, Assistant Professor, 6516 3995
  • Chitra Venkataramani, Assistant Professor, 6601 5958
  • Chua Beng Huat, Professor, 6516 3833
  • Chua Hui Ching Emily, Assistant Professor, 6516 3988
  • Daniel P S Goh, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of Dept, 6516 5080
  • Danzeng (Tenzin) Jinba, Assistant Professor, 6516 6409
  • Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Assistant Professor, 6516 3829
  • Eric C. Thompson, Associate Professor, 6516 6070
  • Feng Qiushi, Associate Professor, 6516 4420
  • George Radics, Senior Lecturer, 6516 8072
  • Ho Kong Chong, Associate Professor, 6516 3836
  • Ho Swee Lin, Associate Professor, 6516 5017
  • Indira Arumugam, Assistant Professor, 6516 6974
  • Ivan Kwek, Senior Lecturer, 6516 6419
  • Jean Wei-Jun Yeung, Professor, 6516 3471
  • Jennifer Estes, Lecturer, 6516 3832
  • Joonmo Son, Associate Professor, 6516 6065
  • Joshua Kurz, Lecturer, 6516 3983
  • Kelvin Low, Associate Professor; Deputy Head of Department, 6516 6111
  • Kiven Strohm, Assistant Professor, 6516 6113
  • Kriti Vikram, Assistant Professor, 6516 6393
  • Liang Yongjia, Senior Lecturer, 65167825
  • Lou Antolihao, Lecturer, 6516 6884
  • Maribeth Erb, Associate Professor, 6516 3825
  • Mu Zheng, Assistant Professor, 6516 3723
  • Narayanan Ganapathy, Associate Professor, Associate Dean, 6516 3826
  • Noorman Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, 6516 5924
  • Saroja Devi D/O Neyson Dorairajoo, Senior Lecturer, 6516 5027
  • Sidharthan Maunaguru, Associate Professor, Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies) & Deputy Head, South Asian Studies Programme, 6516 7776
  • Syed Farid Alatas, Professor, 6516 3837
  • Tan Ern Ser, Associate Professor, 6516 6062
  • Vincent Chua, Associate Professor, 6516 6110
  • Vineeta Sinha, Professor; Head of Department, 6516 3834
  • Volker Schmidt, Professor, 6516 3176
  • Wang Senhu, Assistant Professor, 6516 5248

See also[]