Rethinking History: Singapore and Global History.


    In line with the 200th anniversary of the foundation of modern Singapore, this conference aims to engage with teachers in Singapore schools to rethink how we understand history. By seeking to contextualise Singapore and Southeast Asian history with global and transnational perspectives, it hopes to generate reappraisals and new understandings of history. This conference aims to assess some of the most significant turning points in modern history that have impacted and changed the lives and thinking of people.


    In particular, three key dates in Singapore’s past all connect with regional and global history. Raffles’ landing in Singapore in 1819 connects with the global history of imperialism and the regional history of colonialism. The fall of Singapore in 1942 connects with the turning point in global history brought about by World War II. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew has described how he was of ‘that generation of young men who went through the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation and emerged determined that no one — neither the Japanese nor the British — had the right to push and kick us around’. Singapore’s independence in 1965 occurred in the context of the Cold War in Asia. These three dates provide a starting point for us to understand the connections between Singapore and global history and to move beyond the narrative of the nation-state. 

    This conference is furthermore organised with the National Institute of Education’s primary mission of teacher education in mind. Hence, it will also feature topics in history education that are designed to help school history teachers engage with new pedagogical insights and strategies. Hopefully, our next generation will re-think history and come to a greater appreciation of the subject.

    We invite you to participate, engage and celebrate history as a community. 



  • Global history features across the Social Studies and History Curricula in Singapore.

    The conference will cover the content for the following syllabuses in Singapore:

    (1) In Primary School:

    In Primary Social Studies, the diverse cultural and historical backgrounds of the different racial and ethnic communities are highlighted. The concept of heritage is examined in an international context. These components of the syllabus are examined at the conference.

    (2) In Secondary School:

    (a) In Secondary 1 History, Singapore is covered in the context of global and regional networks of pre-colonial commerce as well as the emergence of European imperialism. The conference focuses on how global events have impacted Singapore.

    (b) In Secondary 2 History, the conference covers Singapore in the context of imperialism, World War II, decolonization, and the Cold War.

    (3) ‘O’ Level 

    The section on World History traces international events from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century. In the section on the history of Southeast Asia, there is coverage of the global forces that shaped Southeast Asia from colonialism, through to nationalism, to decolonisation. The conference touches on these themes.

    (4) ‘A’ Level 

    The section on Southeast Asia covers the major global events of imperialism through to decolonization and the Cold War. These themes are discussed in the conference. The section on international history is touched on in the conference.

    Global history is thus so well covered in the Singapore history and social studies curricula that it makes an excellent theme for a conference for teachers who are looking for materials to be used in the classroom. 

    4th Nov - 5th Nov 2019  
    Venue: National Museum of Singapore. 

    DAY 1 (4 November 2019), 9.00am – 4.00pm


    9.00am - 9.55am 
    Registration and Tea
    Venue: Outside Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    9.55 am - 10.10am 
    Opening Ceremony & Welcome Note
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Welcome Note
    Assoc Professor Ivy Maria Lim 
    National Institute of Education.

    Opening Address
    Guest of Honour, Professor Wang Gungwu 
    National University of Singapore.

    10.10am - 11.00am 
    Keynote Address 1
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

     ‘The Sea as an Agent: Relocating Singapore in Global History’ 
    Professor Barbara Watson Andaya
    University of Hawai’i

    11.00am - 11.30am
    Museum Address & Exhibition
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    'An Old New World: A Bigger Story in Singapore's History'
    Daniel Tham
    National Museum of Singapore.

    Key Education Initiatives of Museum
    Fabian Tay
    National Museum of Singapore.

    11.30am - 12.30pm 

    12.30pm – 2.00pm
    Concurrent Session 1

    Pre-1819 Singapore in the Context of longue durée Timeline 
    and Global History
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Chair: Dr. Teddy Y.H. Sim

    Panel Speakers
    Prof. Peter Borschberg,

    Mr. Kwa Chong Guan

    Prof. John Miksic,

    British Imperialism & Singapore
    Venue: Salon (Level 1)

    Chair: Assoc. Prof. Rahil Ismail

    Panel Speakers
    Prof. Brian Farrell

    Asst. Prof. Sher Banu Khan

    Dr. Donna Brunero

    ASEAN & The World
    Venue: Seminar Room (Level 2)

    Chair: Asst. Prof. Simon Creak

    Panel Speakers
    Prof. Ralf Emmers

    Assoc. Prof. Eric Thompson

    Dr. Ian Storey

    2.00pm - 2.30pm

    2.30pm - 4.00pm
    Concurrent Session 2

    Japanese Imperialism & Occupation
    Venue: Salon (Level 1)

    Chair: Assoc. Prof. Kevin Blackburn

    Panel Speakers
    Prof. Ryoko Nakano

    Asst. Prof. Sayaka Chatani

    Dr Clay Eaton

    Cold War in Asia
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Chair: Asst. Prof. Simon Creak

    Panel Speakers
    Prof. Karl Hack

    Assoc. Prof. Kumar Ramakrishna

    Assoc. Prof. Masuda Hajimu

    Close of Day 1

    DAY 2 (5 November 2019), 9.00am – 4.30pm


    8.30am - 9.00am
    Participants arrive

    9.00am - 10.00am 
    Keynote Address 2
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    “What’s your story?”: Using Historical Frames to Make Meaning of the Past, Present, and the Future’
    Associate Professor Robert Bain.

    10.00am - 10.30am

    10.30am - 12.00pm
    Concurrent Session 3 


    Teaching Historical Concepts
    Venue: Salon (Level 1)

    Discussant: Celine Oon (CPDD, MOE)

    Fahmie Ali Abdat
    Muhammad Azharuddin Bin Mohamed Amin
    Samuel Wee


    Teaching Singapore History through
    Historical Investigation
    Venue: Seminar Room (Level 2)

    Discussant: Tan Jun Jie (CPDD, MOE)

    Kokila Vani
    Andrew Lau


    Assessing Historical Understanding 
    through Innovative Assessment (AfL) Strategies
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Discussant: Valerie Keh (CPDD, MOE)

    Edward Tan
    Ganesh Issardas Udasi
    Sharon Seow

    12.00 pm - 1.00 pm

    1.00pm - 2.30pm
    Concurrent Session 4


    Teaching Historical Concepts
    Venue: Salon (Level 1)

    Discussant: Lloyd Luc Yeo (AST, MOE)

    Tey Ai Hoon
    Chew Ee


    Teaching Singapore History through 
    Historical Investigation
    Venue: Seminar Room (Level 2)

    Discussant: Joseph Tham (AST, MOE)

    Tan Yan Tong
    Ezal Sani


    Assessing Historical Understanding 
    through Innovative Assessment (AfL) Strategies [Repeat]
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Discussant: Valerie Keh (CPDD, MOE)

    Edward Tan
    Ganesh Issardas Udasi
    Anisha Johnson

    2.30pm - 3.00pm

    3.00pm - 3.30pm
    Outstanding History Teacher Award Presentation Ceremony
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Mr. S N Chelva Rajah
    History Association of Singapore.

    3.30pm - 4.30pm
    Closing Plenary
    The Future of Studying the Past: What Next for History Education?
    Venue: Gallery Theatre (Level B1)

    Chair : Dr. Suhaimi Afandi, National Institute of Education

    Assoc. Prof. Robert Bain
    Dr Angeline Jude-Yeo
    Mr Andrew Anthony

    End of Conference

  • Organising Committee:


    Assoc. Prof. Kevin Blackburn  
    Assoc. Prof. Ivy Maria Lim  
    Asst. Prof. Simon Creak 

    Members of the Committee:

    Assoc. Prof.Rahil Ismail  
    Dr. Sim Yong Huei  
    Dr.Suhaimi Bin Mohamed Afandi 
    Mr.Chelva Rajah S N  
    Assoc. Prof. Mark Charles Baildon


    Early bird, before 31st May 2019 – Fee $180.
    After 1st June and on-site rate is : $250.

    Deadline for payment of Registration Fee : 1st August 2019.

    Thank you for your interest in the  'rethinking History: Singapore and Global History' Conference.  The registration is now closed as we have reached the maximum capacity of the main conference venue. However, if you wish to participate, please send us an email to Conference Secretariat at history.conference@nie.edu.sg to be placed on the waiting list. 

    E-mail enquiries : (Conference Secretariat, e-mail: history.conference@nie.edu.sg), 

    or by snail mail to:

    Rethinking History: Singapore and Global History Conference
    (Attention: Grace Han)
    Humanities and Social Studies Education,
    National Institute of Education
    1 Nanyang Walk
    Singapore 637616
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    ACS Primary (1)
    Admiralty Secondary School (3)
    Anderson Secondary School (2)
    Anglican High School (2)
    Assumption English School (5)
    Broadrick Secondary School (2)
    Bukit Batok Secondary School (1)
    Bukit View Secondary School (1)
    Canberra Secondary School (2)
    Cedar Girls' Secondary School(2)
    CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) (1)
    CHIJ St. Joseph's Convent (4)
    Clementi Town Secondary School(3)
    Compassvale Secondary School (1)
    Crescent Girls' School (1)
    Damai Secondary School (2)
    Dunman High School (3)
    Eunoia Junior College (4)
    Fairfield Methodist Secondary School (4)
    Fuhua Secondary School (1)
    Gan Eng Seng School (2)
    Hai Sing Catholic School (3)
    Hillgrove Secondary School (2)
    Hua Yi Secondary School (1)
    Hwa Chong Institution (5)
    Juying Secondary School (2)
    Kranji Secondary School (1)
    Loyang View Secondary School (1)
    Maha Bodhi School (1)
    Maris Stella High School (3)
    Marsiling Secondary School (2)
    Meridian Secondary School (1)
    Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) (1)
    Nan Hua High School (4)
    Nanyang Girls' High School (5)
    National Junior College (5)
    National University of Singapore (1)
    New Town Secondary School (2)
    Ngee Ann Secondary School (2)
    Paris Ris Secondary School (1)
    Pei Hwa Secondary School (1)
    Ping Yi Secondary School (3)
    Presbyterian High School (4)
    Punggol Secondary School (8)
    Queensway Secondary School(1)
    Raffles Girls' School (Secondary)(3)
    Raffles Institution (11)
    River Valley High School (4)
    Riverside Secondary School (1)
    Rosyth School (1)
    School of Science and Technology, Singapore (2)
    St. Anthony's Canossian Secondary School (4)
    St. Hilda's Secondary School (5)
    St. Margaret's Secondary School (3)
    Tao Nan School (1)
    Temasek Junior College (6)
    West Spring Secondary School(1)
    Westwood Secondary School (4)
    Whitley Secondary School (3)
    Woodlands Secondary School (2)
    Xinmin Secondary School (2)
    Yishun Innova Junior College (1)
    Yishun Secondary School (1)
    Yuan Ching Secondary School (2)
    Yusof Ishak Secondary School (2)

    Temasek Junior College
    Temasek Junior College
    Anglican High School

    Please refer to the link below and scroll down to "Getting There" to view information on how to get to The National Museum of Singapore.


    DO NOTE that the Museum's Admission fees do not apply for our conference participants and are meant for the general public only. 

    We look forward to seeing you at the conference.