Foreign Bodies, Local Language
What does a Singaporean look like? What do they sound like? Drawing on media texts, online comments, and interview data, this seminar explores how young, mixed-race Singaporeans both use and talk about Singlish and Mandarin. While these individuals’ appearance leads many observers to assume they are “not Singaporean,” their ability to speak language varieties considered “uniquely Singaporean” is a crucial—but contestable—part of their ability to claim belonging to the nation.
Joshua Babcock‘s research examines the public politics of language, race, and belonging in Singapore. His research has been supported by the Fulbright U.S. Student Researcher Program, the Reed Foundation’s Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund, the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (SUTD), and Department of English Language and Literature (NUS).
Woo Yen Yen specialises in multicultural pedagogy. She is currently CEO of Yumcha Studios, a content and edtech company. She was formerly a Research Fellow and Lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Associate Professor at Long Island University in New York. Her filmmaking credits include Singapore Dreaming. More.