Past Week 7 LABs Week 7 LAB 2019

Meetings with the Sea: Eurasian Culture, Racialised Identities, and Forms of Urbanity


Duration: 24 September to 5 October, 2019

Leading faculty: Assistant Professor Ricardo Cardoso

This LAB explored stories, archives, and imaginaries of interconnection, exchange, and transaction in Singapore and Malacca.

With a focus on small Portuguese-Eurasian communities in both cities, the group delved into the particularities and oceanic qualities of Eurasian history and culture in the region. The LAB used writing techniques to examine and compare different modes of cosmopolitan imagination and the ways they reflect on the production of memory and heritage along the Strait of Malacca. Through these activities, students explored topics of difference, racialisation, and forms of urbanity that have developed out of transcontinental networks.

Like the Common Curriculum itself, this LAB was created to be interdisciplinary and to drive critical, creative and active thinking. The programme bridges the humanities and the social sciences and relates directly to two first-year Common Curriculum modules: Literature and Humanities (LH) and Comparative Social Inquiry (CSI). More specifically, the LAB explored myths and stories in Eurasian history and culture as both a way of understanding how writers represented and shaped the worlds in which they and their audience lived (LH). The LAB also asked students to examine the social forces that determine how we live, how we exist in cities and interact through networks and question why societies are the way they are (CSI).

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  • My Week 7 in Singapore and Melaka explored culture and race more intensively than I imagined was possible through in-depth explorations of the cities, topics, and my place within increasingly complicated borders of my own identity. The difficult questions that we asked each other, ourselves, and the community members we were fortunate enough to meet pushed our understanding of Eurasian culture further beyond the four walls of a classroom.

    Engie Wong
    Class of 2023

  • Week 7 was truly learning across boundaries: disciplinary, geographical and even cultural. Everyone, including our professor and CIPE staff, learned together regardless of academic experience. We experienced our lessons first-hand, speaking directly to the communities we were studying and even picking up a bit of their language! One year on, many of us remain good friends and occasionally even greet each other with 'Teng Bong!' (a greeting in Kristang) when we see each other.

    Ang Zhi Xian
    Class of 2023

  • Having travelled to Melaka many times in the past, my time spent in Melaka for my Week 7 LAB was nostalgic yet eye-opening at the same time. I had the opportunity to interact with members of the Portuguese Eurasian community in Melaka and see how their customs and traditions have evolved over the years. The trip encouraged me to pause and reconsider how I understand and interact with history, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity!

    Garrendir Kaur Shanna
    Class of 2023