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Discover HASS (Issue 3 - Jan 2013)


Feature Articles

When Interdisciplinarity Becomes Second Nature

It seems second nature to Professor David Reisman to always be working beyond the edges of disciplinary boundaries; in conception and methodology. And his work is never boring. 

Professor David Reisman from the Division of Economics, HSS, will be teaching an exciting new course for the Summer School Programme.  Entitled ‘The Great Ideas: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’, he is tracing the history of three important and interconnected concepts from Plato and Confucius to Galbraith and John Steinbeck.

In his lectures he will discuss individualism, justice, exchange, community, consensus, contract, the national interest, the right to vote.  He will explain that the linkages went in all directions, from the State to the market, from social class to economic activity, from economic activity back to the nature and function of the State.  Students will come to grips with influential books that they can keep on their bookshelves and refer to for the rest of their lives.  While many will already have read the Gospel According to Matthew, most will not have had the opportunity to contrast it closely with William Morris’s News from Nowhere, Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom or George Orwell’s 1984.

In his research, Professor Reisman has long been applying his problem-based rather than discipline-based approach to public policy issues like the ageing population, social security, medical travel and public housing in Singapore.

In October he received the Minerva Prize of the Medical Tourism Association for excellence in applied research.  He also had the honour of addressing a closed-door session of 26 Cabinet Ministers from Africa and the Caribbean.

And did we just say he was (and is) an economist?

His new book, The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen, was published in 2012.  The history of ideas is evidently a powerful tool for analysing the present even as studying Great Ideas is an immensely civilised and civilising activity in itself.


Research Highlights

Discover HASS starting from this issue will feature a few research projects of our faculty that will be included in NTU Research Report.  This year, the Research Support Office (RSO) has invited HASS to contribute to a new chapter on “Science, the big science questions that NTU researchers have answered and their scientific contribution/influence to research community”.

Assistant Professor Jesvin Yeo’s current project, “Designing Cultures”, examines the differing notions and levels of aesthetics that are manifested in traditional historical Asian arts and craft.  She is interested in how the value of what is deemed culturally acceptable in aesthetics changes in response to its ongoing dialogue with the current and contemporary. 

The gravitas of Designing Cultures can be felt by the output it spawned or influenced: three books, four artists’ books, a building, sixteen merchandises, ten experimental artworks, three paper presentations and two journal articles.

Some of Jesvin's work

These have been featured in local and overseas media, and exhibited in Australia, Hong Kong, London, South Africa and Denmark.

Some of these have won notable design awards (HOW International Design Awards 2012, Design for Asian Awards 2011 and Design for Asian Awards 2012).