Exam’s over; time to burn those notes!
A liberating experience surely, unless you have gone fully digital. Somehow sending bytes into recycle bins does not provide the same catharsis. But why do we want this release? Is this a rebuke of our education system? Is that a commentary on the modern appropriation of knowledge for the instrumental rationality of our productivity drives?
If so, I implore you to redirect your vengeance. Knowledge is worth keeping and passing on. And in Sociology (and Anthropology), the knowledge you gain is especially worth keeping and passing on. Their insights speak to individuals finding places within societies. Isn’t that what we do everyday, all our lives?
Keeping NUS Sociology in Our Lives
At one stage, I took it on myself to translate insights from academia for public reading, through personal adaptations. For jargon is alienation. Yet the effort was short-lived. I struggled during vacations (lack of enthusiasm) and during semesters (lack of time and ability to bifurcate my consciousness). I am now more attuned to my limits of attention.
The most efficient way, it appears, is to compile these lists of selected readings assigned by NUS Sociology professors. Shall you or I want to, we can come here first, catch up with old acquaintances, then dig further into their words if need be. Accessing the full readings might be a problem, and will be for me too after I graduate. I also can’t share those I have since they are copyrighted. but there’s much to find if we just know what to find.
For the graduates-to-be (or not “to-be”) among you, you might be bemused at the idea of revisiting what you have already read (or avoided reading). Try a different lens. Treat ideas not as merely intellectual exercises, to be banished once I leave school for the “real world”. There is no “fake world” outside work. All is reality. Unpaid work is not a lesser form of work.
Treat ideas instead as tools to evolve your multiple selves, along the lines from conformity to deviance. You have nothing to lose but your chains.
NUS Sociology Module Reading Lists
SC1101E Making Sense of Society (AY14/15 Sem 1)
SC2101 Methods of Social Research (AY14/15 Sem 1)
SC2210 Sociology of Popular Culture (AY15/16 Sem 1)
SC2211 Medical Sociology (AY14/15 Sem 2)
SC2213 Childhood and Youth (AY16/17 Sem 1)
SC2216 Emotions and Social Life (AY15/16 Sem 2)
SC2217 Sociology of Tourism (AY14/15 Sem 2)
SC2220 Gender Studies (AY14/15 Sem 2)
SC3101 Social Thought and Social Theory (AY16/17 Sem 1)
SC3204 Sociology of Education (AY15/16 Sem 1)
SC3207 Cultures of Kinship (AY15/16 Sem 1)
SC3209 Data Analysis in Social Research (AY16/17 Sem 1)
SC3213 Ethnographic Analysis of Visual Media (AY15/16 Sem 2)
SC3214 Sociology of Life Course and Ageing (AY14/15 Sem 2)
SC4101 Practising Sociology and Anthropology (AY17/18 Sem 1)
SC4206 Urban Anthropology (AY17/18 Sem 1)
SC4881 Selected Topics in Health and Society (AY17/18 Sem 1)
SC5209R Sociology of Everyday Life (AY17/18 Sem 1)
Why are you here?
Most of you reading this will be here for practical reasons, either to decide which modules to take or to source for revision materials. For the former, modules and lecturers change over time. Some of these are outmoded already. But if you have taken Sociology modules, and if structures of power bother you, why not reclaim your agency by thinking beyond what society considers as ‘practical’? You can start by using these openings to knowledge to widen and question what you already know.
I remain cautious about the latter, for fear of encouraging shortcuts from the quest for knowledge. Till I’m confident in the merits and methods of sharing notes, I opt for inaction. So save your eloquent emails. Work through the readings yourself, and seek the counsel of your professors, tutors, and peers. You will learn more about learning that way. Here’s how I’m trying to help:
To prospective NUS Sociology students, for sampling
To new NUS Sociology students, for assessing modules
To current/ex-NUS Sociology students, for everyday life
To non-NUS Sociology students, for self-directed learning
To this NUS Sociology student (me), for keeping on
What goes into these lists?
Readings form only one part of a successful Sociology module, but one which is transferable. It is not meaningful to give full reading lists (as assigned by lecturers). But it is also myopic to pick only my favourites. The middle ground, then, with two lists: Personal Faves + Other Highlights. I won’t give full citations, because they intimidate casual readers. Just enough information to find the sources for yourself will do.
I also intend to precede these reading lists with anecdotes from my experience in the particular modules, whether they pertain to teachers, peers, or my own thoughts. I will dig into my memories, to further humanize the process of learning. It’s a strategy to make the process meaningful for myself. It may even reveal more about the module or lecturing style for the module shoppers among you.
May we all learn the sociological imagination, and apply it as a skill to transform society. Because Sociology is practical only when we dare to use it. Use it compassionately. Pass it on, even if it’s just within those small segments where you reside.
Burn neither knowledge nor people into ash residue.
I will update links here as the lists go up! If you believe in the power of the sociological imagination for your everyday life, then join me as a thinking empath here, or on Facebook!