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Title: Portrayals of national identity in Singapore's school textbook narratives of the Japanese occupation
Author: Khamsi, Khatera
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 0665
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The portrayal of periods of war and occupation in school texts have played a central role in the process of constructing national identity around the world. This study examines how the history of the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945) has been used in the construction and maintenance of a Singaporean national identity, by analyzing the portrayals of the different ethnic groups in Singapore (the Self) and of Japan (the main Other) in school textbooks and museum exhibits dealing with that period. The thesis examines all ten government-authored primary- and lower-secondary-level history and social studies textbooks from 1985 to 2015, and exhibitions in national museums from 2006 to 2017 for the purpose of triangulation. It examines the way images of the Self and the Other have changed and contributed to the state-sponsored constructions of a national identity in Singapore. For this purpose, this study identifies and applies a new set of analytical categories for analyzing the Self, the internal Other, and the external Other. The analysis is used to assess the explanatory power of the prevailing theories distinguishing between civic and ethnic forms of nationalism. The findings show that, despite the official adoption and rhetoric of multiracialism, an ethnocultural conception of the nation has prevailed until today, and that overall there has been a gradual shift towards an increasingly multicultural conception of the nation. The findings also show that the ‘Japan’ presented in the textbook narrative of the Japanese Occupation, both as archetypal enemy and military model, has been the ‘Japan’ that Singapore needed for its own nation building and identity formation. While the findings show neither a clear convergence with nor rejection of one theory or another regarding the civic-ethnic typology, Brown’s (2000) addition of the multicultural type to the civic-ethnic typology of conceptions provides a more nuanced and useful tool for the analysis of the trend found in the Singapore textbooks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available