7. Singapore

As you’ve no doubt discovered by now, we both love visualizations of all sorts.
Visualizations are wonderful devices to convey information about the geographies of knowledge production and circulation in a globalizing era.

Now take a look at these two maps and focus on Singapore in Southeast Asia. What do you notice when you compare and contrast the two maps, apart from differences in the scales of the maps? Some of you have, no doubt, travelled to Singapore, transferred in the award winning (for good reason!) Changi Airport, or worked in Singapore. Some of you may even be living in Singapore now, or are Singaporeans living and studying or working overseas.

In the first map, who can’t help but be blown away by how tiny Singapore is! It’s only 276 square miles (716 square kilometers) in size -- the same geographic size of the Île de Montréal in Canada. This said, the population (approx. 5.4 million in 2013) is pretty big for its size. One of us (Kris) used to live in Singapore and was able to traverse the country in an old and shaky Lada in 45 minutes (or just over 30 minutes when being transported in the powerful BMW a colleagues used to drive, way too fast needless to say!).

Yet, if you think about economic activity, the production of knowledge and high valued-added goods and services, the trans-shipment of goods, inward and outward flows of investment, and soft power, Singapore packs a seriously oversized punch. This is certainly true when you look at the international branch campus map. Funnily enough, the visual symbols in both maps mask the actual presence of Singapore, it’s that small.
So what’s going on? And what can we learn about the globalization of higher education and research for the knowledge economy through a look at this unique city-state? Let’s give it a go, with the caveat even one detailed case study leaves out more than it includes.

Pages to explore on this topic:

Discussion Topics

Topic A: CREATE – Is it a Global Higher Education Solution for the 21st Century?

Watch this promotional video about Singapore’s CREATE, and reflect back upon the Chambre 124, Cité International Universitaire de Paris (dir. Fabio Brasil, 2006) which we took you on a walk through in topic 1.
Now CREATE is clearly different in some key ways to the Cité U campus, and yet it exudes some of the same aspirations to create a multinational & inter-cultural space within the city, and to serve broader developmental agendas.
Is CREATE a solution to the question posted in Topic 2: Is this higher education model more fit for a global urban era? Why? How? For Whom?

Some reactions:

Option B: Academic Freedom in a Globalizing Era – Changes and Challenges

Singapore is just one of the fast changing places where debates about the futures of academic freedom are unfolding. All of the higher education ‘hubs’ identified in the international branch campus map (e.g., Abu-Dhabi, Qatar) we introduced to you in Topic 2 on universities and city regions, as well as other globalizing places (e.g., Astana, Kazakhstan), are associated with debates about what academic freedom is, how it might or should be protected, its value to the production of knowledge, what to do about practices like ‘self-censorship,’ etc., etc.
What are your thoughts about the future of academic freedom in a globalizing era? Please discuss, and if you can, please draw in actual examples from the places you know best.

Some reactions:

Option C: Open Debate/General Discussion

Generate a discussion and debate about any aspect of this week’s content. Your task is to develop an insightful argument and/or develop an informed reaction to someone else’s posting.

Some reactions:


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