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Dr Nilanjan Raghunath has been awarded SGD 45,500 research grant and a research fellowship by the Social Mobility Foundation

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath has been awarded SGD 45,500 research grant and a research fellowship by the Social Mobility Foundation (LKYLSPP, NUS). Her project title is Bridging the Gap: GenZ, Social Mixing and Social Equity in Singapore.

The  SMF foundation chaired by ESM Goh and Professor Danny Quah, funds policy relevant research on fostering inclusive social and economic growth in Singapore.

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath awarded the Fulbright Research Scholar Award and Grant for 2023

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath has received the Fulbright research scholar award and grant for 2023. She will be conducting research as a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s department of sociology and presenting her research there and at the Trust Collaboratory, INCITE for social dynamics.  Her research will focus on understanding interdisciplinary scientific networks of female scientists and academics between Singapore and the United States.

The Fulbright Commission of the United States of America provides highly selective flagship programs to promote scientific and cultural exchanges around the world.


Dr. Zhenxing Zhao awarded Prestigious Fulbright Awards for the Scholar-in-Residence Program 2023-2024

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Through the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program (Fulbright S-I-R Program), U.S. colleges and universities collaborate with scholars from other countries to assist in internationalizing U.S. campuses, curriculum, and communities. Fulbright S-I-Rs teach primarily on the undergraduate level in their areas of expertise and provide a cross-cultural or international perspective to promote curriculum and program development.

Dr Zhao will be taking up residency at Utah Valley University, the biggest public university in Utah, from August 2023 to May 2024. While there, Dr Zhao will teach courses on Chinese culture, conduct comparative research on traditional Chinese culture and Western culture, give lectures to the university community on the research, and help with Chinese table and Chinese cultural activities on and off campus. Before departing for Utah, Dr Zhao is now organizing a pedagogical webinar that will feature Fulbright Scholars from 30 countries around world sharing their teaching experiences and how the digital tools are being used to reshape the teaching and learning in 21st century higher education.

Dr. Zhao joined SUTD as a lecturer in 2016. At SUTD, he teaches courses in Humanities Core Curriculum, Chinese Fiction, Lyrical Poetry, digital humanities, and Chinese Landscape Design.

Dr. Rhema Hokama publishes new book Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge by Oxford University Press

How do big ideas transform the way that we live our everyday lives? And can the poetic production of a period tell us about how ordinary people understood their most important relationships? These questions lie at the heart of Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2023), a new book written by Dr. Rhema Hokama, assistant professor of English literature in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) cluster at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Dr. Hokama’s book explores the literature that was written in the years after the English Reformation, a watershed moment of religious and political revolution in European history. Dr. Hokama maintains that the Reformation changed how English people understood what it meant to have direct access to God, the most important figure in the life of an early modern English Protestant. Dr. Hokama argues that new ideas about the role of the body that emerged from this moment of reform gave English people novel ways of thinking about how they could bodily and sensorily interpret their relationship with God. These theological and historical innovations ushered in by reform also had a profound impact on the way in which English people could now understand the value of many ordinary actions—such as praying, eating, and having sex. Dr. Hokama demonstrates that the Reformation transformed how English people thought about what it meant to know and understand the actions and thoughts of their earthly lovers—and ultimately, themselves.

In exploring the role of the body in the literary production of post-Reformation England, Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge presents original interpretations of the poetry of five Renaissance writers: William Shakespeare, Robert Herrick, John Donne, Fulke Greville, and John Milton. In her discussion of official worship in the Church of England as well as of the popular devotional practices of the period, Dr. Hokama contextualizes the literary culture of the English Reformation alongside the writings of the period’s most important religious innovators, including John Calvin, William Perkins, Richard Hooker, and Joseph Hall. In doing so, Dr. Hokama suggests that for early modern English people, bodily experience offered a means of corroborating and verifying devotional truth, making the invisible visible and knowable.

For more information about Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge, visit the Oxford University Press listing. Dr. Hokama’s book can be purchased for 30 percent of the list price directly from OUP’s website with the code AAFLYG6.

About the book’s author:

Dr. Rhema Hokama received her PhD in English language and literature from Harvard University and teaches Shakespeare, lyric poetry, and world literature in the HASS cluster at SUTD.

Dr. Alastair Gornall to lead a $617,000 Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 Study on the History of Ecological Thought in Southeast Asia

An ancient gate to Preah Khan temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo courtesy of Alastair Gornall.


Dr. Alastair Gornall will lead a research team in a $617,000 Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 study titled “Buddhist Ecological Thought in Early Modern Southeast Asia.” While it is a common perception that Buddhism is a “green” religion philosophically compatible with and conducive to modern environmentalist aims, there has been relatively little research on historical Buddhist perspectives on the natural world. This project is the first history of an extensive archive of Buddhist monastic writings about the world composed in Thailand and Burma between 1100–1750 CE. Dr. Gornall and his team will transcribe and compile editions of these works and turn them into a machine-readable corpus. They will then explore their intellectual history, examining their relationship with each other, with older Buddhist literature, and with contemporary environmentalist thought. The project is the first historical study of this material in the English language. It will preserve and make accessible to a broader audience a unique record of precolonial Southeast Asian ecological thought. Dr. Gornall hopes his research will enrich our understanding of the region’s historical attitude towards the natural world and contribute to debates about Buddhism and our climate crisis.

Lyle Fearnley to lead $178,332 MOE Academic Reasearch Fund Tier 2 Study



So-called “wet markets” where live animals are sold are considered dangerous sources of emerging diseases such as Covid-19, yet they remain popular with some consumers as sources of fresh meat. Over the next three years, Assistant Professor Lyle Fearnley will lead a $178,332 MOE AcRF Tier 2 Study titled “Virulent animals or unsafe meat: The qualification of animal food safety in live animal ‘wet’ markets and supermarkets in China.” The study aims to compare how consumers evaluate food quality and safety at wet markets and supermarkets in China, to examine what drives consumer preference for live poultry and explore how markets could be redesigned to achieve food safety and food quality.

ScreenLife Capture: A privacy-respecting, open-source, and user-friendly framework for collecting screenome data (on the top paper panel of the Mobile Communication Interest Group)

As our interactions with each other become increasingly digitally mediated, there is growing interest in the study of people’s digital experiences. To better understand digital experiences, some researchers have proposed the use of screenomes. This involves the collection of sequential high-frequency screenshots to provide detailed objective records of individuals’ interaction with screen devices over time. Despite its usefulness, there remains no readily available tool which researchers can use to run their own screenome studies. To fill this gap, we introduce ScreenLife Capture, a user-friendly and open-source software to collect screenomes from Android smartphones. Using this tool, researchers can set up smartphone screenome studies even with limited programming knowledge and resources. We piloted the tool in an exploratory mixed-method study of 20 college students, collecting over 740,000 screenshots over a two-week period. We found smartphone use to be highly heterogeneous, characterized by threads of experiences. Using in-depth interviews, we also explored the impact that constant background surveillance of smartphone use had on participants. Participants generally had slight psychological discomfort which fades after a few days, would suspend screen recording for activity perceived to be extremely private, and recounted slight changes in behavior. Implications for future research is discussed in the paper.

The paper will be presented on 29th May 2022 in Paris, France.

Animal Crossing and Covid-19: A qualitative study of how a video game offered psychological sanctuary during the pandemic (top paper at the Game Studies Division)

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way many people live their lives. The increasing amount of time spent indoors and isolated during periods of lockdown has been accompanied by an increase in the time people spend playing video games. One such game which soared in popularity during the early stages of the pandemic was Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Through semi-structured interviews with players, and using a theory-informed qualitative analysis, this paper provides an understanding of players’ motivations and experiences playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons during the pandemic. Findings suggest that playing the game helped satisfy various psychological needs—autonomy, relatedness, and competence—as described by Self-Determination Theory. Conversely, players stopped playing the game when they found that their psychological needs were thwarted or better met through other activities. Our findings offer support that video games can offer psychological relief in stressful contexts by providing opportunities for people to satisfy key psychological needs. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in the paper.

The papers will be presented on 27th May 2022 in Paris, France.

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath will be Visiting Academic at the department of sociology at Cambridge University

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath will be Visiting Academic at the department of sociology at Cambridge University

Dr Nilanjan Raghunath will be a Visiting Academic at the department of sociology at Cambridge University from June to July 2022. She will conduct research on the future of work and in particular the role of women in shaping sociological debates on automation.

HASS congratulates Dr Jin Murakami on the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report as Lead Author of Chapter 8

HASS congratulates Dr Jin Murakami on the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report as Lead Author of Chapter 8

On 4 April 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest Climate Report (AR6 WGIII) for our evidence-based action. Dr. Jin Murakami, as Lead Author, contributed to Chapter 8: “Urban Systems and Other Settlements” by assessing the potential and challenges of cities worldwide in reducing GHG emissions through deep decarbonization and systemic transformation by 2050. A few of the key messages to the urban sector are:

  • “Integrated spatial planning and resource-efficient urban growth could reduce GHG emissions between 23-26% by 2050”
  • “Urban green and blue infrastructure can mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, avoided emissions, and reduced energy use while offering multiple co-benefits”
  • “Achieving transformational changes in cities will require mobilizing global finance resources for urban infrastructure projects and spatial planning programs beyond sectoral approaches”

Please read the full report and chapter: