Suggestions for reading review preparation
(save your document as your name reading review week 2 before uploading)
Provide a TITLE and the Full bibliographical reference of article reviewed
Then write a XXXXXXXXXXword review in which you do the following (in the order that suits you best)
1. Isolate the main argument:
Start with a description (100 words or so) of the main argument made by the author in this article. Hint: Using the sentence ‘This article is about ….’ allows you to be vague. Instead force yourself to be precise:
This article argues that…. because…
Or Whereas some scholars say X, this article suggest that Y, because….
Or The main point of this article is to demonstrate that…..
2. Connect to the theme of our unit (Asia’s underside: violence, crime and protest)
When you read something for a research, you need to become accustomed to reflecting on how what you have read contributes to your understanding of the topic. So the question to answer here is: what have I learned from this article/chapter that allows me to think (differently?) about violence, about crime, about protest, about Asian studies?
This article expands our knowledge of Crime violence and protest in Asia by pointing out X’s connection to Y. In particular, …..
Many people might think X. But as this article shows, in fact, Y….
Scholarship on country X tends to focus on aspects A, B, and C, but as this article shows, the topic Y is important to understand….
A prevalent image of X is that it functions in (a particular way). This article undermines that image, by showing that….
Whereas (reading in a previous week) showed that …., in contrast this article demonstrated that….As a result, our understanding of the definition of crime has grown to show that…..
3. Evidence underpinning argument
Somewhere in your review, in a few words ((~ XXXXXXXXXXwords) you’ll want to show your reader what you think of the evidence provided for the article’s argument.
To support their point, the authors use….to show that….
Or The evidence supporting this argument is X, as well as Y.
Or The evidence clearly supports point X, but is less convincing on point Y.
Or whereas one could point to deficiencies in X, nevertheless there is clear support for point Y
(n.b. evaluation does not mean you have to be negative. Critical means: being able to say which parts of something is good and which are not so good)
4. Authorship and disciplinary approach:
Somewhere, consider the background of author and their main discipline. For example, are they a psychologist? A sociologist? A political scientist? If someone is an anthropologist we would not be surprised to see a long description of their experience in the field. If someone is a historian, we would not be surprised to see them exploring the past. If someone is in politics, then …. Etc etc. Note: keep it professional – what discipline do they work in, what other research have they published, are they specialists in this particular field etc. (we don’t care about personal details, gender, marital or employment status or anything like that.)
A specialist in gender studies who has published mainly on Asia, X understandably focusses on ….
The author is a linguist with extensive experience in the documentation of language x. Although they are not a literary scholar, it is precisely the attention to the structure of the language that allows them to argue that…
As a political scientist, the author pays particular attention to…..
The Past in the Present:
Memories of the 1964 'Racial
Riots' in Singapore
Adeline Low Hwee Cheng
Yishun Town Secondary School
The 1964 racial riots are a prominent event in Singapore's history. They
are often cited officially but rarely discussed by the Singapore community.
This paper examines the riots from the perspective of a sociology of collec-
tive memories. A comparison of official and popular memories reveals a
number of contrasts in the interpretations placed on these events by different
groups. An official interpretation of the memory of the riots is disseminated
to the younger generation through the media and education, and used to
justify and legitimize the ideology of multiracialism and its social policies.
Older people's memories give rise to more varied interpretations. Although
the riots occu
ed more than thirty years ago, they have not been forgot-
ten. The past still lives in the present because it serves a purpose and has
implications for the next generation.
Introduction: Processes of Social Memory
and the Riots of 1964
The 1964 racial riots are seen as the worst in Singapore's history because
of the relatively large number of casualties involved: 22 people killed and
454 injured, according to official statistics. This paper aims to examine the
iots and their impact today from the perspective of collective memories.
The riots constitute an event that has been constructed and reconstructed
over time. This reconstruction can be observed through a comparison of
official memory to popular collective memories obtained through personal
atives. These memories will be examined in terms of ethnicity and
generations. Memories of each ethnic group arc compared to determine
differences in their discourse about the riots and the impact on their atti-
tudes, thoughts and feelings on multiracialism and inter-ethnic relations in
Singapore today. Personal memories become social when they are shared,
or transmitted across generations. Individuals in the older generation have
directly experienced the riots, while the younger generation learnt of them
indirectly through education or from the older generation. This study
aims to determine to what extent memories of the riots are passed on from
generation to generation and whether the attitudes and opinions of the
older generation have any impact on the young. The implications of these
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memories on present-day politics are also examined. Although the riots
ed more than thirty years ago, they have not been forgotten. The
past still lives in the present because it serves a purpose.
Halbwachs (1992 , 1980) postulates that memories are collec-
tive because there are social frameworks for memory (1992:38). Individual
memories exist only because they are linked to the memories of others
within a social group that one belongs to. The group keeps the memory
alive for the individual and in turn, individual memories support the
collective memory of the group, because group memory is realized and
manifested in individual memory. Therefore, there is a dialectic between
individual and collective memory. Wachtel (1990:6) adds that our personal
memories are actually a network of memories co
esponding to various
social groups, for example the family, ethnic group and social class. As we
are members of numerous social groups, each of which has distinctive
memories of its past, we will have as many collective memories as we are
members of these groups and institutions. It is because we are members
of many overlapping groups that memories may differ and become contested.
Halbwachs distinguishes between historical memory and autobiograph-
ical memory. Historical memory consists of events remembered indirectly
through education or from reading written records. This is further rein-
forced through commemoration, "traditions" (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983)
and rituals. It is when the present generation participate in those com-
memorative events that they recreate the past in their minds. These com-
memorative events hold society together in a common historical past and
identity. Autobiographical memory on the other hand is the individual's
personally acquired memory of the experience. But the interests we have
in the present affect memory, thus there is an active process of selection
in the light of the present. Therefore memory is not fixed at a particular
moment in time nor is it constant, rather it is retrospective and fluid.
Halbwachs (1980:67) also discusses the "living bond between generations"
where the generation before "leave their stamp" on the next generation,
effecting a "historical continuity" (Connerton, 1989:37).
The process of transmission between generations has been best elab-
orated by Mannheim XXXXXXXXXXIn his formulation, contemporaries become
socially significant only when they are involved and participate in the
same historical and social circumstances. The common social location of
these individuals forms the unity of a generation, based firstly on the bio-
logical rhythm in human existence and on social interaction between human
eings, without which there would not be a social structure or historical
continuity, but only the process of birth, ageing and death. These com-
mon experiences integrate the group but also limit their "range of poten-
tial experience", pointing them to a certain definite range of "possible
modes of thought, experience, feeling and action" (Mannheim, 1952:368).
They are participants in a "common destiny" and in the "characteristic
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social and intellectual cu
ents of their society and period" (Mannheim,
1952:378). Social location is also based on the social interaction of mem-
ers within the same generation, to effect historical continuity through
intergenerational transmission. This is a vital and potentially radical fac-
tor, since the new generation may interpret the assimilated information in
terms of their own social location and potentially develop new ideas, thoughts
In analysing the relations between family and institutional sources of
information about the past, it is useful to consider Foucault's concept of
the "discursive formation". To identify a discursive formation, one has to
analyse the dispersion of statements. It is discourse that allows the for-
mation of a discursive object. Foucault considers three elements which
will define the object: how the object was formed, the "authorities of de-
limitation" and the "grids of specification" refe
ing to the ways in which
the object can be "divided, contrasted, related, regrouped and classified"
(Foucault, 1972:42). Foucault also considers the type of statements made
in the formation of "enunciative modalities", which refers to the position
of the subject, as "defined by the situation that it is possible for him to
occupy in relation to the various domains or groups of objects" (ibid.:52).
Because there is no total subjectivity, one needs to be embedded in a dis-
cursive field where subject positions can be taken up, in order to make a
statement. This formulation parallels Halbwachs' conceptualization of col-
lective memory, where there is no