Singapore gained independence in 1965, a city-state in a world of nation-states. Yet its long and complex history reaches much farther back. Blending modernity and tradition, ideologies and ethnicities, a peculiar set of factors make Singapore what it is today. In this thematic study of the island nation, Michael D. Barr proposes a new approach to understand this development. From the pre-colonial period through to the modern day, he traces the idea, the politics and the geography of Singapore over five centuries of rich history. In doing so he rejects the official narrative of the so-called 'Singapore Story'. Drawing on in-depth archival work and oral histories, Singapore: A Modern History is a work both for students of the country's history and politics, but also for any reader seeking to engage with this enigmatic and vastly successful nation.
Michael D. Barr (Flinders University Australia)
Carl A. Trocki
I B TAURIS
Country of Publication:
27 June 2019
Professional and scholarly
List of Maps List of Figures Foreword by Carl A. Trocki Prologue Acknowledgements List of Abbreviations Glossary of Asian-Language Terms Timeline 1. Let's Talk About 1819: Reorienting the National Narrative 2. The Idea of Singapore 3. Singapore Central: The Role of Location in Singapore's History 4. Governance in Premodern Singapore 5. Governance in Modern Singapore, 1867-1965 6. Governance in Independent Singapore 7. The Economy: Singapore, Still at the Centre 8. Making Modern Singaporeans: People, Society and Place Afterword Notes Bibliography Index
Michael D. Barr is Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Flinders University, Australia. He has recently been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is Editor-in-Chief of Asian Studies Review and the author of Cultural Politics and Asian Values, Paths Not Taken: Political Pluralism in Post-War Singapore (edited with C. Trocki), Constructing Singapore (with Z. Skrbis), Lee Kuan Yew, and The Ruling Elite of Singapore: Networks of Power and Influence (I.B.Tauris).
Reviews for Singapore: A Modern History
`Michael Barr does the study of Singapore a great service with this path-breaking book. He debunks the ascendant account of Singapore's modern history to explain so much more about how and why this city-state developed as it did. Barr breaks decisively from the prevailing orthodoxy serving elite political interests to highlight struggles, forces and dynamics fundamental in shaping modern Singapore.' -- Garry Rodan, Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University `Michael Barr's Modern History of Singapore offers a refreshingly candid counter-narrative to The Singapore Story . Broad, bold and brazen, Barr's self-consciously revisionist history of Singapore breaks away from the dominant meta-narrative of the Singapore state and its elites. It offers readers a succinct, thematic (and dramatic) history of Singapore that emphasises the continuities that transcend the Founding moment of 1819 and situate Singapore's growth and development within a larger regional and global framework. This is not a history for data-miners or squirrels of historical minutiae but for those who seek to better understand the land, idea and country that is Singapore.' -- Kevin YL Tan, Executive Editor, Asian Journal of Comparative Law and Professor (Adjunct), Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore