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    GHOST: Studies in the postmodern gothic film
    The Gothic and the Postmodern both encourage an attitude of scepticism and pluralism that produce indeterminacy and irresolution. This dissertation studies filmic texts at the turn of the last millennium to suggest a zeitgeist of Gothic horror and paranoia brought about by postmodern relativity. Anchoring its argument on the themes of the monster, the spectacle and the simulacra, it explores how the hesitation of the Gothic evokes an epistemological and ontological vertigo that interrogates our notions of reality, identity and narrative. At the core of the Gothic is an examination of our humanness – our being, becoming and the inevitability of non-being. The arbitrary constructedness of normalcy hides the protean multiplicity of ideology and perspective. The anxiety is that the façade of carnivalised surfaces hides the chaos and entropy of existential emptiness. By the distortion and defamiliarisation of perception, the hyperreality of film presents alternate worlds and selves while self-reflexively displaying its artifice. The proliferation of signs and the slippage of meaning indicate that the quest for any monologic closure is futile.

    The thesis of the dissertation is that, like a ghost, the proliferation of signification in the Gothic alludes to the existence of some objective meaning but this promise reveals itself to be a mirage as the spectrality of textuality defers any referential certainty or interpretative closure. In its production of the simulacra of reality and identity, film presents a heterotopia of virtual replication. Beyond the aesthetics and semantics of the Gothic text is the relativity of perspective and representation. The unreliability of memory influences the authenticity of history and narrative. The surface of performance and simulation further encourages a suspicion of knowledge and a scepticism of the narrator and the narrative. Reading is rendered paranoid and schizophrenic, characterized by an over determination of semiotics and a playful self-referentiality.

    Bakhtin’s theory of the carnivalesque explains the Gothic preoccupation with alienation, excess and the subversion of the constructedness of ideology. Transgression is mandatory in overcoming predictability and mediocrity and to penetrate the inexplicable nature of the random logic of life. The absent presence of the ghost is thus symbolic of the nullity of postmodern meaninglessness.
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    Open Access
    Translating productive failure in the Singapore A-level statistics curriculum
    (National Institute of Education (Singapore), 2018) ;
    Chua, Lai Choon
    ;
    Manu Kapur
    ;
    Lam, Rachel Jane
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    ;
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    Open Access
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    The challenge of cultivating national and cosmopolitan identities through literature: Insights from Singapore schools
    Since the late 20th century, scholars have called for a need to broaden the aims of teaching English Literature away from its Eurocentric focus. Much effort has also been invested in making the subject more relevant through diversifying the texts studied and connecting texts to current social and global issues. It is pertinent now to ask what the significant role of Literature is in a globally interconnected age. In particular, what do teachers believe are key philosophical objectives of teaching literature, and how does this influence the texts they select, the instructional strategies they employ, and the values they seek to cultivate in the classroom? In this article, we report on the first National Survey of Literature Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices in Singapore schools. First, we review four key pedagogical movements that have underpinned the teaching of literature in schools around the world: New Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism, Poststructuralist Criticism, and Ethical Criticism. These respectively represent four key constructs (text, reader, culture, and other) used in the design and analysis of our survey instrument. Next, we report on the survey findings, focusing on Singapore as a barometer of current trends given its identity as an Anglophone country negotiating conflicting global and postcolonial identities with an education system that inhabits colonial traditions. We highlight key tensions arising from the impetus to develop national and cosmopolitan identities through Literature, and reflect on the implications for future directions in teaching.
    Scopus© Citations 1  71  43