Time and Life

This module was co-conceptualized and designed with Celine Coderey at Tembusu College, as a senior seminar. Others who collaborated with us on the syllabus development and/or teaching of this module are Daena Funahashi, Eric Kerr, Mavis McAllister and Sorelle Henricus.

There are few things that impact our lives as much as our sense of time. Singapore is a 'fast-paced' city where deadlines, time-saving apps and fertility clocks shape people's actions and experiences, and where many feel 'time poor' while being cash rich.

In this module, we examine the ways in which we take time for granted through analysing how our lives are temporally grounded. We do so particularly through tracing connections between individual experience, social life and technologies such as clocks and watches, electric lighting and the internet. Is time-stress inevitable in this day and age? What does it mean to use one's time well?



Topics include:

  • the diary: writing (in) time
  • technologies for keeping track: the clock, the calendar, the time zone
  • time discipline in work and life: the schedule, the stopwatch, scientific measurement
  • ‘stretching time’: 24/7, sleep(lessness)
  • phases of life, rites of passage
  • time in the hospital, time in prison
  • idleness, the leisure society, work-life balance
  • reclaiming the present moment: mindfulness


Assignments  include:

  • keeping a diary to examine aspects of your own relationship with time, prompted by the themes and readings in the module. 
  • student-led class segment (group work) on facets of time and life that interest them. This allows everyone in the room to co-create the content for the seminar, to expose specific areas of interest, expertise, and strength, and to learn from one another.
  • design and presentation of a character that embodies Another Sense of Time - a playful response to themes and topics

Download the course syllabus of the academic year 2016-2017.