Dust Beneath Our Feet: Reflections of 19th Century Singapore

ShuQin Sandy  Wang's picture
Call for Papers
August 31, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies

Dust Beneath Our Feet: Reflections of 19th Century Singapore

The past is dust—much like the specks in the air that surround us, we breathe it in, we come into contact with it, and yet, its presence is something we are barely aware of. We only begin to notice when it becomes overbearing and threatens to suffocate us. Even when we seek to be rid of it, the remnants cling to us, a stubborn stain of its continuous presence. 

For Singapore, the 19th century was supposedly exorcised from our system. It should have lain in peace with the carcasses of the past. And yet, it continues to stain our present: in the way we perceive ourselves, in our interactions with others, in how we remember and narrate our existence. We see it in our everyday surroundings, from our street names, our legal systems, to what we consider to be our history and heritage. It turns out that the 19th century has never left us, even if we mostly no longer see it. How then do we grapple with this past that is at once ostensibly unnecessary for the present but ironically needed for the future? Can we really say that the past did shape our present and presence, and if so, to what ends? More importantly, where do we go from here?

We welcome submissions in all forms (articles, photo essays, illustrations, creative non-fiction, etc.) that deal with the abovementioned questions as well as the following themes:

  • Representations
  • Space and Society
  • Narratives and power
  • Materiality
  • Memory and disembodiment
  • Aspects of everyday life
  • Relationships betwee 19th century Singapore and the larger region

If keen, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words together with a brief profile of yourself to dustbeneathfeet@gmail.com by 31 August 2018.

About the team: We are a student collective from the National University of Singapore. We hope to publish this selection of work in July – August 2019 (tentatively).

Contact Info: 

Please email us at: dustbeneathfeet@gmail.com