Asia Institute Tasmania

Public Lecture | Singapore: Entwined Histories of a Colonial Convent and a Nation


Dr Sandra Hudd, University Associate, University of Tasmania

Start Date

12th Jul 2016 5:30pm

End Date

12th Jul 2016 6:30pm

This public lecture explores key issues and developments in colonial and postcolonial Singapore by examining one particular site in central Singapore: the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, established in 1854 and now a food and entertainment complex, CHIJMES. The Convent was an early provider of social services and girls' education. World War II, followed by the creation of the new Republic of Singapore, presented a new set of challenges, but it was the convent's prime location that made it attractive for urban redevelopment in the 1980s. The chapel and the former nuns' residence are classified as National Monuments, but the quintessentially Singaporean policy of the commercial re-use of historic buildings reflects the tensions between heritage conservation and the modern global city. Tracking the physical and usage changes of the site, this lecture works to make sense of that eventful journey, a journey that moves only in time, not in space, and includes abandoned babies, French nuns, Japanese bombings, and twenty-first century dance parties.

Dr Hudd is a University Associate who has previously worked as a humanitarian aid worker in Southeast Asia and Kosovo. She has taught in Asian Studies at UTAS and has just published her first book The Site of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus: Entwined Histories of a Colonial Convent and a Nation, 1854-2015 (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016). She will shortly be taking up a Research Fellowship at the National Library Singapore.


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