TAN, Kenneth Paul 陈思贤 |

TAN, Kenneth Paul 陈思贤

Kenneth Paul Tan 陈思贤

Doctor of Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge (UK)

Kenneth Paul Tan 陈思贤
Contact Details

DID: +65 6516 7908
Fax: +65 6777 7020

Office Location

469A Bukit Timah Road 
Level 10, Tower Block
Singapore 259770


Kenneth Paul TAN is Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where he has taught since 2007. From 2000 to 2007, he taught at the NUS’s University Scholars Programme and Political Science Department. Since 2000, he has received more than 10 teaching awards, including in 2009 the Outstanding Educator Award, the most prestigious teaching honour bestowed by the University. In 2012, he was elected Chair of the NUS Teaching Academy, where he has been a Fellow since it was established in 2009. He has written widely on (1) principles of public policy and administration (focusing on meritocracy, pragmatism, and public engagement); (2) liberalization, democracy, and civil society; (3) Asian creative cities and the culture industry (focusing on film, television, popular culture, and theatre); (4) race, gender, and sexuality; (5) spatial justice in Asian cities; (6) nation branding, soft power, and nation building; and (7) politics, society, and culture in Singapore. He has published in leading international journals such as Asian Studies ReviewCritical Asian StudiesInternational Political Science Review, and positions: asia critique, and has authored two books: Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007) and Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2008). He has held visiting fellowships at the Australian National University, Georgetown University (on a Fulbright Fellowship), and Harvard University. In 1995, he received a Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship to read for a Ph.D. in social and political sciences at the University of Cambridge, which he completed in 2000. In 1994, he obtained a First Class Honours degree in the Joint School of Economics and Politics at the University of Bristol on a Public Service Commission Overseas Merit (Open) Scholarship. He is a member of the Arts Advisory Panel of the National Arts Council (Singapore) and sits on the committee of Our Singapore Conversation, a year-long national-level public engagement exercise that began in 2012. He is the founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s board of directors, sits on the board of directors of theatre company The Necessary Stage, and has composed music for some of its performances. He is an avid runner, who has travelled to a number of cities to run marathons. He is married to Clara Lim-Tan, principal of Yu Neng Primary School.



  • Ph.D., Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK


  • B.Sc. (1st Class), Joint School of Economics and Politics, University of Bristol, UK

Academic and Administrative Appointments


  • Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore (NUS)


  • Chair, NUS Teaching Academy 


  • Associate Professor (tenured), LKYSPP, NUS


  • Acting Director, Strategic Planning, LKYSPP, NUS


  • Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, LKYSPP, NUS


  • Assistant Professor, LKYSPP, NUS


  • Assistant Head, Department of Political Science, NUS


  • Joint Appointee, University Scholars Programme (USP), NUS


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, NUS



  • Visiting Fellowship, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, US


  • Visiting Fellowship, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Australia


  • Outstanding Educator Award, NUS


  • Fulbright Visiting Researcher Award, Georgetown University, US
  • LKYSPP Teaching Excellence Award


  • NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Teaching Excellence Award


  • NUS Excellent Teacher Award (FASS winner)
  • NUS Excellent Teacher Award (USP winner)
  • NUS FASS Teaching Excellence Award


  • NUS Excellent Teacher Award (FASS winner)
  • NUS Excellent Teacher Award (USP winner)
  • NUS FASS Teaching Excellence Award


  • NUS Excellent Teacher Award (USP winner)
  • NUS USP Teaching Award


  • Sir Desmond Lee Junior Research Fellowship, University of Cambridge


  • Smuts Memorial Fund Study Grant, University of Cambridge


  • Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship, Singapore government


  • University of Bristol Overseas Scholarship

Kenneth Paul Tan 陈思贤 - CV

Research Areas

  • Cities and Urban Policies
  • Education policy
  • Ethnicity and religion in Southeast Asia
  • Performance management and public values
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Singapore international relations
  • Singapore social policy
  • Social policy

Media Expertise

  • Asian creative cities and the culture industry (focus on film, television, popular culture and theatre)
  • Liberalisation, democracy and civil society
  • Nation branding, soft power and nation building
  • Politics, society and culture in Singapore
  • Principles of public policy and administration (focus on meritocracy, pragmatism and public engagement)
  • Race, gender and sexuality
  • Spatial justice in Asian cities


  • Tan, K.P., Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension, Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • Tan, K.P., eds., Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics, Singapore: NUS Press, 2007.
  • Tan, K.P., “Forum theater in Singapore: Resistance, containment, and commodification in an advanced industrial society”.  positions: asia critique, 21, no. 1  (2013): 189‑221.
  • Tan, K.P., “The ideology of pragmatism in Singapore: neoliberal globalization and political authoritarianism”.  Journal of Contemporary Asia, 42, no. 1  (2012): 67‑92.
  • Tan, K.P., “Pontianaks, ghosts, and the possessed: Female monstrosity and national anxiety in Singapore cinema”.  Asian Studies Review, (2010).
  • Tan, K.P., “Who’s afraid of Catherine Lim? The state in patriarchal Singapore”.  Asian Studies Review, 33, no. 1  (2009): 43‑62.
  • Tan, K.P., “Meritocracy and elitism in a global city: ideological shifts in Singapore”.  International Political Science Review, 29, no. 1  (2008): 7‑27.
  • Tan, K.P., “Singapore’s National Day Rally speech: a site of ideological negotiation”.  Journal of Contemporary Asia, 37, no. 3  (2007): 292‑308.
  • Tan, K.P. and G. Lee, “Imagining the gay community in Singapore”.  Critical Asian Studies, 39, no. 2  (2007): 179‑204.  (United Kingdom).
  • Tan, K.P., “Sexing up Singapore”.  International Journal of Cultural Studies, 6, no. 4  (2003): 403‑423.  (United Kingdom).

Please click here for a CV containing full list of publications.

Editorial Contributions


  • Associate Editor, Asian Journal of Political Science


  • Editorial Review Board Member, Human Rights and Human Welfare


  • Advisory Board Member, The Triple Helix: International Journal of Science, Society, and Law 2006—2009
  • Reviewer for Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Asian Journal of Political Science, Asian Studies Review, Asian Survey, Current Sociology, GLQ, Governance, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, International Journal of Cultural Studies, International Political Science Review, International Sociology, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of Homosexuality, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Sojourn, Southeast Asia Research, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Service to Society


  • Member, Our Singapore Conversation Committee


  • Member, Arts Advisory Panel, National Arts Council, Singapore


  • Founding Chair, Board of Directors, Asian Film Archive, Singapore


  • Member, Board of Directors, The Necessary Stage, Singapore


  • Politics and Public Policy (LKYSPP)
  • Singapore: The City (LKYSPP)
  • State—Society Relations in Singapore (LKYSPP)
  • Introduction to Political Science (Level 1000, Political Science Department)
  • Government and Politics of Singapore (Level 2000, Political Science Department)
  • Politics, Art, and Popular Culture (Honours, Political Science Department)
  • Singapore: The Making of a Nation (USP)
  • Thinking about Politics (USP)
  • Democratic Possibilities in Singapore (USP)
  • Civil Society: Theory and Practice (Advanced, USP)
  • Community Service and Social Action (General Education Module)
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