Kenneth Tan

Kenneth Tan
  • Category: Faculty, EMPA Faculty
  • Job Title: Associate Professor
  • Organisation: National University of Singapore
  • Department: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • Country: Singapore
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Areas of expertise

  • Innovation
  • Public policy
  • Collaboration and Co-production
  • Public leadership
  • Public management

Find out more about ANZSOG's Executive Master of Public Administration


Kenneth Paul Tan is an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where he has taught since 2007 and served as its fourth Vice Dean for Academic Affairs from 2013 to 2017. 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.

The central pre-occupation of his research has been to challenge conventional theorisations and formulations of liberalisation by passing them through the contemporary lens of the Singapore experience. His work constitutes a critical, qualitative, and interpretive analysis of the tensions that emerge from Singapore’s transition from a developmental state to a neoliberal global city, explored through various interconnected dimensions. Through this holistic analysis, he tries to understand critically what makes Singapore tick, with a view to identifying how Singapore can become resilient in the face of profoundly altering circumstances and new challenges in the near future (or, more specifically, in the post-Lee Kuan Yew age). He has published in leading international journals such as Asian Studies Review, Critical Asian Studies, International Political Science Review, and positions: asia critique. His books include Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies And Futures After Lee Kuan Yew (Routledge, 2017), Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2008), and Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007). His forthcoming book is titled Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press).

A/Prof Tan has held visiting fellowships at the Australian National University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Georgetown University (on a Fulbright Fellowship), Harvard University, and Sciences Po. He is a member of the National Arts Council (Singapore)’s Arts Advisory Panel and the National Museum of Singapore’s Advisory Board. He chairs the Board of Directors of theatre company The Necessary Stage (Singapore). He was the founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s Board of Directors from 2005 to 2017. He served on the committee of Our Singapore Conversation, a year-long national-level public engagement exercise that began in 2012.

ANZSOG programs

A/Prof Tan teaches in the following ANZSOG courses:

  • Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA)
    - Designing Public Policies and Programs
  • Executive Fellows Program

Selected publications

  • Tan, K.P. (forthcoming, 2018). Singapore: Identity, brand, power. Cambridge University Press

  • Tan, K.P. (2017). Governing global-city Singapore: Legacies and futures after Lee Kuan Yew. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315622910

  • Tan, K.P. (2017). Resisting authoritarian populism: Lessons from/for Singapore. Foreign Affairs, 96(4).

  • Tan, K.P., & Boey, A. (2017). Singapore in 2016: life after Lee Kuan Yew. Southeast Asian Affairs, 315-334.

  • Tan, K.P. (2016). Choosing What to Remember in Neoliberal Singapore: The Singapore Story, State Censorship and State-Sponsored Nostalgia. Asian Studies Review, 40(2): 231-249. doi:10.1080/10357823.2016.1158779

  • Tan, K.P. (2016). Singapore in 2015: Regaining hegemony. Asian Survey, 56(1): 108-114. doi:10.1525/AS.2016.56.1.108

  • Tan, K.P. (2015). Singapore in 2014: Adapting to the new normal. Asian Survey, 55(1): 157-164. doi:10.1525/AS.2015.55.1.157

  • Tan, K.P. (2013). Forum theater in singapore: Resistance, containment, and commodifcation in an advanced industrial society. positions: asia critique, 21(1): 189-221. doi:10.1215/10679847-1894326