Comparative Social Inquiry

Human beings are inherently social. We exist in families, tribes, cities and nations, work in organisations, and interact through networks. We are simultaneously the product and shapers of these norms and institutions. This course investigates these connections and raises awareness of social forces that determine how we live. By the end of the course, students should be in a better position to question why societies are the way they are and to consider how to bring about desired social change.

See other details


Comparative Social Inquiry begins by asking the question “How did you get into Yale-NUS?” as a way of inviting students to consider the role of social forces in shaping life outcomes. From there, we proceed to explore a series of topics that together provide a picture of how societies are organized – and why. These include power, markets, family, social class, race, gender, religion and the state.

Student Voices

The common curriculum meant everything to me. Coming from an educational system with literally zero attention given to critical thinking, I was mind-blown by the ideas and opportunities offered by the CC. It was my first introduction to critical thinking, and I found the experience life-changing and incredibly exciting. The common curriculum fit in very nicely with my eventual major, since the topics and theories covered in CSI were foundational to any anthropological studies we would engage in later on.

Linh Nguyen, Class of 2017

Teaching Faculty

  • Chin-Hao Huang

    Assistant Professor, Social Sciences (Political Science)

  • Anju Mary Paul

    Associate Professor, Social Sciences (Sociology and Public Policy)

  • Risa J Toha

    Assistant Professor, Social Sciences (Political Science)

  • Cheung Hoi Shan

    Assistant Professor, Social Sciences (Psychology)

  • Xing Xia

    Assistant Professor, Social Sciences (Economics)

  • Edward John Driffill

    Visiting Professor, Social Sciences (Economics)