• Teaching


    I hold a postgraduate diploma in junior college teaching from the National Institute of Education in Singapore and a certificate in college teaching preparation from Yale University. I have taught at various levels: as a high school teacher, a teaching assistant and a writing tutor. Presently, I teach courses on world history of Islam, regional histories of Southeast Asia and global environmental history.


    Teaching for me has always been a process of learning together with my students, translating abstraction into learning activities and back again. My classroom emphasises empathy with the historical subject and rigour in the reading of sources, with student engagement at the center. I will be happy to share and collaborate on creating syllabi and other teaching materials - contact me at faizahz@ntu.edu.sg.

    At Nanyang Technological University

    Assistant Professor, 2019-to date


    The Islamicate World (presently teaching)


    Course Summary


    In this course, you will investigate the historical development of Muslim societies from the classical period to the present. You will analyse diverse theories and practices of Muslim communities that span a global scale while being embedded in their own local political, economic and social contexts. This course will equip you to conceptualize the basic precepts and terminology defining the idea of a Muslim World while inviting you to critique this notion through empirical historical evidence. You will also develop your skills in analysing and interpreting primary and secondary sources, particularly through close readings of how Islamic concepts are employed in literary works, visual art and political rhetoric.


    The contents of this survey course cover the period from the advent of Islam in the 7th century to the present. We will examine key ideas that scholars have used to conceptualize institutions and interactions in the Muslim World, such as: Islamicate, caliphate, shari'a, syncretism, cosmopolitanism and Islamism. It will emphasize the lived experience of Muslims by drawing on case studies from many different parts of the Islamicate World and highlight the complexities of the relationship between religious theology and practice. Such empirical examples will help you understand and analyse the contemporary positioning of Muslims in the modern nation-state and as a global community. This course will be useful in helping you understand the historical roots of contemporary debates about Islam and gain a nuanced view of the ways in which the religion interacted with secular politics.


    Climate and Society in Historical Perspective (to be taught in Fall 2020)


    Course Summary


    This seminar covers major traditions of thought regarding climate, climate change and its impact on society, drawing on history, science and anthropology. In this course, we ask: How does knowledge about the earth’s climate evolve? How does such knowledge circulate, change and become entangled with political ecology? In what ways do societies, past and present, interpret weather events and climactic perturbations? How do differences in climate shape or inform societal organization?How do different societies cope with extreme climatic events? How do they reflect, reveal, and reproduce socio-economic structures such as inequality?


    The course is divided into three parts. The first, “Reconstructing the Climate” concerns the epistemologies that we use to understand the climate, their strengths and limitations as well as how climate knowledge influences state-society organization. In the second part, “Climate Perturbations in Human History,” we analyse various interpretations of how climate has historically influenced past currents of societal change, including theories of environmental determinism and collapse. The final part of this course, “Contemporary Climate Change” invites us to examine and critique present approaches to climate policies, using case studies from past climate-induced events and paying particular attention to the notions of risk and resilience.


    This course will be useful for students seeking to understand how human societies, past and present, have tackled, interpreted and responded to climate conditions. It will enable them to make informed readings about the present climate crisis and facilitate deeper analysis on how policy-making, politics and societal change can make a difference to it.


    The Malay World: Past Histories, Present Identities (to be taught in Fall 2020)


    Course Summary


    In this course, you will examine and deconstruct the category 'Malay' as a lens into the broader processes of making and unmaking group identities in the maritime Southeast Asia region that historically used the Malay language as a trade lingua franca. You will conceptualize how Malay ethnic identity is an ongoing process and group boundaries develop with culturally specific markers along five major axes: economy, geography, political authority, religion and gender. As the course spans the pre-modern and modern periods, it will offer you an opportunity to compare and contrast how these processes change over time. Given the paucity of conventional documentary archives in accessing this history, you will develop new skills in interpreting alternative archives such as archaeological artifacts, the architecture of mosques and houses as well as literary manuscripts.


    The contents of this seminar focuses on the history of the Malay world, as defined by the trading zone that has utilised the language during the pre-modern period. It uses this history as a lens to understand the fluid processes of ethnicization, comparing the pre-modern period with the modern period. You will analyse this process through five major themes - economy, political authority, geography, gender and religion. You will find the course useful for conceptualising the historical roots of contemporary Malay identity and also as a means of understanding the sociopolitical dynamics of Malay communities in Singapore and neighbouring states. It will also be helpful for you if you would like to understand and apply scholarly framings of group identity formation more broadly in other contexts.


    Agrarian Societies in the Making of the Global South


    (under development - course summary to be uploaded soon)

    At Yale University


    Teaching Fellow, 2013 to 2017


    World Finance: From Mesopotamia to Present

    History of China since 1550

    Political Islam: From Past to Present

    Southeast Asia since 1800

    The Colonial Period in US History


    Writing Partner, Yale College Writing Center, 2015-2017

    LINKS to Online Course on Academic and Other Writing


    BBC English

    Purdue Online Writing Lab


    Coursera Academic Writing