Kenneth Paul TAN is a tenured Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, which hired him under its Talent100 initiative in February 2021. He teaches courses at the Academy of Film and Department of Government and International Studies, and conducts interdisciplinary research at the School of Communication, Global Communication and Power Research Cluster, and Smart Society Lab.

Previously, he was a tenured Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School). He was Vice Dean of the LKY School during the most rapid and critical years of its growth and served in its senior leadership team for almost a decade. Prior to that, he taught concurrently at the NUS Political Science Department (where he was Assistant Head) and the University Scholars Programme, the university's pioneering and cutting-edge liberal arts programme.

He has received numerous teaching awards over the years, including NUS's most prestigious Outstanding Educator Award. He was elected Chair of the university's Teaching Academy.

His books include Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 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). He has also published numerous articles in leading international journals, reflecting an innovative and interdisciplinary research agenda that bridges Political Science, Public Management, Policy Studies, Sociology, Urban Studies, Cultural Studies, and Film and Media Studies.

He has held visiting fellowships and professorships at the Australian National University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Georgetown University (on a Fulbright Fellowship), Harvard University, Sciences Po, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. In 1995, he received the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship to do a PhD 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 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.

He is a trained musician and an enthusiastic marathon runner.

Classes Taught

Film, History, and Social Change
Asian Techno-Cities: Hong Kong and Singapore

For a comprehensive account of his vision, awards, experience, publications, methods, effectiveness, and impact with respect to teaching and learning, see:

Research & Publications

For descriptions of his books, see:

For a list of journal articles (including abstracts), chapters in books, opinion pieces and others, see:

He is currently working on the following book manuscripts:

  • 1. “Movies to Save Our World: Imagining Poverty, Inequality, and Revolution in the 21st Century” (contract with Penguin)
  • 2. “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Pragmatism and Public Morality in Singapore”

An archive including video clips of talks, media appearances, and other public-facing work is available at:

Further Information

For more information, including appointments, leadership, awards, and fellowships, see: