At the close of World War II, Japan’s ouster from Malaya led to the resumption of British control and a new outlook toward political independence. Higher education would play a central role in this complex transition, where the forces of decolonization and nation-building converged with drives toward both interethnic competition and multiethnic cooperation. These tensions stimulated a multiplicity of new rhetorics and new networks for universities and university students. This paper uses the framework of governance to uncover the contrasting rhetorics and networks produced by postwar Singapore’s new universities. By examining their structures and mechanisms of governance, the paper demonstrates how the sudden catapulting of university education to a crucial socio-political position redefined the intersections between education, language, culture, and nation. In doing so, it reveals that these redefinitions forecasted contemporary discourse and mechanisms in higher education
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