Isaac Leong

Isaac Leong
2019-2020 UNDERGRADUATE FELLOW

Biography

Isaac Leong ’20 is an undergraduate with the Department of History. He is interested in the social aftermaths of war and in particular, the ways in which postwar societies negotiate the interlocking issues of guilt, justice, and memory. His thesis, tentatively titled “Contested Justice: Law and Ritual in Postwar Singapore,” focuses on competing visions of justice concerning the 1942 massacre of Chinese civilians during the immediate postwar period in Singapore. By studying the formal British-conducted war crimes trial vis-à-vis local articulations of justice in the people’s courts set up by resistance groups and at Chinese pacification rituals for the massacred, he hopes to investigate the meaning of “justice” as a juridical and ethical concept as it was articulated and contested through different forms. He is drawn to the methods of literary analysis and ritual studies, focusing on the way in which the law functions as a discursive form that narrates normative possibilities and how the law interacts with other discursive forms like literature and religion.