Bernard Bate Prize

  • Associate Professor Bernard Bate
  • Former Head of Studies, Anthropology, Yale-NUS College

10 years from now, I will probably have a different idea but right now generosity is the value I strive towards.

The Bernard Bate Prize is established in memory of our colleague, teacher and friend, Associate Professor Bernard Bate. A believer of the College mission with a passion for Singapore, he was a member of the inaugural faculty of Yale-NUS College as an Associate Professor and Head of Studies of Anthropology. He was a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist whose work involved the theory, ethnography, and history of political oratory and rhetoric with a regional focus in the Tamil worlds of South Asia.

Generosity meant a lot to Professor Bernard Bate. “The older I get, the more I think… cultivating generosity in ourselves is important—and by generosity I mean not just giving things but being open to the way that other people are,” shared Professor Bate. “Ten years from now, I will probably have a different idea but right now, generosity is the value I strive towards.”

His openness to others, and generosity of spirit led Professor Bate to make his colleagues, students, and friends into his family. “He was so much a family man,” said Professor Anju Paul, fellow social sciences at Yale-NUS.

Professor Bate had taught graduate and undergraduate courses on critical, ethnographic and historical approaches to South Asia; language and political practice; gender, nationalism and the public sphere; media, poetics and performance; and contemporary anthropological theory. At Yale-NUS, he had contributed to the design and teaching of “Comparative Social Institutions,” “Modern Social Thought,” “An Anthropology of Literary Culture,” “Tamil Worlds,” and “The Anthropological Imagination.” As a professor, he blurred the distinction between learning inside and outside the classrooms. He served as a confidante, advisor, friend and father to many students, occasionally breaking into Tamil songs during his office hours and lectures. He served as Head of Studies for the anthropology major and as Chair of the Committee on Residential and Co-Curricular Life which fostered faculty engagement in learning opportunities in and outside of the classroom.

In recognition of his service and devotion to Yale-NUS College, the Bernard Bate Prize has been established with gifts from members of the Yale-NUS community to reflect his generosity and connection to the Yale-NUS family. The Bernard Bate Prize will support a student who produces the Best Capstone Project for Anthropology.

To make a gift to support the Bernard Bate Prize, please click here.