Upcoming events

The Surprising Truth about Asian Languages

The surprising truth about Asian languages


Wednesday 3 June
18.00-19.30
Law School Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School
The University of Sydney


Would you believe us if we told you:

  • tone languages are easy to learn;
  • Chinese is not a typical Asian language;
  • around 600 languages are spoken in mainland Southeast Asia;
  • many people in Asia do not speak their country’s national language.

The truth may surprise you! With recent progress in research on the languages of mainland Southeast Asia and nearby parts of Asia, we now know more than ever about what these languages are like, who speaks them, where they have come from, and where they are going.

Join us for a panel discussion co-hosted with Sydney Ideas that will explore the most recent findings of research on language in mainland Southeast Asia, to mark the publication of Professor Nick Enfield's new book Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia: The State of the Art.

The panel is made up of experts in Southeast Asian languages spoken in locations ranging from Bhutan, to Burma, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The panel will discuss many old myths and new truths about the languages of this fascinating area of the world.

For further information and to RSVP, visit the Events Calendar.

Seminar Series: 'I had no place to stay' - Housing Woes of Singaporean Divorcees

Seminar Series

Photo credit: Jnzl Public Domain via Flickr


17 JUNE 2015
17.30 - 19.00
Seminar Room 403, New Law Building
The University of Sydney


When marital dissolution takes place, divorcees often experience major transformations, turbulences and disorientations in different aspects of their lives. Divorcees have to construct what Dr Quah refers to as, a divorce biography, to dissolve an unsatisfying marriage, cope with the changes and consequences of divorce and make future plans. One of the most pressing problems many divorcees face is in the area of housing. As part of working out their divorce biographies, divorcees find themselves having to deal with accommodation issues and come up with post-divorce living arrangements. In the context of Singaporean society where existing housing policies are largely catered to the state-endorsed family model (heterosexual, legally married couple, dual-parent family with children), individuals from non-normative families like divorcees face structural obstacles as they attempt to resolve housing issues.

In this seminar, Dr Sharon Quah from the National University of Singapore will share her research findings on housing troubles confronting Singaporean divorcees and the strategies they developed to cope with such difficulties after the divorce. The narrative accounts of her respondents will show how divorce is not just an isolated life event, but a process and journey whereby divorcees navigate between assertion of individuality and connectedness with personal communities within the social and policy contexts they are located in. Dr Quah's research has policy implications and provides sociological reasons for policy review.

Join us for drinks and nibbles from 17.30. RSVP via Eventbrite.

Book Launch


12 JUNE 2015
18.30 - 20.00
LT 104, New Law Building
The University of Sydney


Dr Sharon Quah will also be launching her new book ‘Perspectives on Marital Dissolution: Divorce Biographies in Singapore’ whilst at the University of Sydney. The book launch will begin with an introduction of the author and book by Associate Professor Catriona Elder from the Department of Sociology, followed by an author’s book reading, and close with a Q&A session.

The book presents a sociological account on marital dissolution that engages and extends theorisations on individualisation and the contemporary organisation of personal relationships to discuss how the experience of divorce might not be all debilitating but on the contrary, could provide opportunities for productivity, self-responsibility and relationship formation. Using Singaporean divorcees’ narrative accounts, the book explores how divorcees shape and construct what the author refers to as, a divorce biography, to end their unsatisfying marriages, cope with the crisis, negotiate the associated risks, organise post-divorce personal communities and make future plans.