IAC Culture Talks Lecture 2: Transnational Divorce: Understanding Intimacies and Inequalities from Singapore by Dr Quah Ee Ling (Catch up Online)

The event was held on Thursday 31 August 2023


Transnational Divorce: Understanding Intimacies and Inequalities from Singapore (2020)is a sequel to Dr Quah Ee Ling’s earlier book, Perspectives on Marital Dissolution: Divorce Biographies in Singapore (2015).In her second book, Ee Ling turns to the transnational aspects of divorce experiences. She uncovers the stories of four main groups of transnational divorcees at the field site of Singapore - low-income marriage migrant women from less wealthy countries; low-income Singaporean citizen husbands; middle-class, living apart together parents; and overseas-based Singaporean citizen mothers. Employing transnational, intersectional feminist perspectives, Ee Ling extends her earlier conceptualisation of divorce biography and proposes a new framework of transnational divorce biography to explain the divorced individuals’ cross-border intimacies.

Though set in Singapore, the book tells more of a global story of transnational divorce. Using the transnational divorce biography framework, the book exposes how global hierarchy of citizenship, capitalism, transnational patriarchy, gender dis(order), administrative violence, masculinity projects and heteronormativity shape the conditions under which transnational divorce stories are constructed, developed, constricted and silenced. Transnational Divorce weaves together a strong narrative of privileges, inequalities, capacitations and debilitations at the site of intimate life. The book ends with an epilogue on fire dragon feminism where Ee Ling launches her strand of feminism. She shares with readers her use of fire dragon feminist superpowers in developing place-based feminist tools of activism and resistance, and her mission in reflecting on complicity and responsibilities, blowing flames at oppressive structures, and building solidarities to redirect traffic.

About the SpeakerDr Quah Ee Ling

Dr Quah Ee Ling (she/her) is a fire dragon feminist and Senior Lecturer & Convenor, Culture & Society at School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University (WSU). Ee Ling is Singaporean queer migrant woman academic of Chinese-Hokkien and Indonesian-Peranakan heritage. The correct order of her name is surname first followed by given name. Ee Ling launched her own strand of feminism - fire dragon feminism and is on a lifelong mission to develop feminist ethics for Asian migrant woman capitalist subjects implicated in, debilitated by and benefitted from racial capitalism, colonialism and neoliberalism. She is now passionately working on her third book project on Asian Migrant Women and Fire Dragon Feminism.

Ee Ling received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Science (Applied Sociology) from National University of Singapore and PhD in Sociology from University of Sydney. Her PhD project, Far from crippling: Divorce, individualisation and personal communities, is a cross-national sociological study on divorce in Australia and Singapore, and examines how heteronormativity impacts individual and marriage outcomes. She developed her doctoral thesis into her first book, Perspectives on Marital Dissolution: Divorce Biographies in Singapore (Springer 2015). Post-PhD, Ee Ling was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship and subsequent research fellowship by National University of Singapore, Asia Research Institute. During her fellowships, she won a Singapore Government’s Ministry of Social and Family Development grant to research into transnational divorce. Based on this postdoctoral project, she published her second sole-authored book, Transnational Divorce: Understanding Intimacies and Inequalities from Singapore (Routledge 2020).

At WSU, she is a member of Institute for Culture & Society, Writing & Society Research Centre, and Sexualities and Gender Research. She is excited about working on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant project (2023-2026) – Place-based Employment and Enterprise of Newly Arrived Young Migrant Women (Cis: Sukhmani Khorana, Quah Ee Ling, Nida Denson & Teddy Nagaddya).