04 Feb, 19 / post / Events
Narrative representation and analysis of health and migration: An Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to African literary studies

The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a Methods Workshop on Narrative representation and analysis of health and migration: An Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to African literary studies, a guest session by Dr Chisomo Kalinga (Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Fellow, University of Edinburgh).

African literary studies is becoming more representative of the diversity and complexity of the literatures it produces within the continent in regards to its critical engagement with discourses of health, wellbeing and illness. This discussion focuses on migrant narratives and introduces key theories that engage with methodology, which draws from indigenous, regional and multicultural perspectives. Kalinga discusses whether traditional approaches to literary analysis are adequately fitted for the kind of inquiry that is structured around literary studies’ Eurocentric fixations on invasion and intrusion of migrant bodies. Accordingly, the discussion will outline mixed methods approaches to African migrant narratives and their interrogation of medicine, treatment, health, wellbeing and identity. Modes of analysis include literary analysis (indigenous narrative interpretation, Interpretive community response and reception theory), qualitative methodologies in data collection (participant observation, focus groups, in-depth interviews, narrative ethnography, and a minor application of thematic analysis) and community-based participatory action research methods in the study of African literary practices.


Dr Chisomo Kalinga is a Wellcome-funded researcher in the medical humanities at the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh and a maHp Associate at the University of the Witwatersrand. The objective of her current project is to determine how storytelling and narrative representation can be used to improve delivery of health care services through a better understanding of the interplay between African indigenous literature and structures of thought surrounding health. Several of the research sites are located on the Mozambican, Tanzanian and Zambian borders to encourage a deeper understanding of African borderlands as a conceptual space and its impact on access to healthcare. As part of the project, she is collaborating with the College of Medicine at the University of Malawi to mobilize the first medical humanities network for Malawiana studies. Her PhD was completed at King’s College London (2014) and offered a comparative study of Malawian and American AIDS fiction. Her research interests are illness, wellbeing, biomedicine, traditional healing and witchcraft and their narrative representation in African health narratives.

Date:    Friday 15 February 2019

Time:    9:30 to 11:30

Venue:  ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand