News & Events

Postdoctoral Research Associate Opportunity

We are currently looking to recruit a Postdoctoral Research Associate (Social Demography/Epidemiology). This post is funded for two years by the Wellcome Trust. The deadline for applications is Monday 13 November 2017.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please click here.

Call for Abstracts

Drug Regimes in Southern Africa:

Regulation and Consumption in Twentieth Century Contexts

9-11 November 2017, Department of Historical Studies, University of Johannesburg, APK

Since the early twentieth century especially, accelerating flows of people, capital, knowledge and chemicals have deepened the entanglements of African communities of consumption in global networks of legal and illicit drug production, consumption, flow, profit and risk. In southern Africa today, the ability to provide access to effective and affordable pharmaceutical medicaments – analgesics, antibiotics, anti-retroviral medicines, hormones, and vaccines, amongst others – is imperative to the successes of health-care systems and interventions. Unregulated supplements, stimulants, tonics and other commodities play a major role in the daily self-care practices and expenditures of millions. Moreover, while provision and procurement of medicines for much of this region has been determined historically by racialised and gendered ideas of the ‘deserving health citizen’, diversionary uses, adaptations and repurposing of medicines have also flourished as part of subversive, illegal and private economies of health-seeking, leisure and intimacy. 

We invite submissions that shed light on these dynamics and that will both broaden and deepen a twentieth context for understanding contemporary and more thoroughly researched topics such as, for instance, HIV/AIDS. We especially encourage research that explores local meanings, patterns of consumption, exchange and/or regulation through the lens a particular drug, medicament, substance, commodity or therapeutic treatment.  

Relevant themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Chemical biographies: individual encounters and personal regimes
  • Formal and informal cultures of medicinal exchange and knowledge production
  • Representations in marketing and other media over time
  • Spatial and cultural geographies and identities in patterning medicinal consumption
  • Southern African regional and national drug regulatory regimens in the twentieth century: turning points, national agendas, consumers and demands, cross-border and global flows, control and resistance
  • Disruptions of the binary of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ medicines
  • Addictive medicines and substances and associated treatments
  • How do ‘good’ drugs go ‘bad’ and ‘bad drugs go good’?
  • Fakes, counterfeiting and chemical trickery
  • The rise of new ailments (and cures) in new social conditions

The Workshop, funded by a Small Grant of the Wellcome Trust, will cover the costs of accommodation for three nights (and most meals) for up to 15 participants who reside outside of the Johannesburg/Pretoria area. To encourage the participation of emerging and younger scholars, as well as post-graduate students and participants around southern Africa, there are some limited funds available also to support travel. As part of this event, participants will be introduced to two under-utilized archives in Johannesburg, in order to stimulate ideas for ongoing and future research projects and collaborations.

Please submit an abstract of 300 words, together with a separate, brief biography, by 1 August 2017. Select authors will be asked to share developed paper proposals of 2000 words for presentation, by 15 October 2017.  Direct all enquiries and submissions to Prof Thembisa Waetjen at

Call for Papers: Medical Humanities in an African Context

Hosted by Chancellor College University of Malawi, 24 & 25 August 2017

Mural art at Tidziwe Clinic UNC Project Malawi in Lilongwe by Michael Kapalamula

Chancellor College is pleased to announce a 2-day international medical humanities conference to be held at the college’s Great Hall in Zomba, on 24th & 25th August 2017. In Europe and North America, medical humanities is understood as an emerging discipline which explores the social, historical and cultural dimensions of medicine. This conference offers a formal space to further our understanding of how illness, wellbeing, medicine & treatment intersect with the arts and humanities and to encourage discussions about what these concepts mean in an African context. It provides a highly interdisciplinary platform for a diversity of perspectives and inquiries into African concepts of health and wellbeing. Malawi’s own scholars–the late Professors Steve Chimombo and Chris Kamlongera–were pioneers in bringing the arts into conversation with health, community and development. We aspire to showcase the vibrant, contemporary medical humanities research within Malawi and throughout the African continent. 

We invite 20-minute papers on the following subjects including, but not limited to:

•      The history of medicine and healthcare

•      Medical ethics

•      Medical anthropology 

•      Literature, poetry and medicine

•      Visual and performed arts and the body

•      Representations of illness and treatment

•      Communication in health care


•      Religious/spiritual perspectives on health

•      Sociology of medicine

•      The caregiver/patient relationship

•      Healthcare architecture and design

•      Disability studies

•      Medicine and the law

•      Globalisation and healthcare practices


Please send an abstract (approximately 300 words) and short biographical note to the conference organisers by no later than Friday 21 April 2017. Proposals and all enquiries should be addressed to the Proposal Review Committee at

Conference details and updates will be posted to 

Website: 2017 Inaugural Medical Humanities Conference

This conference is hosted by the Department of English, Faculty of Humanities at Chancellor College University of Malawi with funding from the Wellcome Trust and collaborators at University College London and the University of Edinburgh.