Historian Catherine Burns will pursue a dialogue between indigenous health cultures and biomedicine as part of the Medical Humanities series on Thursday 29 August. This public lecture will take place in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre on Hiddingh Campus.

In The bricolage of health and healing in South Africa Burns will explore the absence of an institutionalised, interdisciplinary relationship between the humanities and medicine, in light of the layered and heavily politicised history of South African Health systems throughout the 20th Century – a legacy which continues in various forms in the present. Drawing on the case study of an indigenous healer who sought a complex and sustained dialogue with biomedicine, this lecture will employ literary analysis, archival research, anthropology and political history in its discussion of South Africa as a unique and fertile site for the exploration of these dynamics. Given its evolving indigenous health cultures and alternative therapeutic systems, which co-exist with biomedical structures, Burns will argue for South Africa as an emergent tri-continental frontier for the study of Medical Humanities.

Dr Catherine Burns is a researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). Her work has a particular focus on sexuality, reproduction and health in an African context. She has published papers on the history and anthropology of health; traditional medicine; medical, midwifery and nursing education; state versus missionary and community-based health services; the politics of sexuality and sexual health; and on cultures and histories of gender formation. Burns frequently lectures in the field of public health in Southern Africa, placing this region’s experiences into global perceptive, and is co-convenor of the Body Knowledge Conference at the University of the Witwatersrand in September 2013. She is also an editor for the humanities journal, African Studies, is on the board of the Adler Museum of Medical History, and is the Principal Investigator for the Project on Sex History (POSH) in Southern Africa.

This event will take place on Thursday 29 August 2013 at 17:30 in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Old Medical School Building, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town, and is free. Refreshments will be served from 17:00; no booking is necessary.

Presented by UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) and Department of Social Anthropology, this new public lecture series will speak to the growing interdisciplinary field of medical humanities, which includes the social sciences and the arts, in pursuit of intellectual synergies and their application to medical pedagogy and practice. For more information on this series, contact the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156 or fin-gipca@uct.ac.za.

Catherine Burns audio recording available for download.

Start: 29 Aug ’13 5:30 pm

End: 29 Aug ’13 6:30 pm

Cost: Free


Organizer: GIPCA

Email: fin-gipca@uct.ac.za

Venue: Anatomy Lecture Theatre

Phone: +27 21 480 7156

Address: Google Map 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa