Age and the Body: Cultures and Conversations

Friday, 27 June, 2014 - 09:30

[Age and the Body Poster]The Medical Humanities at WISER present a two-day symposium on 27 and 28 June 

Age and the Body: Cultures and Conversations

This interdisciplinary symposium will explore a range of issues pertaining to the social, cultural, and legal contexts around organ transplantation and ageing, particularly in South Africa. Panels have been arranged around themes including ‘Law and the Lab,’ ‘Ageing and Dying,’ and 'Organs: Sacrifice, Giving and Receiving.' Participants include historians, medical doctors, sociologists, and anatomists.

The keynote, ‘New pathologies and old susceptibilities: Aging and chronic disease in India and South Africa (1940 – 50s)’ will be delivered by Kavita Sivaramakrishnan of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University on 27 June at 17:30. This event is opent to the public.

VENUE: WiSER Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building, East Campus, Wits University.

To attend the keynote or the workshop, RSVP Thea de Gruchy: or 082 923 6853.

Age and the Body – Cultures and Conversations | Symposium Programme

Hosted by WiSER | Friday 27 and Saturday 28 June 2014

Friday 27 June

Registration: 9:30 to 10:00

10:00 – 10:15


Tea and coffee


Setting the scene – the aims and motivating ideas for Medical Humanities in Africa at WITS



Catherine Burns (WiSER Wits)

Panel 1: Organs – Sacrifice, Giving and Receiving (11:00-13.00)

Chair: Pamila Gupta (WiSER WITS) and Rapporteur: Stephen Pentz (Anthropology WITS & Family Medicine, Chiawelo Centre)

11:00 – 11:30

On the trail of organ transplant in South Africa: a case study of paediatric live transplant

Dr Tina Sideris and Dr June Fabian (Donald Gordon Medical Centre and Wits Medical School)

11:30 – 11:45

Transplant stories: making meaning of intercorporeality through the use of online platforms

Kezia Lewins (Sociology, Wits)

11:45 – 12:00

Provisional thoughts on sacrifice, property and the body

Julia Hornberger (Anthropology Wits)

12:00 – 12:30

Receiving and being – a personal transplant journey

Rose Richards (Writing Laboratory, Stellenbosch University)

12:30 – 13:00

Questions and discussion


Lunch 13:00-14:00

Panel 2: Knowing The Body? (14:00-15:30)

Chair: Thabisani Ndlovu (Centre for Diversity Studies, WITS) and Rapporteur: Bianca Jacquet (Fine ART, WITS)

14:00 – 14:30

Trance/Trans: Transplant, translocation, and translation

The Moor and The Priest – a Middle Age Tale of Transplantation

Jane Taylor (Wole Soyinka Chair of Drama and Theatre Studies, Leeds University)

14.30 – 14:50

This body: not me, not mine, not myself

Dhammamegha (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Medical Humanities, WiSER, WITS)

14:50 – 15:10

Crip bodies enfleshing post-apartheid sovereignty?

Benita de Robillard (Drama, WITS)

15:10 – 15:30

Questions and discussion

Tea and Coffee Break 15:30-15:45

Panel 3: High Stakes – Identity and research in this field (15:45 to 17:15)

Chair: Prinisha Badassy (History, WITS) and Rapporteur: Kalema Masua (WiSER, WITS)

16:00 – 16:15

Tissues & Transplants at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital – conducting oral histories

Simonne Horwitz (History, University of Saskatchewan)

16:15 – 16:40

Thinking about heart transplants through two high Apartheid-era films – ‘Hoor my lied’ (1967) and ‘A New Life’ (1971) (more time for film extracts)

Carolé Cilliers (sociology, North-West Univeristy)

16:40 – 16:55

Exotic and Familiar in the Transplant World – thoughts on the WiSER/WITS research group

Renée van der Wiel van (Anthropology Graduate and researcher, WITS)

16:55 – 17:15

Questions and discussion


PLENARY – 17:30 cocktail gathering and public presentation

Kavita Sivaramakrishnan

Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

New Pathologies and Old Susceptibilities: Aging and Chronic Disease in India and South Africa (1940-50s)

Saturday 28 June

Tea and Coffee 9:00 - 9:30

Panel 4: Ageing and Dying (9:30-11:00)

Chair: Nolwazi Mkhwanazi (Anthropology, WITS) and Rapporteur: Shehnaz Munshi (WITS & Family Medicine, Chiawleo Centre)

9:30 – 9:45

Researching the 'chronic disease' epidemic in Africa

Megan Vaughan (Graduate Centre, City University of New York & Cambridge University)

9:45 – 10:00

Age: A useful category of historical analysis?

Sarah Duff (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Medical Humanities, WiSER WITS)

10:00 – 10:15

South Africa’s ageing low-income groups: current and future implications for the SA Department of Health

Thabisani Ndlovu (Centre for Diversity Studies, WITS)

10:30 – 10:45

Migrants in Johannesburg: Ethnographies of burial and reflections

Lorena Carrasco Nunez (Sociology, WITS)

10:45 – 11:15

Questions and discussion


Tea and Coffee 11:15 to 11:30

Panel 5: Law and the Lab (11:30-13:00)

Chair: Pamela Andanda (School of Law, WITS) and Rapporteur: Harriet Etheredge (Health Communication Research Unit, WITS)

11:30 – 11:50

The Human Tissue Act in context

Jonathan Klaaren (School of Law and WiSER, WITS)

11:50 – 12:10

Reflections from a scientist – The utilisation of autopsy services by mineworkers of South Africa

Julian Mthombeni (Biomedical Technology, University of Johannesburg)

12:10 – 12:30

Forensic Anatomy and Dying in Southern Africa

Patrick Randolph-Quinney (Anatomical Sciences, WITS)

12:30 – 12:50

Questions and Discussion


Lunch 13:00-14:00

Workshop session (14:00 —15:00)


Roundtable discussion about the way forward - research themes and ideas

Chair: Catherine Burns and Rapporteur: Thea de Gruchy

6pm Conference dinner at the LUCKY BEAN in Melville – lifts to be shared and arranged

WISER Research Theme: