Catherine Burns

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Catherine Burns was educated at WITS, the Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University, where she earned her PhD in History. Her research interests focus on medical and health history, the history and ethnography of reproduction and sex, ethics in biomedical research, and the history of gender in southern Africa. She has taught at several universities in the USA, and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she was based from 1995-2009. From 1999 to 2002 she was head of the interdisciplinary Programme of Gender Studies, and from 2005-2007 head of History at UKZN -- where she was Associate Professor of History from 2005 until her appointment as a Technical Advisor at the Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health, a Division of WITS Health Consortium, in Durban. Catherine joined WISER in January 2012. Catherine has taught in History, in Medicine and Public Health, and in Gender Studies, and has supervised many masters & doctoral students across several disciplines, history; sociology; anthropology; politics; nursing; religious studies; development studies and public health. She is completing a manuscript for a jointly authored book on the history of a major health institution in the region and inaugurated a Project on Sex Histories (POSH). Catherine, with Ashlee Masterson, convened Body Knowledge: Medicine and the Humanities in Conversation, an international conference in September 2013 at WITS. The second Symposium in this theme was held in June 2014; and in 2015 and 2016 several smaller international, African-based and local workshops and colloquia have focused on specific threads: on Silicosis and Mining; on Transplant; on Sex History; on Ageing; and on Neuro. Several research groups under the "Medical Humanities in Africa" title meet throughout the year. See the link to notices from "Medical Humanities" on this web site. Catherine is also working on getting to press the biography of a herbalist and midwife who lived and practised in South Africa from 1880 to 1940. She is the editor of African Studies, an internationally-rated interdisciplanry journal, in continuous existence since 1922. See:

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