Positions and Positioning: Women in South Africa and Feminist Thought (Guest Lecture Dr. Mandisa Mbali)

Datum / Uhrzeit:
23.05.18   /  12:30 - 14:00

Dr. Eva Ulrike Pirker (Ang V)

Haus der Universität (Schadowplatz 14, 40212 Düsseldorf)


This English-language lecture and discussion is part of
 a HHU master seminar in African women writers and
 feminist thought. The lecture is open to the public.
 Recommended preparatory reading: Sindiwe Magona,
 Mother to Mother.

Dr. Mandisa Mbali is a senior lecturer in historical studies at the University of Cape Town. Her research and teaching sits in the intersecting fields of historical epistemology and social anthropology and she specialises in questions around the politics of health, AIDS activism and gender, race and class in South Africa.

In South Africa, the women’s movement has been deeply fractured by
racial divisions. In the post-apartheid era, motherhood has remained an
important site of black feminist struggle. Mandisa Mbali will give a
short contextual overview and then address literary fiction and AIDS
activism, two fields in which black women’s voices trouble patriarchal
notions of motherhood and acknowledge the inequitable ‘work of
motherhood’: Sindiwe Magona’s novel Mother to Mother contains
reflections on dominant normative concepts of motherhood as silencing in
relation to the structural inequalities which shape black women’s lives.
Similarly, black feminist AIDS activists have recently come to critique
idealised woman-as-mother approaches to preventive advocacy, according
to which HIV-positive women bore the sole symbolic burden of being
stigmatised as disease vectors, only valued in terms of the extent to
which they could have healthy babies. Literature and activism can
project a more comprehensive, in the best case policy-shaping
understanding of women’s sexuality and role.



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