Bodies of Knowledge: Children and Childhoods in Health and Affliction ASnA Symposium

The symposium is an extension of the ideas put forward through the edited collection of works presented in the book Bodies of Knowledge: Childhoods in Health and Affliction (2021) by Efua Prah and Susan Levine. The symposium aims to continue the discussion about young people, adolescents, and childhoods across varied geographies, timescales and contexts using film and discursive panels to explore children and childhoods in contexts of affliction, health, and well-being. With the support of the Goethe Institue, as part of the day’s proceedings, the screening of Supa Modo (2018), an internationally co-produced drama film directed by Kenyan director Likarion Wainaina, will add a necessary highlighting of the importance of engaging in transdisciplinary knowledge-generating platforms.

A further aim is to explore the collaborative potential across institutions both locally and internationally, which is why two experts in the field of youth, childhoods and children in Africa, Prof. Saheed Aderinto and Prof. Uyilawa Usuanlele, have been invited to explore links that will result in further institutional partnerships, the building of knowledge-sharing platforms and exploring opportunities for joint research publications. Prof. Saheed Aderinto whose extensive research challenges conceptions of children and childhood in African colonial histories, and critical engagement with agency and social transformation will provide valuable insight to our discussions. Prof. Uyilawa Usuanlele research on education development, performativity and experiences of childhood and youth histories will offer significant insights into our discussions and related event activities.  

The global analytical record remains rather thin in its rendering of child worlds as credible sites from which we can understand sociality, which of course only signals the import of understanding how, when, where and why young people figure in the world. The symposium hugs the contours of what Bodies of Knowledge: Childhoods in Health and Affliction (2021) outlines – youth, children and childhood studies. The academically positioned research, the artworks, the poetry and the short story presented in the book add a variegated lens to an already well-established scholarship on children, young people and childhoods in Southern Africa. The point of departure that this kind of book inspires, and what I hope the symposium will engender, is a careful curation of how we may hold political economies of health and illness toward a light that frames cultures of knowing and being from a multiplicity of other sites of knowledge production – social sciences, art, poetry and the literary arts. In this way, it continues the conversation of the myriad permutations of the worlds in and through which young people navigate health and well-being in Africa.

Space is limited so, to reserve a spot, please email Hameedah Parker: