I'm a medical humanities scholar working with indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) to explore how storytelling, [non]fiction text, narratives inform health in Malawian . This is a ethnographic endeavor. Transdisciplinary in its reach to connect various schools of thought.
I was introduced to this field by Professor Steve Chimombo who not only informed me to stop relying on Western texts & connect with local literary practice but also introduced me to a wide field of critical thinking by regional scholars and custodians of knowledge.
Not all of the scholars here identify as decolonial scholars but I use their work in my approach to analyse Malawian health literature. Inter/multi/disciplinary approaches are key to decolonising studies. It's about abandoning structures & boundaries, not feel good inclusion.
Watching @Sherry_Abdulla in the field is galvanising. I've learned so much about community engagement from her. Originally a theatre development scholar, her work looks at indigenous knowledge, community engagement and applied theatre practices.
She is a leading practitioner following the late Prof Christopher Kamlongera, a key developer of theatre for development (TfD) in Malawi. This work is key in establishing the links between literary practice, its ancient roots and modern application. cambridge.org/core/journals/…
Again, this is important because African literary and storytelling practice are informed by oral traditions. Therefore, there needs to be an engagement with community to understand these narratives.
@TumaCMalenga developed qualitative community-peer system to look at knowledge transmission for malaria vectors. This critical study is important in shaping my analysis of transmission of knowledge which can fall in the remit of IKS. …balizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.11…
The community engagement work of @DeborahNyirend1 is also a key influence in my approach. Community knowledge is a participatory practice but one that can lead to extractive practices. Her ethical approach is central in informing global health research. wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/3-115…
When conducting field research in Chitipa, I relied on the linguistic analysis of Cilambya as analysed by the brilliant @atimtenje. Her work is also rooted in communication practices to improve health research and the global medical humanities. researchgate.net/publication/33…
She was the organiser of the absolutely brilliant 2019 @mustmalawi Medical Humanities: Ways of Knowledge workshop. The Bingu School of Culture and Heritage (BISCH) is THEE place to visit. They have scholars working on indigenous approaches to sports and disability inclusion...
...Sena indigenous thought and beliefs. Their scholars have the most comprehensive engagement with various clans, nations and ethnic groups from Chitipa to Nsanje. To connect with what research is taking place in IKS, it is essential to start here.
MUST is home to biologist/virologist @GamaBee Dr Gama Bandawe, with extensive knowledge on umunthu & indigenous knowledge systems. It has been so important for me to learn from scientists who also have footing in indigenous philosophy and its application to community knowledge.
There is the absolutely brilliant Dr Chiwoza Bandawe a clinical psychologist in Malawi and works tirelessly to dispel myths about mental illnesses. A board member of the @MalawiMedHums Network, his work incorporates IKS to understand myths/misconceptions. ajol.info//index.php/mmj…
Although he would cringe at being labelled a decolonial scholar my uncle Prof Owen Kalinga assembled the historical dictionary of Malawi which relied on his deep ethnographic work spanning 50 years. books.google.co.uk/books/about/Hi…
I will never have the type of knowledge base and linguistic skills to carry out this type of work that he did. But it literally is the starting point for me as I try to ground my work in the historical placement--temporal & geographic--of people and occurrences in Malawi.
The multidisciplinary work of Dr John Lwanda's study of Malawi's medical history is unmatched. Furthermore, he's a GP who also conducts ethnographic studies on music in Malawi. His work is so important in understanding how literature informs politics. tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.108…
One of the best field trips, I organised was to the Museum of Ethnographic Objects in Chileka which is run by ethnomusicologist Dr Moya Malamusi a student of Professor Kubic. They maintain a precious collection endangered indigenous musical instruments. malawimedhumsnetwork.com/oral-literatur…
I can't tell you how much I cherish learning from @ChimweMal Chimwemwe Phiri, a visual anthropologist who is right now conducting archival fieldwork at National Archives of Zomba looking into photographs taken by colonial medical officers . wellcome.org/grant-funding/…
This important work is constructing a story about the development of visual representations of diseases and how decolonial approaches can guide approaches to managing disease outbreaks and epidemics in the present era.
Malawian feminist @MsTingaK has reshaped my understanding of womanhood on the Malawian public sphere. She's a sociologist who has been constructing stories about women shaping Malawi's cultural and public spaces, starting with sex worker unions, sex tourism & legality in Malawi.
Another gender studies analyst whose work informs mine is @dnyangulu whose literary analysis broadens the scope of both comparative masculinity studies and cultural studies. Here's a link to her recent co-edited book on Africans in Europe and belonging... taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/…
The scholar shaping LGBT Human Rights in Malawi is the indefatigable @decolonialqueer. Their work centers the rights and plight of LGBT Malawians and they have several writing projects in the pipeline that look at indigenous constructions of sexuality. Much needed intervention¬
Another good friend that I look up to is @almsosa. He and a dedicated team did the first survey of attitudes towards LGBT citizens of Malawi, groundbreaking in the way it centered indigenous language and terms to better ascertain beliefs & attitudes. awdflibrary.org/handle/1234567…
A shout out to @asante_lucy a literary scholar whose interdisciplinary work reasrches into cultural constructions of feminism, femininity and sexuality. Her paper on the arrest of Beatrice Mateyo looks into the colonial language of women's modesty. taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/…
When it comes to spaces and places, it is important to look into traditional medicine practices. I rely on so many traditional healers, many of whom are not on Twitter to engage in the storytelling practice.
The Africa Center of Excellence in Public Health & Herbal Medicine (ACEPHEM) led by Prof Adamson Muula exists and it is the only institution that I know of in Malawi that works directly with traditional healers to test the efficacy of traditional medicine. acephem.medcol.mw
Last but not least is the ethereal Agnes Mizere @amizere who is the custodian of so much folklore that I will eternally press her to publish. She has been a force in shaping the Malawian journalism community. Her writings are abundant and are key to helping me shape my research.

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More from @MissChisomo

9 Jun
I'm jumping on the back of this tweet to carry on with what has gone wrong with decolonial studies in the UK.

Get ready for blunt critiques (healthy for the system)

There are currently no departments, institutes or centres that are truly prepared for decolonial studies.
My transition from Literature departments to Anthropology came from the fact that no literature department in the United Kingdom understood how my work was literary. And that is because the study of African literature as it is currently taught is modeled on the Western...
...definition of what literature is and how it should be taught. My project did not seek to be 'inclusive' of indigenous African literary practice. It sought to centre it. It expanded beyond the text and the reader to be inclusive of the community.
Read 7 tweets
27 Jan
I want to have a heart to heart talk with Global North scholars about decolonial research.

1). Connect to what is being written in global south, Indigenous scholarship especially within settler colonies first. This is where the ideas began & where it keeps re-emerging.
2) right now, GN decoloniality is more fixated in self-flagellation than actually engaging with knowledge production from the Global South. Redirect the gaze. Even if you’re trying to show how awful colonialism is, decolonisation is alwaud focused on liberatory theories.
3) decoloniality is not diversity, inclusion and equality work nor is it about representational politics. These are important but independent fields which intersect in multiple arenas. Conflating them doesn’t help anything.
Read 8 tweets

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