series event

Knowledge Domains in the South – HIV/AIDS and Gender research in South Africa

GLOBAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR SERIES presents Knowledge Domains in the South – HIV/AIDS and Gender research in South Africa by Robert Morrell, PhD, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town. 


Over the last ten years or so there has been growing interest in the geopolitics of knowledge production. Raewyn Connell, the Australian theorist best known for her work on gender, suggested the term Southern Theory in a book of that name in 2007. What is well established is that the Global North dominates research publishing. Associated with this dominance are skews in research funding, publishing practices and hierarchies and in research agendas. If the broad brushstrokes are clear, we also know that the situation is dynamic and we do not have a lot of detail on how inequality is negotiated, how the balance of research power is playing out and, most importantly, what agency and power Southern researchers themselves have. In this presentation I address these questions looking specifically at HIV and AIDS research on the one hand and Gender on the other. We consider these as knowledge domains and use interviews with researchers to chart their contours.


Robert Morrell was trained in history at Rhodes, Wits and Natal Universities. His early work was on South African Agrarian history but this shifted to an interest in gender and masculinity in the 1990s. Working in a Faculty of Education for 20 years, he developed a focus on gender and education and wrote, with Debbie Epstein, Elaine Unterhalter, Deevia Bhana and Lebo Moletsane, Towards Gender Equality (2009). This booked looked at school interventions which blended HIV prevention with gender equality messages. He has a published many articles with Rachel Jewkes and her Medical Research Council colleagues on issues of masculinity, violence and HIV. More recently he has worked in the area of knowledge production editing (with Brenda Cooper) Africa-centred knowledges: Crossing fields and worlds (2014) and has been part of an Australia, Brazil and South Africa research collective researching Southern Theory. 


Free and open to all