series event

Ten years in Balaka, Malawi: An excerpt from in-progress book manuscript, An Epidemic of Uncertainty

‘Population Change in Africa: Interdisciplinary Conversations’, a webinar series organised by the African Population History Network (APHiN) and hosted by the Population Studies Group and the Centre for History in Public Health.

Ten Years in Balaka outlines the main contours of population change in Balaka, Malawi between 2009-2019. This includes rapid population growth, urbanisation, the introduction and proliferation of mobile phones, educational expansion, the arrival of new technologies for treating HIV and a series of three distinct policies for rationing treatment in an environment of high-demand and limited resources. This is a decade of significant social transformation and uncertainty is a predictable accompaniment of change.  

In this webinar, Dr Jenny Trinitapoli will introduce the Tsogolo La Thanzi (TLT) study, describing its origins, design, procedures, epistemological underpinnings and limitations.  She will describe the challenges of longitudinal studies, including the perennial problem of disentangling age and time and distinguishing compositional change from substantive change.  

Contrasting the view of professional demographers with ways ordinary people talk about demographic phenomena, Dr Trinitapoli will introduce the notion of population chatter and provide examples of how demographic phenomena are narrated and debated in everyday conversation. Using the TLT survey data, she will show how the HIV prevalence among women triples over the study period.  

The study shows how HIV is far from over and uncertainty about HIV looms large both in everyday conversation and in the survey data. 


Dr Jenny Trinitapoli, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago 

Please note that the recording link will be listed on this page when available 


Follow webinar link. Free and open to all. No registration required.