The Humanities Institute presents “Partial Stories: Maternal Death From Six Angles”

Monday, March 28, 2022
2:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
The Humanities Institute presents “Partial Stories: Maternal Death From Six Angles”

By the early twenty-first century, about one woman in
twelve could expect to die of a pregnancy or childbirth
complication in Malawi. Specific deaths became object
lessons. Explanatory stories circulated through hospitals
and villages, proliferating among a range of practitioners:
nurse-midwives, traditional birth attendants, doctors,
epidemiologists, herbalists. Was biology to blame?
Economic underdevelopment? Immoral behavior?
Tradition? Were the dead themselves at fault?

In Partial Stories, Claire L. Wendland considers these explanations
for maternal death, showing how they reflect competing visions
of the past and shared concerns about social change. Drawing on
extended fieldwork, Wendland reveals how efforts to legitimate
a single story as the authoritative version can render care more
dangerous than it might otherwise be. Historical, biological,
technological, ethical, statistical, and political perspectives on death
usually circulate in different expert communities and different bodies
of literature. Here, Wendland considers them together, illuminating
dilemmas of maternity care in contexts of acute change, chronic
scarcity, and endemic inequity within Malawi and beyond.

This event is co-sponsored by the Social Science Research Institute
and the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Hybrid Event
Claire Wendland
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library


Event Type