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Dr Patricia Henderson

Dr Patricia Henderson studied anthropology at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town, and was offered a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She has conducted ethnographic research in Botswana and in Limpopo Province; New Crossroads, Cape Town and Okhahlamba, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Having taught anthropology at the Universities of Cape Town, Johns Hopkins and Stellenbosch, she now teaches at Rhodes University. Her fields of interest include anthropological approaches to the study of children and youth, medicine and healing, gender and sexuality, and creativity and performance.  The theoretical and philosophical approaches that inform her work include phenomenology, the anthropology of the senses, theories of embodiment, and the examination of language and silence in the face of the exigencies of everyday life. She is interested in how sociality within the context of inequalities and oppressions is formed, unravelled, reformed and transcended.

Contact Details

Tel:  +27 (0)46 6037414

Email:  P.Henderson@ru.ac.za


B Soc Sc (MA) Anthropology – University of the Witwatersrand

PhD Anthropology – University of Cape Town

Research Interests

Medical anthropology; anthropology of creativity and performance; gender and sexuality; childhood and youth studies; anthropology of the senses.

Theoretical interests

Phenomenology and embodiment; ethics.


An exploration of figures of the child and how they are deployed in global discourse. The manner in which children and youth shape social, economic and political worlds in ways that are often unacknowledged. Finding inventive methods of attending to and documenting the everyday lives of children and youth. Exploring children and youths’ creative genres, and in particular children’s song. Writing about creativity and self-stylization in relation to contemporary South African artists through exploring the work of Gregory Maqoma, Zanele Muholi, Mary Sibanda and Nicholas Hlobo and relating it to theories of potentiality, hope, desire and futurity. Tracing the lives of people living with and alongside HIV/AIDs in Okhahlamba, KwaZulu-Natal. Writing about young people’s relationship with the environment in which they lived in Okhahlamba during a time of AIDS.

Last Modified: Wed, 27 Jul 2022 15:23:55 SAST