What is Fieldnotes?

Fieldnotes is a platform for a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in applying critical health social science insights for improved population health. 

Our posts capture the range of voices who participate in the Division, not only research staff and postgraduate students, but also community members, NGO and activist partners and other university staff who are central to our research and teaching programmes.

Below is a list of our latest posts:


Welcome to Fieldnotes
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 - 10:30

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Fieldnotes, our new platform for promoting the role of critical health social science research in the field of public health. The Fieldnotes Editorial Team

Supporting Critical Social Science Research on Gender and HIV in South Africa
Tue, 16 Jul 2019 - 09:00

Since the beginning of the global HIV epidemic, issues of gender and sexuality have been front and centre in efforts to understand how the epidemic has unfolded around the world, and how we might best slow down and manage its effects. Christopher Colvin and Alison Swartz

Navigating Being a Mother and Low-Income Work in Urban and Rural KwaZulu-Natal
Tue, 11 Jun 2019 - 10:00

In a society which upholds a certain restrictive version of “ideal motherhood” but is plagued by high unemployment, unequal gender relations, and absent paternal figures, these women must continually battle the considerable tension between their role as mothers and their roles as labour force participants. Nonzuzo Mbokazi

A Quest for Affordable Health Care: MCSJ and Partners March to Parliament to Demand a Rapid Implementation of Government’s National Health Insurance Scheme
Tue, 28 May 2019 - 09:30

Its central demand was that the government rapidly implement the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. Myrna van Pinxteren and Zara Trafford

An American in Mzansi: Reflecting on Sex Education, Positionality, and the Role of Research
Sun, 12 May 2019 - 18:00

Currently, the United States is experiencing a time of political and social turmoil. To many it feels like the world is upside down. Rachael Gibson

In Search of Alternative Models of Scholarship on the Mental Health ‘Treatment Gap’
Thu, 11 Apr 2019 - 15:00

I would like to explore the following question: how we might produce alternative forms of meaning-making on the mental health ‘treatment gap’ in Africa? Sara Cooper

Personal Protective Equipment for Tuberculosis Infection Prevention and Control in the Western Cape: Disjunctures Between Policy and Practice
Sun, 24 Mar 2019 - 09:45

South Africa has an extremely high incidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) with 834 cases per 100 000 people, compared to 195/100 000 in other high burden countries. Idriss Kallon

Penile-Vaginal Heteronormativity in Defining Sex, Virginity, and Abstinence: Implications for Research and Public Health in sub-Saharan Africa
Sun, 10 Feb 2019 - 21:00

The manner in which sexual behaviour terms are defined, operationalised and interpreted has implications for research, policy, and clinical practice, and is central to ensuring the accuracy of reporting and the efficacy of interventions. Zoe Duby

Coming of Age in Khayelitsha: Lessons on Certainty and Privilege
Mon, 28 Jan 2019 - 20:00

Bleary eyed from twenty-four hours of travel, disoriented, and hungry, I arrived in Cape Town in May 2017 suddenly all too aware of two facts: I was very far from home... Lauren Greenwood

Beyond the Numbers: Why Qualitative Data Should Not Be Used to Make Quantifying Claims--Understanding the Real Value of Qualitative Research
Mon, 10 Dec 2018 - 09:00

Quantitative data is often assumed to carry more scientific value and is thought of as more rigorous, objective and relevant to the world of public health than its qualitative counterpart. Lario Viljoen

Personal Reflections From Attending the British Academy Writing Workshop
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 - 09:00

Since 2014, I have been trying to write up a publication from my master’s research that focused on the fruit and vegetable consumption in the area of Mitchells Plain, an urban community in Cape Town. Catherine Pereira

Can Activism and Academic Research Go Hand in Hand? A Personal Reflection on Community Engagement in Gugulethu
Mon, 22 Oct 2018 - 09:00

In the middle of Gugulethu, there is a dentistry clinic that was always overcrowded. People would wait in line from 5am to see the dentist. Myrna van Pinxteren