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Centre of African Studies: News


Memorial Conference John McCracken and T. Jack Thompson 26 April 2018

Conference Programme now live!




Politics, Society and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond

A Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

Thursday 26 April 2018, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, 9am-5:30pm

hosted by Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh, Division of History and Politics, University of Stirling, Scotland-Malawi Partnership

sponsored by British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi


Registration from 08:30 to 09:00.


 9:00-10:00: Two Malawi Historians Remembered (Martin Hall)

 Opening remarks by Gerhard Anders and Brian Stanley (University of Edinburgh)

(09:00 to 09:10)

John McCracken and Jack Thompson: Malawianists and friends to remember

Kings M. Phiri (Mzuzu University)

(09:10 to 09:25)

Memories of John McCracken (09:25 to 09:45)

(i)             Megan Vaughan (University College London)

(ii)           David Bebbington (University of Stirling)

Memories of Jack Thompson (09:45-09:55)

James L. Cox (University of Edinburgh – prerecorded)


10:00-11:15: The Academy in Society (Martin Hall)

chair: John Lonsdale (University of Cambridge)

The influence of John McCracken's scholarship on historical writing about Malawi between 1977 and 2017

Wapulumuka O. Mulwafu (University of Malawi, Zomba)

Commemorating and speculation in Malawi: The past and future role of the arts and humanities researcher in Malawi

Chisomo Kalinga (University of Edinburgh)

Andrew Ross, John McCracken and Jack Thompson: Three Malawi historians and their influence on Scotland-Malawi relations today

Kenneth R. Ross (Scotland-Malawi Partnership)


Tea-Coffee (11:15 to 11:30)


11:30-13:00: Material and Visual Culture (Elizabeth Templeton Lecture Room)

chair: Tom Molony (University of Edinburgh)

Malawi’s political culture: Shared and contested historical memories

Clement Mweso (National Archives of Malawi, Zomba)

The UMCA at Pitt Rivers Museum: Object lives and histories of Malawi collections

Chimemwe Phiri (University of Oxford)

Stirrings in Africa – The Peter Mackay Archive

Rosie Al-Mulla (University of Stirling)

The African Collections of National Museums Scotland

Lawrence Dritsas (University of Edinburgh) and Sarah Worden (National Museums of Scotland)


Lunch (13:00 to 14:00; Rainy Hall)


14:00-15:30 PANEL A: Malawi and Global History (Martin Hall)

chair: Owen Kalinga (North Carolina State University)

Chieftaincy in Kasungu: Reinvented, re-emergent, or resilient?

Joey Power (Ryerson University, Toronto)

Malawi and migration: Enduring concerns and new directions

Zoë Groves (University of Leicester)

Clements Kadalie in imperial Britain: Confronting the limits of race, Christian brotherhood and socialist solidarity

Henry Mitchell (University of Edinburgh)

Pastors, priests and prophets: Poverty and religion in Malawi 1953 – 2018

John Lwanda (University of Glasgow)


14:00-15:30 PANEL B:

Christianity and Political Change in Africa (Elizabeth Templeton Lecture Room)

chair: Emma Hunter (University of Edinburgh)

Christianity, colonialism and the Gikuyu body politic

Tom Cunningham (University of Edinburgh)

Frederick Nkhonde and the African Church of Christ: The invention of orthodoxy

Joshua Newell (University of Oxford)

Federation, the Church of Scotland, and the visual image

Jeffrey G. Cannon (University of Edinburgh)

The Resilience of the Ngoni in the face of the Livingstonia Missionaries, 1899-1964

Jamu Nyirenda (Mzuzu University)


Tea-Coffee (15:30 to 15:45)


15:45-17:00: Christian Missions and the Making of Modern Malawi (Martin Hall)

chair: Emma Wild-Wood (University of Edinburgh)

The rise and fall of Christian humanism in 19th-Century Malawi

Harri Englund (University of Cambridge)

Mobilities and medicines in colonial Malawi: Networks of empire, missions and labour

Markku Hokkanen (University of Oulu)

A wind of change blew through the mission, too

Colin Cameron (Scotland-Malawi Partnership)


Closing Remarks and Performance by Moyenda (17:00 to 17:30)

Chifira village