Africa at Noon on March 9, 2016

“He Was Going To Kill Me, I Persevered: Domestic Violence and the Assertion of Custom In Malawian Courts”

Anika Wilson
Associate Professor, Department of Africology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Download Poster (pdf)

Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


Women take cases of domestic violence to Malawian District Courts, sometimes making their case by referencing new laws, other times by asserting their own adherence to custom, particularly their longsuffering. How effective are these strategies? How do judges respond?


Anika Wilson earned her doctorate in Folklore and Folklife Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and specializes in the gender and narrative in southern Africa. Her book Folklore, Gender, and AIDS in Malawi: No Secret Under the Sun (2013) was awarded the Elli Kongas Maranda Award for feminist scholarship in folklore in 2014. She teaches courses in African cultures and societies, health, and gender relations. Her current projects involve the analysis of narratives in divorce court transcripts from Malawi and research into legends and beliefs related to spirituality, religion, and ecology in central and southern Africa.