November 11, 2020

My mother’s lungs

Leslie Swartz

I have recently completed a book manuscript, How I Lost My Mother, dealing, in part, with issues of care of my dying mother.  The book will appear in 2021.  For this presentation I propose to use the “Breath: Inspire/Expire” rubric to draw on material in the book and other sources to discuss my mother’s death from lung cancer, and that of my father-in-law from the same cause, and to link these personal experiences a year apart to discuss the politics of disavowal of older people in health care practices, and the politics of care.  I will also consider the trajectory of ideas about the body, breathing and lungs across different times, spaces and contexts.  I will consider the relationship between the intimate, the political and the environmental in thinking about and experiencing how bodies work and do not work.


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Leslie Swartz

About Leslie Swartz

Leslie Swartz is a clinical psychologist and distinguished professor of psychology at Stellenbosch University.  His work focuses on mental health and disability issues, focussing on questions of access, participation and rights in the southern African context.  He uses a range of methods in his work, ranging from quantitative to arts-based approaches.  His current work includes arts-based research on disability and sexuality in South Africa (, using photovoice and video.  A coedited book on this participatory project, written together with research participants, is due to be published open access by Palgrave in December 2020.  The book is entitled Disability and Sexuality: Stories from South Africa.  His memoir dealing with the politics and trajectory of care, entitled How I Lost My Mother, will be published by Wits University Press in the first half of 2021.