Instances of abuse, neglect and disrespect to women in labour are not uncommon in South Africa's public health birthing facilities. These social injustices are surrounded by a pervasive silence that confronts undergraduate medical students in their first practical obstetrics rotation.
In this article I draw on affect theory to explore how students engage with these unjust practices. Through a diffractive analysis I question how drawings can be used to elicit affect as a pedagogic device towards developing a socially just pedagogy in obstetrics. In this ethics-approved study I address three aspects of student learning. Firstly, the ways in which the medical curriculum appears to obfuscate affect. Secondly, how affect is entangled in student learning, complicating responses to unjust practices. Thirdly, how drawings as data-in-the-making have elicited students' affective responses to confront difficult curriculum encounters. This visual methodology is thus opening in/determinate educational spaces for activism against unjust practices.
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