Associate Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Dec 2001
MPH, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, May 1995
Research Interests: Anthropology of medicine, healing and the body, African ethnography, Postcolonial science studies, Anthropology of knowledge/materiality, Ontological Politics, Cultural and feminist theory. Tanzania.
Cornell Graduate Fields: Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies and
To date, my most sustained examination of healing in Africa is my first book entitled Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania. This book examines how healers are generating new ways of conceptualizing the body and bodily threats as they confront a changing therapeutic landscape dominated by AIDS and malaria. I show how healers are crafting not only a new lexicon at the intersection of traditional and modern medicine, but also new hybrid objects and entities toward which their care is directed, including enchanted parasites and biomedical devils. The detailed accounts of therapies tell a new story of colonialism, post-independence socialism, and the rise of neoliberalism.
Many of the healers with whom I worked for this first project were curious about scientific investigations into plant, animal and mineral based medicines. Their curiosity--their hopes in and fears about the possibilities of collaboration with scientists-- drew my attention to the postcolonial laboratory. I am currently investigating the ways that new legal regimes and forms of capital are shaping scientific investigations into herbal medicine in Africa. International legal policies--particularly those on intellectual property articulated in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and administered through the World Trade Organization (WTO)—are re-formulating what counts as innovation and new knowledge in Africa (and elsewhere). In the process, they are also re-formulating the types of community and collaboration considered critical to scientific knowledge, the intellectual priorities and forms of achievement that drive "local" experts, and the notions of the commons and communal property believed to be viable.
This new research has shifted my attention slightly from a focus on the work of healers to the work of scientists, lawyers, government officials and policy makers--from therapies to the laboratory studies that are making traditional medicine. I remain interested however in the diverse (and, at times, seemingly conflicting) claims about the nature of the body and its threats, as well as the ways that these claims come to be coordinated at community, national, and global levels. In addition, through all of my research, I strive to bring the generative, creative activity of Africans to the center of debates in cultural and social theory and to highlight how the production of "Africa" is central to current global political, economic, technological and ethical regimes.
Affiliated Programs at Cornell
- Medicine, Culture & Society
- Healing and Medicine in Africa
- Anthropology of the Body
- Postcolonial Science
Honors and Affiliations
- 2011-present. Faculty Fellow. Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future (ACSF). Cornell University.
- 2010-present. Affiliate. Humanities Roundtable on Environmental Studies Topics (CREST). Cornell University.
- 2006-present. Associate Member. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Law, Organization, Science and Technology (LOST) Research Group.
Selected Books & Edited Volumes
- Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing (co-edited with Hansjoerg Dilger and Abdoulaye Kane). Indiana University Press.
- Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania. Indiana University Press.
Selected Articles & Book Chapters
- “The Choreography of Global Subjection: The Traditional Birth Attendant in Contemporary Configurations of World Health.” In Hansjoerg Dilger, Abdoulaye Kane, and Stacey Langwick (eds.) Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing. Indiana University Press.
- “Introduction,” Transnational Medicine, Mobile Experts: Globalization, Health and Power In & Beyond Africa (co-written with Hansjoerg Dilger and Abdoulaye Kane). In Hansjoerg Dilger, Abdoulaye Kane, and Stacey Langwick (eds.) Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing. Indiana University Press.
- “Healers and Scientists: The Epistemological Politics of Research about Medicinal Plants in Tanzania, or “Moving Away from Traditional Medicine.”” In Paul Wenzel Geissler and Sassy Molyneux (eds.) Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa. Berghahn Books. Pp. 263-295.
- “From Non-Aligned Medicines to Market-based Herbals: China’s Relationship to the Shifting Politics of Traditional Medicine in Tanzania,” Medical Anthropology 29(1): 1-29.
- “Articulate(d) Bodies: Traditional Medicine in a Tanzanian Hospital,” American Ethnologist 35(3): 428-439.
- “Devils, Parasites and Fierce Needles: Healing and the Politics of Translation in Southeastern Tanzania,” Science, Technology and Human Values 32(1): 88-117.
- “Geographies of Medicine: Interrogating the Boundary between ‘Traditional’ and ‘Modern’ Medicine in Colonial Tanganyika.” In Tracy J. Luedke and Harry G. West (eds.) Borders and Healers: Brokering Therapeutic Resources in Southeast Africa. Indiana University Press. Pp. 143-165.
- Foshee, V., Linder, F., Bauman K., Langwick, S., Arriaga, S., Heath, J., and Bangdiwala, K. “The Safe Dates Project: Theoretical Basis, Evaluation Design, and Selected Baseline Findings,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(3): 39-47.