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Stacey A. Langwick

Associate Professor

Stacey A. Langwick

Mcgraw Hall, Room 260

Educational Background

PhD Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Masters of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Bachelor of Arts, Agnes Scott College. 



I am a cultural and medical anthropologist. My research, teaching, collaborations and program building focus on healing and medicine in Africa. In addition to a PhD in Anthropology, I also hold a Master’s Degree in Public Health. I have conducted fieldwork on traditional and alternative healing practices in Africa for over twenty years. In my writing and work, I am particularly interested in processes of knowing and unknowing, forms of collaboration and modes of embodiment that strive to articulate possibilities for justice in the wake of dispossession and trajectories of healing in response to the slow and not-so-slow violence of the combined health and environmental crises that define the 21st century.

At Cornell, I teach both undergraduate and graduate courses on medical anthropology, the body, postcolonial science, toxicity, critical plant studies and Africa. In Tanzania, I have taught and mentored medical students on ethics and qualitative methodologies.

I am an active member of the Global Health Program. I also serve as the lead faculty for the Qualities of Life working group in the Einaudi Center, a co-organizer of the Ecological Learning Collaboratory and a member of the international group Translating Vitalities. All of these collaborative initiatives are experimenting with authorship, voice, the medium of work, the nitty-gritty of collective practice, and the possibility of establishing the relations that might generate new senses and sensibilities, new bodies and modes of being. Currently I have also been serving as a co-organizer for the CNY Mellon Corridor working group on Health Humanities: Medicine, Illness, Disability, and Culture. My current research interests lie in the entanglements of ecological and bodily health. Recently, I have particularly enjoyed my ever-growing connection with the Johnson Art Museum and am very interested in art as a space in which things that exist in radically different registers of knowledge (medicine and myth for example) may be made proximate - a move that is critical to any decolonization of knowledge/matter.



Anthropology of medicine, healing and the body. Ethnography of care and chronicity. Postcolonial science studies. Intellectual property. Anthropology of knowledge/materiality. Ontological Politics. Cultural theory. African ethnography. Tanzania.


  • Africana Studies and Research Center
  • Anthropology
  • Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
  • Science and Technology Studies

Graduate Fields

  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
  • Science and Technology Studies


  • Institute for African Development
  • Global Health Program


    In my first book, Bodies, Politics and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania (2011) I examine how healers in Tanzania are generating new ways of conceptualizing the body and bodily threats as they confront a changing therapeutic landscape dominated by AIDS and malaria. In my research and writing of this book, I attend closely to the ontological politics of healing in Tanzania (that is, struggles of who and what constitutes the realm of the real). In so doing, I tell a new story of colonialism and postcolonialism through the struggles of healers, nurses, doctors, and patients over what constitutes bodies and bodily threats in contemporary Africa. I also co-edited Medicine, Mobility and Power in Global Africa (2012), a volume which highlights the transnational circulation of medicines, technologies, experts, bureaucratic models and techniques of care in and out of Africa.

    I am currently working on a second book, Medicines that Feed Us: Plants, Sovereignty and Healing in a Toxic World, which is about the relationship between toxicity and remedy. It weaves a story that reworks the pasts and the futures of these relations through healing in Tanzania. This book brings attention to Tanzanians who are striving to generate inventive projects and fertile collaborations that enable alternative ways of living and dying, growing and decaying, composing and decomposing. Through the creation of a new mode of healing they are reframing notions of ecological and bodily health. Their daring fosters imaginative and practical experiments in conceptualizing new forms of political and therapeutic sovereignty and real possibilities for ongoingness in the 21st century. As the chapters of the book unfold, I describe Tanzanians efforts to change the terms of the debate not only over possible planetary futures, but also over the sites of struggle and spaces of healing.

    I am also drawn to experiments and collaborations that disrupt the relations the inhere in histories dispossession and inequality by enacting alternative modes of existence and forms of liveliness. One such project I co-lead is the Uzima Collective -- a groups of scholars, public health specialists, clinicians, artists and community leaders in Tanzania and the United States. We are interested in cultivating a space (or spaces) through which to innovate ways that medicine might more effectively apprehend the many complex scalar relations that make up bodies and ecologies. To this end, we have begun to cultivate a garden at the heart of a medicine school in Moshi, Tanzania. We are interested in cultivating enduring interventions into the environments of health and reimagining the what medicine can and should be in the face of climate change. Our first article on this project, co-authored with my colleague Mary Mosha, which historicized the kind of garden that has been central to generating biomedical knowledge and argues for the urgency in reimagining the garden as an object of medicine in the More-than-Human Anthropocene.

    In recent years, my work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Cornell Society for the Humanities, the Institute for Social Sciences at Cornell and the Einaudi Center for International Studies. As a Mellon New Directions Fellow, I studied intellectual property law (2011-2012) with particular interest changing regimes of property in relation to plants and therapeutic knowledge.


      Spring 2021



      Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing. Co-edited with Hansjoerg Dilger and Abdoulaye Kane  Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 2012

      Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2011

      Journal Articles

      in press. “Properties of (Dis)Possession: Therapeutic Plants, Intellectual Property, and Questions of Justice in Tanzania,” Special issue on Therapeutic Properties: Global Medical Cultures, Knowledge, and Law edited by Helen Tilley, Osiris, expected 2021.

      2018. “A Politics of Habitability: Plants, Healing and Sovereignty in a Toxic World.” Cultural Anthropology 33(3): 415-443.

      2017. Liwa, A., R. Roediger, H. Jaka, A. Bougaila, L. Smart, S. Langwick and R. Peck. “Herbal and Alternative Medicine Use in Tanzanian Adults Admitted with Hypertension-related Diseases: A Mixed-methods Study,” International Journal of Hypertension 3:1-9.

      2015. “Partial Publics: The Political Promise of Traditional Medicine in Africa.”  Current Anthropology 63(4) August, with commentaries by by Rajshree Chandra, Rosemary Coombe, Ruth Prince, Noelle Sullivan, and Claire Wendland.

      2012. "Agitating for Hope, Learning to Care." Comments on Clare Wendland's article, "Animating Biomedicine's Moral Order: The Crisis of Practice in Malawian Medical Training," Current Anthropology

      2010. From Non-Aligned Medicines to Market-based herbals: China's relationship to the Shifting Politics of Traditional Medicine in Tanzania. Medical Anthropology

      2008. Articulate(d) Bodies: Traditional Medicine in a Tanzanian Hospital. American Ethnologist.

      2007. Devils, Parasites and Fierce Needles: Healing and the Politics of Translation in Southeastern Tanzania. Science, Technology, and Human Values.

      Book Chapters

      forthcoming. “The Garden: New Objects of Medicine in the More-than-Human Anthropocene,” in Anna Harris and John Notts (eds) Between Blackboards and Formaldehyde: The Matters of Medical Knowledge. Intellect.

      2018. “Healing in the Anthropocene.” In Keiichi Omura, Atsuro Morita, Shiho Satsuka and Grant Jun Otsuki (eds.) The World Multiple: Politics of Knowing and Generating Entangled Worlds. Routledge.

      2017. “The Value of Secrets: Pragmatic Healers and Proprietary Knowledge.” In William Olsen and Carolyn Sargent (eds.) African Medical Pluralism. Indiana University Press. Pp. 31-49.

      2012. “The Choreography of Global Subjection: The Traditional Birth Attendant in Contemporary Configurations of World Health.”  In Dilger, Kane, and Langwick (eds.) Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing. Indiana University Press.

      2012. “Introduction,” Transnational Medicine, Mobile Experts: Globalization, Health and Power In & Beyond Africa (co-written with Hansjoerg Dilger and Abdoulaye Kane). In Dilger, Kane, and Langwick (eds.) Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing. Indiana University Press.

      2011 hardcover/2017 paperback. “Healers and Scientists: The Epistemological Politics of Research about Medicinal Plants in Tanzania, or “Moving Away from Traditional Medicine.”” In Geissler and Molyneux (eds.) Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa. Berghahn Books. Pp. 263-295.

      2006. “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.

      Photo Essay

      2018. “Cultivating Vitality: A Photo Essay,” Anthropology News website, 24 January.



      News and Events

      "Stacey Langwick receives fellowship for work on toxicity and healing"

      Food and Healing Justice workshop I, Ecological Learning Collaboratory

      "Anthropologist explores toxicity and healing in East Africa"

      Planting Futures Garden, Qualities of Life working group

      "Langwick Awarded Institute for Social Sciences Grant"

      "Langwick wins grant to study African Law"


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