Julie Livingston

Visiting Professor of History, Social and Cultural Analysis

New York University

Julie Livingston is interested in care as a social practice and the human body as a moral condition and mode of experience. Much of her research has focused on the ethical entanglements engendered by bodily vulnerability. She is also a committed ethnographer, whose work moves across and often combines the disciplines of history, public health, and anthropology. For the past two decades she has worked mainly in Botswana, in southern Africa. Livingston's first book, Debility and the Moral Imagination in Botswana, employed historical and anthropological methods to explore the rise in three domains of debility in Botswana over the past century: disability, chronic illness, and senescence. The book pursued pragmatic concerns that arise in the face of debility in a migrant labor regime, and also related epistemological and moral questions that emerge amid profound disruptions of bodily norms. Her second book, Improvising Medicine, is an ethnography of Botswana’s lone cancer ward. The book narrates the story of this place as a microcosm of global health and the cancer epidemic rapidly emerging in the global south, while also using this setting to query the movement of carcinogenic capitalism, and the master-narratives of cancer in the U.S (and the global north more broadly). Livingston's current research focuses on the aftermaths of suicide.