Stacey Langwick

Stacey LangwickNetwork Member

Stacey Langwick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree as well as a PhD in Anthropology. Before joining Cornell in 2006, she was an assistant professor at the University of Florida jointly appointed in Anthropology and Women & Gender Studies. Her book, Bodies, Politics and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania (2011) examines the ontologicial politics of traditional medicine. In so doing, it tells 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. She 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. Her articles and essays have appeared in American EthnologistCurrent AnthropologyScience, Technology and Human ValuesMedical Anthropology, and a number of edited volumes. In recent years, her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren, Fulbright, 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, Langwick studied intellectual property law (2011-2012) with particular interest changing regimes of property in relation to plants and therapeutic knowledge. She is also the lead faculty member for the Qualities of Life working group in the Mario Einaudi International Studies Center and a co-organizer of the Ecological Learning Collaboratory.
At Cornell, she serves in the graduate fields for Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, the Africana Studies and Research Center, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies and is also an active member of the Global Health program.

Current position
Associate Professor
University affiliation
Cornell University


Stacey is currently working on two research projects. The first — The Politics of Habitability: Plants, Sovereignty and Healing in a Toxic World — accounts for the rise of a new form of therapy in Tanzania, referred to by some as dawa lishe, or nutritious medicines. This emergent field of practice reorganizes relations between agriculture and medicine in order to articulate the threats to well-being that structure the contemporary moment and to experiment with responses. Through it Tanzanians explore: what forms of vitality, of growth, are possible today? Who and what can grow ampler and more vital in Tanzania and how? Stacey examines how dawa lishe translates and (re)configures notions of medicine, property, chronicity and crisis that are fundamental to global health. She argues that in the process of exploring that which is required to sustain, to endure, and to thrive, Tanzanian herbal producers are articulating a politics of habitability.

The second — (Un)ethical Substances: The Power of Skin in East Africa – is a newer project interested in efforts to stop the current wave of attacks on people with albinism. Stacey is tracking the ways that political and therapeutic projects concerning albinism in Africa are elaborating and solidifying some notions of skin and understandings of its vitality, while they refuse, deny, or ignore others. She hypothesizes that attending to the reactivity, volume, texture, sensation, color and temperature of skin in East Africa has become deeply contested and explicitly ethical work. Her ethnographic work revels how the vitality of skin has come to matter differently in healing, medicine, witchcraft, advocacy and love and how it has come to embody both political and therapeutic potential. Two primary questions drive this fieldwork: What conditions the powers and potentials – the capacities and vulnerabilities – of skin in East Africa at the turn of the millennium? How do these powers structure acts of violence and care, harming and healing? Conflicts over the power of skin in Africa demand a careful rethinking of the politics of postcolonial bodies. In this research, Stacey is interested in the forms of knowledge and practice that shape the capacities and vulnerabilities of skin in East Africa, and that come to constitute the space of both pleas for humanity and articulations of the humane.


  • Langwick, Stacey (2018) "Cultivating Vitality: A Photo Essay." in Anthropology News website, January 24, 2018. →
  • Langwick, Stacey (2018) "A Politics of Habitability: Plants, Healing and Sovereignty in a Toxic World." in Cultural Anthropology 33 (3): 415-443.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2018) "Healing in the Anthropocene." in The World Multiple: The Quotidian Politics of Knowing and Generating Entangled Worlds , edited by Keiichi Omura, Grant Jun Otsuki, Shiho Satsuka, Atsuro Morita. New York: Routledge.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2017) "The Value of Secrets: Pragmatic Healers and Proprietary Knowledge." in African Medical Pluralism , edited by William Olsen and Carolyn Sargent, 31-49. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  • Liwa, A., R. Roediger, H. Jaka, A. Bougaila, L. Smart, S. Langwick and R. Peck (2017) "Herbal and Alternative Medicine Use in Tanzanian Adults Admitted with Hypertension-related Diseases: A Mixed-methods Study." in International Journal of Hypertension 3: 1-9.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2015) "Partial Publics: The Political Promise of Traditional Medicine in Africa." in Current Anthropology 56 (4): 493-514.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2012) "The Choreography of Global Subjection: The Traditional Birth Attendant in Contemporary Configurations of World Health." in Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing , edited by Hansjörg Dilger, Aboulaye Kane and Stacey Langwick, 31-59. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Dilger, Hansjörg, Abdoulaye Kane and Stacey Langwick (eds.) (2012) "Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing." Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Langwick, Stacey, Hansjörg Dilger and Abdoulaye Kane (2012) "Introduction: Transnational Medicine, Mobile Experts." in Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa: Transnational Health and Healing , edited by Hansjörg Dilger, Abdoulaye Kane and Stacey Langwick, 1-29. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2012) "'Agitating for Hope, Learning to Care'. Comment on Claire Wendland’s article 'Animating Biomedicine’s Moral Order: The Crisis of Practice in Malawian Medical Training'." in Current Anthropology 53 (6): 778-779.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2011) "Bodies, politics, and African healing: The matter of maladies in Tanzania." Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2011) "Healers and scientists: The epistemological politics of research about medicinal plants in Tanzania, or 'moving away from traditional medicine'." in Evidence, ethos and experiment: The anthropology and history of medical research in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler and Catherine Molyneux, 263-295. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2011) "Bodies, Politics, and African Healing: The Matter of Maladies in Tanzania." Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2011) "Healers and Scientists: The Epistemological Politics of Research about Medicinal Plants in Tanzania, or 'Moving Away from Traditional Medicine'." in Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa , edited by P. Wenzel Geissler and Catherine Molyneux, 263-295. New York and Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2010) "From Non-Aligned Medicines to Market-based Herbals: China’s Relationship to the Shifting Politics of Traditional Medicine in Tanzania." in Medical Anthropology 29 (1): 1-29.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2008) "Articulate(d) Bodies: Traditional Medicine in a Tanzanian Hospital." in American Ethnologist 35: 428-439.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2007) "Devils, Parasites and Fierce Needles: Healing and the Politics of Translation in Southeastern Tanzania." in Science, Technology, and Human Values 32: 88-117.
  • Langwick, Stacey (2006) "Geographies of Medicine: Interrogating the Boundary between 'Traditional' and 'Modern' Medicine in Colonial Tanganyika." in Borders and healers: Brokering therapeutic resources in southeast Africa , edited by Harry West and Tracy Luedke, 143-165. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.