Hello, Genius

2013 MacArthur Fellow Julie Livingston

Courtesy the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Julie Livingston 01PhD spent thousands of hours in a cancer ward in Botswana observing, documenting, and actively participating in order to fully understand the patients’ experience.

The author of Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic(2012), Livingston has been named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. She earned a PhD in history from Emory and was part of the Institute of African Studies, a leading center for the interdisciplinary study of Africa. She is currently a professor of history at Rutgers University.

As a public health historian and anthropologist, Livingston combines archival research and ethnographic observation to illuminate largely ignored crises of care in both the developing and developed world.

“I’m interested in what happens when people get sick, how they take care of one another, and how they make meaning through the experience of living in their bodies,” she says. “These are human experiences; they play themselves out in all their particularity and detail in a little cancer ward in Botswana or in a cancer ward at Bellevue here in New York.”

The MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.

Lisa Tedesco, dean of the Laney Graduate School, says Livingston’s “cutting-edge work represents the essential contributions made through interdisciplinary research and commitments to improving well-being and health on a global scale.”

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