Botswana-UPenn Partnership, TB contact tracing
Botswana-UPenn Partnership's Eric Rankae conducting TB contact tracing. Photo: Ryan Littman-Quinn

Cosponsored by Penn's Center for Bioethics in the Perelman School of Medicine.


Spergel footage
Event Footage

Forum on Peripheries 17 April, 2013 5:00–6:30 pm
Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street


Medicine at the Margins

Steven Feierman
Professor of History and History & Sociology of Science
University of Pennsylvania


Harvey Friedman
Chief of Infectious Diseases Division, Professor of Medicine, and Director, Botswana-Penn Partnership, Penn Medicine

Julie Livingston
Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University

What are the practical and ethical challenges of taking medical practices and technologies developed in metropolitan centers and extending them into remote communities where modern health care resources are scarce? Join us for a lively conversation featuring reports and reflections on recent field work in southern Africa by Harvey Friedman, director of the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, Steven Feierman, historian of African science and medicine, and Julie Livingston, African historian and ethnographer.

Steven Feierman holds joint appointments in Penn's Departments of History and History & Sociology of Science, where he teaches history and the anthropology of medicine in Africa. He has also studied with, and been apprenticed to, "traditional" healers in eastern Africa. His special areas of research in which he is widely published include the history of health and healing in Africa, the content and uses of orally transmitted knowledge, and the place of knowledge about Africa in the social sciences. Prof. Feierman took his PhD in African history from Northwestern University and his DPhil in social anthropology from Oxford University and has done many years of research, in collaboration with physicians, on the organization of health and medicine at the local level in East Africa. Among his publications are The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa (coeditor) and African History: from Earliest Times to Independence (coauthor).

Dr. Harvey Friedman has served as the director of the Botswana-UPenn Partnership since its inception in 2001, overseeing its growth from a handful of volunteer physicians to a major program that involves 10 of Penn's 12 schools, 90 full-time Botswana-based faculty and staff, and key partners at the University of Botswana and the Ministry of Health. In his role as director, Dr. Friedman has met and worked with a number of world leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Botswana, and has been instrumental in one of the world's most ambitious and successful national HIV/AIDS treatment programs. He took his M.D. from McGill University, completed postdoctoral training in neurovirology at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, and was director of the Clinical Virology Lab at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital before joining Penn's Infectious Diseases faculty in 1975. He has over 200 publications on herpes simplex virus immune evasion strategies, vaccine development, and the Botswana Program.

Julie Livingston teaches at Rutgers on issues concerning care as a social practice and the human body as a moral condition, where her work moves across and often combines the disciplines of history, public health, and anthropology. Much of her research has focused on the ethical entanglements engendered by bodily vulnerability in conditions of scarce resources. Her publications explore questions of disability, chronic illness, aging, suicide, personal debt, care giving, disgust, and citizenship. As a dedicated ethnographer, she is also fascinated by both the intimacies created through the research process and the narrative challenges and possibilities of ethnographic writing. For the last 15 years, she has worked mainly in Botswana, publishing in 2012 the book Improvising Medicine in an African Oncology Ward, which concerns the only dedicated cancer ward in that nation.