Anthropology Department

Betsey Brada

Assistant Professor of Anthropology



Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2011
M.A., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2006
B.A., Critical Social Thought, Mount Holyoke College, 1997

Research and Teaching Interests

Medical anthropology, anthropology of global health and humanitarianism, science studies and expertise, anthropology of the body, pedagogy and ritual, HIV/AIDS, Africa

Betsey's research focuses on transnational health interventions, biomedical expertise, and the postcolonial state in southern Africa. Her scholarship and publications incorporate theoretical approaches from cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology. Her book manuscript in preparation argues that global health, rather than a unidirectional flow of moral practice and expert knowledge from North to South, is an imaginative framework that organizes the space, time, and ethics of encounter. Based on ethnographic research at the intersection of Botswana's national public HIV treatment program and the private U.S.-based partnerships supporting it, Betsey analyzes the pedagogic projects by which visiting American experts and students and local clinicians and patients came to regard themselves and one another in terms of this framework. A second ethnographic project currently underway examines the development of Botswana's new and only medical school, the first African medical school to be founded after the advent of public HIV treatment and the transnational engagements that have accompanied it.

Betsey's research has received support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Fulbright-Hays program, among others. Upon receiving her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, she joined the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University where she taught and advised students under the auspices of the Program in Global Health and Health Policy.


2011    'Not Here': Making the Spaces and Subjects of 'Global Health' in Botswana. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 35:285-312.

2013    How to Do Things to Children with Words: Language, Ritual, and Apocalypse in Pediatric AIDS Treatment in Botswana. American Ethnologist 40:437-451.

2016   The Contingency of Humanitarianism: Moral Authority in an African HIV Clinic. American Anthropologist 118:755-771.

2017     "Exemplary or Exceptional? The Production and Dismantling of Global Health in Botswana." In Global Health and Geographical Imaginaries, C. Herrick and D. Reubi, eds., pp. 40-53. New York: Routledge.

nd    Between Discipline and Empowerment: Temporal Ambivalence at a Sleep-away Camp for HIV-Positive Children in Botswana. Forthcoming inAnthropological Quarterly.