Gratz to Julie Livingston on her MacArthur fellowship

It’s that time of year again: the MacArthur foundation has unveiled its 2013 Fellows. Amongst them is the anthropologist Julie Livingston. Congratulations Julie!

Technically, Livingston’s Ph.D. is in history, but worked with Ivan Karp on a Ph.D. on Botswana and it and her previous work demonstrates a keen sense of the importance of culture and history as they affect and are affect power relations. Its this concern with contextualization, particularity, and the relevance of empirical and qualitative work that makes her approach ‘anthropological’, not the fact that she studied in “Exotic Africa”. I’m hesitant to say more about her work because I’m not very familiar with it. But in an age where people believe anthropology must be Quantitative True Science, Livingston’s award helps remind us that interdisciplinary social science is, literally, genius.

In fact, anthropologists regularly figure as MacArthur fellows, and one of the pleasures of writing this blog is making annual announcements that another one of our own has made it big. So congratulations Julie and, if you don’t mind us stealing some of your thunder, congratulations to anthropology as well.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at