Advisory Board

Our advisory board is made up of Catherine Burns, Ama de-Graft Aikins, Julie Livingston and Moffat Nyirenda.

Catherine Burns

Catherine Burns joined the CSA&G team in January as an Associate Professor of History (a joint appointment between the CSA&G and the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies). Catherine was educated at WITS, the Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University, where she earned her PhD in History. Her research interests focus on medical and health history, the history and ethnography of reproduction and sex, ethics in biomedical research, and the history of gender in southern Africa.
She has taught at several universities in the USA, and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she was based from 1995-2009. From 1999 to 2002 she was head of the interdisciplinary Programme of Gender Studies, and from 2005-2007 head of History at UKZN — where she was Associate Professor of History from 2005 until her appointment as a Technical Advisor at the Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health, a Division of WITS Health Consortium, in Durban.
Catherine joined the WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in 2012 until joining the CSA&G in 2017. Catherine has taught in History, in Medicine and Public Health, and in Gender Studies, and has supervised many masters and doctoral students across several disciplines. She is the editor of African Studies, an internationally-rated interdisciplinary journal, in continuous existence since 1922.



Ama de-Graft Aikins

Professor Ama de-Graft Aikins is Dean of International Programmes and Professor of Social Psychology at the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana (UG). She received her PhD in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on experiences and representations of chronic physical and mental illnesses and on Africa’s chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) burden. She has led, and participated in, successful interdisciplinary NCD research projects with colleagues from UG, University of Amsterdam, New York University, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Monash University, Malaysia. She has conducted commissioned research in health and NCD policy for organizations including the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Her research has produced over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and she has presented her research at over 100 conferences, high level meetings and university seminars in 18 countries.

Professor de-Graft Aikins is passionate about teaching and mentoring. She teaches graduate courses in Psychology, the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and Qualitative Research Methods at UG. She has supervised graduate theses in Social Psychology, Social Policy, Public Health and Population Studies at UG, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, New York University and the University of Sussex. She has trained 6 PhD students in Population Studies at UG and is currently training a cohort of 6 PhD students in Population Studies, Psychology and Public Health at UG, University of Amsterdam and Australian Catholic University. She has contributed to the development of training models for early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities in Africa through her association with the British Academy (BA), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the African Studies Association, UK (ASAUK) and the LSE African Initiative.

Julie Livingston

I am interested in care as a social practice and the human body as a moral condition and mode of experience. I am also interested in taxonomy and relationships that upend or complicate it. Much of my research has focused on the ethical entanglements engendered by bodily vulnerability. I am also a committed ethnographer. My work moves across and often combines the disciplines of history, public health, and anthropology. For the past two decades I have worked mainly in Botswana, in southern Africa. My first book, Debility and the Moral Imagination in Botswana employed historical and anthropological methods to explore the rise in three domains of debility in Botswana over the past century: disability, chronic illness, and senescence. The book pursued pragmatic concerns that arise in the face of debility in a migrant labor regime, and also related epistemological and moral questions that emerge amid profound disruptions of bodily norms. My second book, Improvising Medicine is an ethnography of Botswana’s lone cancer ward. The book narrates the story of this place as a microcosm of global health and the cancer epidemic rapidly emerging in the global south, while also using this setting to query the movement of carcinogenic capitalism, and the master-narratives of cancer in the U.S and the global north more broadly.

I am now beginning research and writing on two new projects. The first is a set of essays on the planetary politics of consumption as seen from Botswana. The second is a book on comorbidity and aging in New York and southern Africa.

Moffat Nyirenda

Moffat Nyirenda is a Diabetologist/Endocrinologist and Professor of Medicine (Global Non-Communicable Diseases) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and Director of Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit. Moffat was among the first graduates from the College of Medicine in Malawi, with “hybrid” training between University College London and University of Malawi. He subsequently trained and worked at the University of Edinburgh, supported by a prestigious MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship award. In 2010 Moffat returned to Malawi where he was Professor of Research at the College of Medicine and Associate Director of Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, before taking up his current position at LSHTM in August 2013.