Beckmann, Nadine


Nadine Beckmann is a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Roehampton. Her work focuses o the intersections of sexuality, illness and wellbeing, and the interplay between biomedicine and alternative forms of addressing illness and reproductive health issues, particularly in Muslim communities. She has also worked on the politicization of AIDS activism, biological citizenship, and medical governance in Tanzania, and is especially interested in the global politics of population and disease control and the interrelationships between large-scale global health interventions and local realities in East Africa.

Nadine received her DPhil in anthropology from the University of Oxford, working on life with HIV/AIDS in a Muslim society, notions of morality and uncertainty, the management of sexuality, and the newly introduced antiretroviral treatment for AIDS in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In the last years, Nadine was a John Fell research fellow and deputy director of the Fertility and Reproduction Studies Group at the University of Oxford’s School of Anthropology; research fellow at the Department of Peace Studies in Bradford, and lecturer in international development at the University of Leeds.


Research Interests

HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral treatment; sexuality; reproduction; biopolitics; Islam


Research Area(s)

East Africa (Tanzania, Zanzibar)



Monographs and Edited Volumes

Forthcoming 2014. ‘Strings Attached: AIDS and the Rise of Transnational Connections in Africa’. Edited volume (together with Catrine Christiansen and Alessandro Gusman). British Academy/Oxford University Press.

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

2013. ‘Responding to medical crises: AIDS treatment, responsibilisation and the logic of choice’. Submitted as part of a special issue on ‘Therapeutic knowledge, health, crises and processes of diversification and mainstreaming’, edited by Gabi Alex, Kristine Krause and David Parkin, Anthropology and Medicine 20(2).

Forthcoming 2013. ‘Van der Decken’s Travels in East Africa in the years 1859 to 1865’ (with Iain Walker). In: Etudes Océan Indien.

2012. ‘Medicines of hope? Antiretroviral treatment in Tanzania – a critical analysis of a large-scale biomedical health intervention’. In: Journal of East African Studies 6(4).

2010. ‘Pleasure and Danger. Muslim views on sex and gender in Zanzibar’. In: Culture, Health and Sexuality 12(6): 619-32.

2010. (with Janet Bujra) ‘The “politics of the queue”: the politicization of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania’. In: Development and Change 41(6): 1041-64.

Chapters in Edited Books

Forthcoming 2014. (with C. Christiansen, A. Gusman and R. van Dijk) ‘Introduction: the transnationalisation of the AIDS pandemic in Africa’. In: N. Beckmann; Christiansen, C.  and A. Gusman (eds.): Strings Attached: AIDS and the Rise of Transnational Connections in Africa. British Academy/Oxford University Press.

2013. ‘Rationality and responsibilisation. Antiretroviral treatment and the care of the self among HIV-positive people in Tanzania’. Afriche e Orienti.

2011 (in print). ‘The Politics of Global Advocacy and Activism around HIV/AIDS’. In: M. Mbilinyi and D. Kitunga (eds.): A Feminist Political Economy of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Gender Networking Project, E & D Vision Publishing Limited.

2010. ‘Markets for health, markets for sickness: the commodification of misery’. In: R. Van Dijk and M. Dekker (eds.): Health and Healing in Africa: New Arenas and Emerging Markets. Leiden: Brill Publishers.

2009. ‘AIDS and the power of God: narratives of decline and coping strategies in Zanzibar’. In: Becker, F. and P.W. Geissler (eds): AIDS and Religious Practice in Africa. pp. 119-54. Leiden: Brill Publishers.


2009. ‘The Global Politics of AIDS Activism’. Report on a workshop held at the International Centre for Participation Studies (ICPS), Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, 9 July 2009.

2007. ‘Towards an Ecology of AIDS: Research on HIV/AIDS at Oxford’ (with Elisabeth Hsu). Workshop held on 22 June 2007 at the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford. Available online on:


Conference Presentations

2013. ‘Pushing the borders of marketisation: AIDS and the commodification of misery’. Medical Anthropology Seminar, University of Oxford.

2012. ‘Medicines of Hope and the Value of Life: Living with Antiretroviral Treatment in Zanzibar’. (Invited speaker), Medical Anthropology Seminar, LSHTM.

2012. ‘Responsibilised citizens?’ Workshop ‘The Eclipse of the Therapeutic Revolution’, University of Zurich.

2012. ‘The pains and pleasures of love: transformations of romance and sexual practice in Zanzibar’. Conference on Love and Sex in Islamic Africa, Tulane University, New Orleans.

2011. ‘Rationalisation and Responsibilisation: Antiretroviral Treatment and the Care of the Self Among HIV-Positive People in Tanzania’. (Invited speaker), Workshop ‘Subjects or Citizens? HIV/AIDS and Rural Communities in Southern Africa’, University of Bologna.

2011. ‘Responsibilised citizens?’ (Invited speaker), Workshop ‘Being HIV Positive and the Politics of Aid’, University of Leeds. Versions of this paper were also presented at the workshops ‘The Politics and Anti-Politics of Infectious Disease Control’, Brunel University.

2010. ‘An Africanist’s Legacy. Workshop in Honour of David Parkin’. (Invited speaker), University of Oxford (invited speaker), July 2010, and at the SMA conference ‘Medical Anthropology at the Intersections: Celebrating 50 Years of Interdisciplinarity’, Yale University, Sept. 2009.

2010. ‘The Responsibilisation of HIV positive people in Tanzania’. Berlin Roundtable on Global Health (selected speaker and participant), Berlin, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin.

2010. ‘The commodification of misery: markets for healing and markets for sickness’. University of Leeds, African Studies Seminar Series. Also presented at the workshop ‘Health and Healing in Africa: New Arenas and Emerging Markets’, African Studies Centre, Leiden (invited speaker), Jan. 2010, and at the

Oct. 2010. ‘Pushing the borders of marketisation: AIDS and the commodification of misery’. Brunel University Anthropology Seminar.

2010. ‘Medicines of Hope? Antiretroviral treatment in Tanzania’. VIII European Swahili Workshop, University of Oxford.

2009. ‘PLHA politicisation and democratisation in Tanzania’. Conference ‘Democratization in Africa: Retrospective and Future Prospects’, University of Leeds (invited speaker).

2009. Organised workshop ‘The Politics of Global Advocacy and Activism around HIV/AIDS’, University of Bradford.

2009. ‘The “politics of the queue”: PLHA politicisation and AIDS activism in Tanzania’. (with Dr Janet Bujra) Workshop ‘Tanzanian Identities Past and Present’, University of Cambridge. Also presented at the final conference of the Non-Governmental Public Action Programme, ESRC, January 2009.

2009. ‘Medicines of hope? The tough decision for antiretroviral treatment in Tanzania’. European Conference of African Studies (ECAS), Leipzig.

2009. Discussant for the panel ‘On Biomedicine, Governance and Experimentation: Experimental subjectivity: emerging forms of citizenship in African contexts’. Organised by Wenzel Geissler. ECAS, Leipzig.

2009. ‘“Voices from the Field”: ethnographic research and the art of writing up’. Ethnographic Research Methods seminar, Brunel University.

2009. ‘Dangerous pleasure: Zanzibari views on sex and gender relations’. Reproduction and Fertility Studies seminar, University of Oxford.

2008. ‘Harakati za UKIMWI, unyanyapaa na unyanyasaji Tanzania’ (AIDS activism, stigma and harassment in Tanzania). ‘Gender and Development Studies Seminar’, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, Dar es Salaam.

2007. ‘The drug of life? Challenges of antiretroviral treatment in Zanzibar, Tanzania’. Culture, Marketing, and Society seminar, Saïd Business School Oxford.