A Politics of Habitability: Plants, Sovereignty, and Healing in a Toxic World


ACLS Fellowship Program




“A Politics of Habitability” accounts for the rise of a new form of therapy in Tanzania, referred to by some as dawa lishe, or nutritious medicines. This emergent field of practice attends both to discrete bodies and to the relations between people and plants that have enabled modern economies and framed health. Dawa lishe reorganizes relations between agriculture and medicine in order to articulate the threats to well-being that structure the contemporary moment and to experiment with responses to such threats. Through it, Tanzanians are exploring the forms of vitality and growth that are possible today: who and what can grow more amply and more productively, and how? In the process of addressing that which is required to thrive, dawa lishe insists on situating health in a politics of habitability. This move requires reconfiguring notions of medicine, property, chronicity, and crisis that are fundamental to global health.