Feierman works at the intersection of history, history of medicine, and anthropology. His work shows how historical-cultural practices, grounded in a morality of economics, politics, and the person, shape east African worlds. The Shambaa Kingdom (1974), a new kind of history, explored how regional conceptions of sovereignty underlay precolonial politics. Peasant Intellectuals: Anthropology and History in Tanzania (1990) showed that people used these cultural repertoires to challenge colonial representations of agricultural science, modernity, and justice. His current research is uncovering a shadow medical system, created from the ground up, that penetrates and reconfigures biomedical hospital and clinic but is rooted in old and humane values.