Events Calendar

Theory from the South


Jean and John Comaroff

Event Dates: 
October 23, 2012
Event Time: 
4:30 pm- 5:30 pm
Massachusetts Room, Mullins Center

Rarely has the “Global South” been seen as a source of theory and explanation for world historical events. Yet, as many nation-states of the northern hemisphere experience increasing fiscal meltdown, state privatization, corruption, ethnic conflict, and other crises, it seems as though the “Global North” is evolving southward, so to speak, in both positive and problematic ways. In tracing this pattern the lecture asks how we might understand the world through theory developed in the south, presenting a new twist to the evolutionary pathways long assumed by social scientists.


Theory from the South

Jean and John Comaroff

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) is delighted to announce its inaugural residency with inspirational anthropologists Jean and John Comaroff. For the past thirty years, the Comaroffs’ work has influenced a generation of scholars interested in questions of identity and resistance in both colonial and postcolonial cultures in Africa and elsewhere. Writing both separately and together, their recent work has ventured into the intersections of law and ethnicity as well as relations between the global north and south. For many years distinguished professors at the University of Chicago, Jean and John Comaroff are now Professors of African and African American Studies and Oppenheimer Fellows in African Studies at Harvard University. Their most recent books include Law and Disorder in the Postcolony (2006), Ethnicity, Inc. (2009), and Theory from the South, or How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (2011).


In addition, the Comaroffs will visit two graduate seminars in the Anthropology Department, and present an interdisciplinary graduate seminar on the "The Politics of Memory/ Judicialization of History." They will visit an undergraduate class in the History Department on "Truth and Reconciliation, History and Justice," and meet with the current ISI Faculty Fellows on the topic "Engagement: The Challenge of Public Scholarship."

Jean and and John Comaroff will visit UMass from October 23rd-25th, 2012 through the ISI residency program. For more information, see ISI is grateful for funding from the Provost, University of Massachusetts, and the Deans of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.