Events Calendar

Divine Detection


Jean and John Comaroff

Event Dates: 
October 25, 2012
Event Time: 
4:30 pm- 5:30 pm
Campus Center, Room 101

This talk examines the problematic relation of law, citizenship, and sovereignty in contemporary African polities, especially in post-apartheid South Africa. Many African postcolonies are haunted by the waning efficacy of enforcement, the ambiguity of authority, the incapability of the state in recognizing its subjects. The lecture focuses on the "metaphysics of disorder" that seems to be conjured in its wake.



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.