Affidavit of Illisa Povich

Between 1976 and 2010,  Alan Macfarlane, a professor in the Department of Sociology at Cambridge University,  conducted a series of interviews with anthropologists from around the world. Two of those anthropologists included John and Jean Comaroff. They discussed their early lives, their work in the field, life under the Apartheid regime and anthropology, among other things.

Jean Comaroff, an anthropologist who is a leading expert on South Africa, its societies and cultures, gave the 2011 Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture on Tuesday, May 17, at the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall. Comaroff, the Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology and the College at the University of Chicago, presented the talk, “Divine Detection: Crime and the Metaphysics of Disorder.

New York – In 2018, John Comaroff and Jean Comaroff spoke at The New School for Social Research about “Crime, Sovereignty, and the State: the Metaphysics of Global Disorder.” “The Global South” has become a shorthand for the universe of non-European, postcolonial peoples; it is that half of the planet about which, conventionally, the “Global North” spins theories. Rarely is it seen as a source of explanations for world historical processes, past or present, let alone as the source of those processes. Yet, as much of the northern hemisphere experiences increasing fiscal inscrutability and rising inequality, state privatization, crime and corruption, ethnic conflict, authoritarian populism, and other “crises,” it looks as though it is evolving southward, so to speak. Is this so? Might the relation of “north” and “south” be more a matter of complementary inequity, more a construct of the dialectical imagination, than a hard-and-fast empirical reality? In this seminar, we shall reverse the usual order of things, addressing a range of familiar themes in order to theorize them anew from the “eccentric location” of the “south,” broadly conceived: among those themes, neoliberalism and its futures; the changing relations among capital, the state and governance; democracy, authoritarian populism, and […]

By Jiang Haolie Eminent anthropologists Professors Jean and John Comaroff, renowned for their joint work in African Studies and anthropology as a husband-and-wife team, were recently named Visiting J Y Pillay Professors at Yale-NUS College. The Professorship is part of the J Y Pillay Global-Asia Programme, which was established to honour Professor J Y Pillay, a pioneer who made ground-breaking contributions to Singapore as a top civil servant and corporate leader. Describing the J Y Pillay Professorship as “greatly meaningful”, both Comaroffs effusively shared that they were very honoured to be its recipients. Prof Jean also praised the Professorship’s important role in building important links across global communities of researchers and attracting academic talent to Singapore as well as to Southeast Asian research. Commending the Comaroffs as “outstanding scholars”, Professor Joanne Roberts, Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), expressed delight at the Comaroffs being awarded the Professorship. “It is wonderful for our students and faculty to get the opportunity to learn from them,” she said. It matches well with our goals of having visiting professorships bring in world class scholars and also, where possible, to have these visitors broaden and diversify the scope of our offerings.” In their short time teaching […]

Concern has been steadily mounting, across the globe, that wage work is disappearing. Why do we seem unable to think beyond a universe founded on mass employment? If mass employment has always been threatened by erasure, why does it remain so central both to popular and theoretical understandings of life under capitalism? As we fail to imagine an age after labour, we seem ever more haunted by nightmares of our own redundancy. What does this tell us about the afterlife of homo faber? Might we enrich our answers to these questions by moving beyond the Archimedean vantage of Euro-America?

Jean Comaroff of Harvard University speaks on “Theory from the South: Or, How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa”.

This lecture was a part of ANTHUSIA Summer School 3: Dissemination: Writing, Presenting and Communicating.The Politics and Poetics of Representation in a Post-Colonial World. ANTHUSIA is a multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa conducted by a consortium of four universities in Aarhus (Denmark), Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Leuven (Belgium) and Oslo (Norway). It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 764546 and is training 16 Early Stage Researchers.

Claudio Lomnitz discusses Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation with Jean Comaroff