Jean Comaroff & John Comaroff: “After Labor”
This is the fifth and final lecture in our Fall 2020 Colloquium, “Inequality, Labor, and Human Rights: The Future of Work in the Age of Pandemic.” It is part of a new inter-disciplinary and cross-campus Pop-Up Institute, “Beyond the Future of Work: New Paradigms for Addressing Global Inequality,” supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Jean Comaroff is Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and American Studies and of Anthropology and the Oppenheimer Research Fellow at Harvard University. Her research, primarily conducted in southern Africa, centers on processes of social and cultural transformation—the making and unmaking of colonial society, the nature of the postcolony, and the late modern world viewed from the Global South. Her writing covers a range of topics, from religion, medicine, and body politics to state formation, crime, democracy, and difference. Her recent books include, with John Comaroff, The Truth about Crime: Sovereignty, Knowledge, Social Order (The University of Chicago Press, 2016); Theory from the South: or, how Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (Taylor & Francis, 2015), and two edited volumes: Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa, with John Comaroff (University of Chicago Press, 2018); and Ethnicity, Commodity, In/Corporation, with George Paul Meiu and John Comaroff (Indiana University Press, 2020). She is currently working on issues of populism and the generation war. Previously, Comaroff was the Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, and Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. She is also Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town. Comaroff holds a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Cape Town.
John Comaroff is the Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, and Oppenheimer Research Fellow, at Harvard University. His research, primarily conducted in southern Africa, is on colonialism and postcoloniality, on crime, policing, and the workings of the state, on democracy and difference, and on comparative law and politics, and, more generally, “theory from the South.” His recent publications include, with Jean Comaroff, The Truth about Crime: Sovereignty, Knowledge, Social Order (The University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Theory from the South: or, how Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (Taylor & Francis, 2015), as well as their co-edited volumes, Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2018) and, with George Paul Meiu, Ethnicity, Commodity, In/corporation (Indiana University Press, 2020). He is currently working on lawfare and inter-generational conflict. Previously, Comaroff was the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He is also Honorary Professor of Anthropology at the University of Cape Town, and an affiliated research professor at the American Bar Foundation. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Cape Town.
Kamran Asdar Ali is professor of anthropology, Middle East Studies and Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He served as the the Director of the South Asia Institute (2011-2017). He has published several articles on issues of health and gender in Egypt and on ethnicity, class politics, sexuality and popular culture in Pakistan. His more recent book is Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism 1947-1972 (IB Tauris and Oxford, 2015).
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- Kamran Asdar Ali Associate Professor of Anthropology, Middle East Studies, and Asian Studies
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