John L. Comaroff is the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and a senior research fellow of the American Bar Association. His current work is on crime, violence, and cultural justice in post-apartheid South Africa; it investigates not just the “problem” of disorder in a particular place at a particular time, but also the nature of the postcolonial nation-state sui generis. His earlier work has covered issues in legal and political anthropology; the anthropology of colonialism, postcolonialism, and modernity; and historical anthropology. Among his books, many coauthored and coedited with Jean Comaroff, are Of Revelation and Revolution (two volumes) and Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa.
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Jean and John Comaroff will collaborate on a book titled “Policing the Postcolony: Crime, Cultural Justice, and the Problem of Order in South Africa,” which seeks to understand the “metaphysics of disorder” that threatens to overwhelm the fledgling democracy in post-apartheid South Africa.
John Comaroff was raised in South Africa. He earned his PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Among his coauthored works, Of Revelation and Revolution, volume one, won the Laing Prize, and “Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neo-Liberalism,” a special issue of Public Culture, won the Best Special Issue Award of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals in 2000. Comaroff has lectured at over sixty universities worldwide and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.