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 or coedited with Jean Comaroff, are the two-volume Of Revelation and Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 1991) and Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa (University of Chicago Press, 1999).
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Jean and John L. Comaroff are collaborating on a book that seeks to understand the “metaphysics of disorder” that threatens to overwhelm the fledgling democracy in post-apartheid South Africa.
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 more than sixty universities worldwide and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.