Author to give talk on Africa, Europe

By Kelsey Caudill

Students interested in common themes of government, economy and religion in two globally opposite continents can discuss these topics with a renowned author on Wednesday.

Jean Comaroff will discuss her book, “Theory From the South: Or, How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa,” on the 18th floor of Patterson Office Tower in the West End Boardroom from 4-6 p.m.

Comaroff’s lecture will examine the similarities between Africa and Europe—the global north and south—including democracy, law, national borders, labor, capital and religion, according to a university press release.

The UK Committee on Social Theory selected Comaroff as its 2010 fall distinguished speaker. The committee has devoted itself to embracing interdisciplinary exchange and discussion in addressing social theory in both historical and contemporary issues since 1989.

Committee Director Suzanne Pucci said the lecture coincides with UK’s 2010-11 diversity collaborative focusing on South Africa.

“Much of Comaroff’s research has indeed been conducted in Botswana and South Africa as her books illustrate,” Pucci said. “Her lecture will examine the local contexts and practices of the global south in relation to the contexts of Europe, the West, including the United States, and the global north.”

Comaroff is the Bernard E. & Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and the director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. As an anthropologist and social theorist, Comaroff focuses on colonialism, modernity, ritual, power and consciousness.

Gender and women’s studies Assistant Professor Srimati Basu said that Comaroff’s lecture is an opportunity students will not want to miss.

“She has been writing for more than 25 years about these topics but constantly engages new material.”