[PAST EVENT] Professor Jean Comaroff, Harvard University
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Jean Comaroff is the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. Professor Comaroff has had a distinguished career studying the people of Southern Africa. Her research has centered 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 talk is titled, "Personhood, Performance, and The Law: The Return of Khulekani Khumalo, Zombie Captive."
This paper tells the story of the death of a famous Zulu maskanda singer in 2010 – and his dramatic reappearance, to huge public interest, two years later. Resurrection? Return? Imposture? In unraveling the narrative of this event, I pose the question of how personhood is fashioned in contemporary South Africa, why imposture of all sorts has become epidemic in this postcolony, and how to understand entrepreneurial self-making in the history of the neoliberal present.