Divine Detection: Crime and the Metaphysics of Disorder
Thursday, September 6, 2012 : 4:00pm to 5:30pm
University Park Campus
Town and Gown
University of Chicago Professor John Comaroff considers the relation of law enforcement and sovereignty in post-apartheid South Africa.
Walter Benjamin famously insisted that modern police wielded a “ghostly,” all-pervasive violence, called upon at points at which the state was unable to govern by legal means. Yet many African post-colonies are haunted by a different specter: the waning efficacy of enforcement, the ambiguity of authority, and the apparent abandonment of subjects by the state.
This lecture, part of a larger work titled “The Truth About Crime,” examines the relation of law enforcement and sovereignty in post-apartheid South Africa. It focuses on the “metaphysics of disorder” palpable in popular culture there, and the kinds of forensic fetishes that are conjured in its wake.