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Maurice Halbwachs Summer Institute 2016

Crime, Dis/Order, Narration

With Jean and John L. Comaroff and Daniel Stein

30.08.-03.09.2016 – Lichtenberg-Kolleg


Maurice Halbwachs Summer Institute 2016:

Criminality, it seems, has become a global preoccupation in the early twenty-first century, a preoccupation strikingly disproportionate, in most places and for most people, to the threat posed by lawlessness – among other risks – to the conduct of everyday life. Law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcement are ever more critical registers in which societies construct, contest, and confront truths about themselves. As a result of a tectonic shift in the relations among capital, the state, and governance, the meanings attached to crime, and the nature of policing, have undergone significant change. There has also been a muddying of the lines between legality and illegality, corruption and conventional business, and crime-and-policing, which exist nowadays in ever greater, hyphenated complicity. This is captured in a political economy of representation that focuses increasingly on a new noir in literature and cinema. ‘Crime Dis/order, and Narration,’ in short, will offer a novel excursion into the Contemporary Order of Things.

At this year’s Maurice Halbwachs Summer Institute anthropologists and social theorists, John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff (both Harvard University) will draw from their forthcoming study Thinking through Crime, and Policing to analyze the interplay of knowledge, sovereignty and citizenship, of civility, class and race, and of the law and social order in the contemporary world, taking as their primary examples South Africa and the USA. American Studies and media scholar Daniel Stein (University of Siegen) will complement and historically deepen their late modern assessment with his work on 19th century American crime fiction and its agency in a rapidly modernizing and territorially expanding society.



The Maurice Halbwachs Summer Institute is open to doctoral students and postdocs in the Humanities and Social Sciences from Germany as well as abroad. An interest in interdisciplinary work is expected to create an atmosphere of productive intellectual exchange. Applicants with research topics resonating with the theme will profit most from participation.

For applicants from outside Göttingen with well documented need, it may be possible to offer financial support.

English and German are the languages of discussion at this year’s Summer Institute.The main lectures will be given in English; in the working groups with the invited seniors and the four organizers language will be handled as fits the composition of groups.

Tuition:          100 €

The Summer Institute is supported by third-party funding. The program includes a reader, a welcome and a farewell dinner, lunches, as well as a thematically dovetailing excursion in the environs for all participants.


The following application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  • Application letter detailing the reasons for desiring to participate
  • 1-page exposé of the applicant’s doctoral or postdoctoral project
  • Curriculum Vitae




Deadline: April 15, 2016

Decisions will be mailed out in the middle of May.

Inquiries may be directed at Annekathrin Krieger  or Prof. Dr. Regina Bendix or Prof. Dr. Rebekka Habermas .


The Maurice Halbwachs Summer Institute was initiated by Prof. Dr. Regina Bendix, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Bleumer, Prof. Dr. Rebekka Habermas and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Knöbl.