The Council on African Studies Lecture Series presents
Kamari Clarke, Professor of Anthropology, UCLA:
“Affective Justice: Toward a New Geopolitics.”
Since its inception in 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been met with resistance by various African states and their leaders who see the international court as a new iteration of colonial violence and control. In Affective Justice, Kamari Clarke explores the African Union’s pushback against the ICC in order to theorize affect’s role in shaping forms of justice in the contemporary period. Drawing on fieldwork in the Hague, the African Union in Addis Ababa, sites of post-election violence in Kenya and Boko Haram’s circuits in Northern Nigeria, she formulates the concept of affective justice—as an emotional response to competing interpretations of justice—to trace how affect becomes manifest in judicial practices. By detailing the effects of the ICC’s all-African indictments, she outlines how affective responses to these call into question how we analyze both those victimized by violence and the perpetrators who enable such violence.
Through an attempt to rethink an anthropology of geopolitics that is multi-scalar and necessarily exceeds traditional ethnographic techniques, Clarke provides a fuller theorization of how people articulate what justice is and the mechanisms through which they articulate it. The moderated conversation will interrogate her theorizations by exploring what is at stake in an approach to international justice that decenters its constructed universality and that moves the conversation away from survivors and suffering to discursive regimes and technocratic and affective practices.