Elleni Centime Zeleke
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The research questions in this book were first raised through conversations with my aunt Tutu (Ruphael) Imru. Tutu had spent most of her career working as both an image archivist at Ethiopian Television and a librarian at the Ethiopian Herald. She was also the first person to teach me how to read the sediments of the past in the present. She blew beautiful smoke rings and once revelled with Nina Simone. This manuscript was written in memory of her life and for my aunts Hirut and Yodit too. They all made that extra effort to teach me something about living well.

Over the years many colleagues have read much of my writing and debated many of the ideas contained within this book. In my home department, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University, I have found a warm home for the ongoing development of my ideas: Tim Mitchell paid close attention to my writing style and helped me see where I needed to revise the manuscript; both Tim Mitchell and Mamadou Diouf also asked crucial questions about my project that helped me reformulate the entire framing of the book; Gil Anidjar provided good advice about how to move through the publishing process, while conversations with Mahmood Mamdani allowed me to clarify the stakes of my project. At Whitman College, where I spent two years as an assistant professor, Timothy Kaufman-Osborn read my entire manuscript when I was at a loss as to how to begin revisions, and Arash Davari was a formidable interlocutor who helped me build the confidence to believe in my project as a useful contribution to post-colonial political theory. Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania provided inspiration, instruction and conversation on living the academic life while also speaking to multiple audiences. Lee Cassanelli, the General Editor of the Journal of North East African Studies, provided useful editorial advice when I submitted an early version of Chapter Four for review and eventual publication. Jonathan Adjemian not only read every chapter of this book multiple times but also helped enter bibliographic information into Zotero and basically sped up the process for getting the manuscript into a presentable form. I want to thank Erin MacLeod for demonstrating a way to effectively bring together modern citation systems and the Ethiopian naming system. I have followed Erin MacLeod’s example in this book. Sebastian Budgen and Danny Hayward, two of the editors at the Historical Materialism book series, have been patient and generous with me throughout the revision process.

This book project began as a PhD dissertation in the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought at York University (Toronto). Everything I learnt in those years was with a vibrant community of thinkers including Travis Fast, Rade Zinaic, Rob Heynen, Sue Brophy, Bojana Videkanic, Neil Braganza, Gabe Levine, Kathy Kiloh, Aaron Kamugisha, Ayesha Hameed, David McNally and Pablo Idahosa. During my time at York I was grateful to have received a Doctoral Research Award from the International Development Research Centre (Canada) in order to conduct field research in Ethiopia. During my time in Ethiopia I was affiliated with the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) at Addis Ababa University. Elizabeth Wolde-Giorgis, who was the Director of IES at the time, made resources easily available to me and generally welcomed me with open arms. This manuscript could not have been completed without her assistance. At the IES, I also taught a class on theory and method in African Studies. Through this class I was given the opportunity to meet many inspiring students, some of whom have now gone on to write interesting dissertations of their own. In the end we became a community of supportive learners who taught each other so much about critical thinking in the Horn of Africa. In this regard I would especially like to thank Netsanet Michael and Serawit Bekele. Lastly, other communities of support must also be acknowledged, especially my childhood friends from Courida Park in Georgetown, Guyana, as well as those friends who brought me food and money when both were running short. This includes Asafa George, Loza Seifu, Monique Tamrat, Loulou Cherinet, Hillina Seife, Aisha Green, Marie-Jolie Rwigema, and Mohan Mishra, amongst many others.

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