Ethiopia in Theory: Revolution and Knowledge Production, 1964-2016


Between the years 1964 and 1974, Ethiopian post-secondary students studying at home, in Europe, and in North America produced a number of journals. In these they explored the relationship between social theory and social change within the project of building a socialist Ethiopia. Ethiopia in Theory examines the literature of this student movement, together with the movement’s afterlife in Ethiopian politics and society, in order to ask: what does it mean to write today about the appropriation and indigenisation of Marxist and mainstream social science ideas in an Ethiopian and African context; and, importantly, what does the archive of revolutionary thought in Africa teach us about the practice of critical theory more generally?

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Biographical Note

Elleni Centime Zeleke, Ph.D (2016), Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York. Her previous work has been published by the Journal of NorthEast African Studies and Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters.

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Note on Citations

Preface by Donald L. Donham

Part 1: Knowledge Production and Social Change in Ethiopia

1. The Children of the Revolution: Toward an Alternative Method
2. Social Science is a Battlefield: Rethinking the Historiography of the Ethiopian Revolution
3. Challenge: Social Science in the Literature of the Ethiopian Student Movement
4. When Social Science Concepts become Neutral Arbiters of Social Conflict: Rethinking the 2005 Elections in Ethiopia
5. Passive Revolution: Living in the Aftermath of the 2005 Election

Part 2:

6. Theory as Memoir: The Problem of the Social Sciences in Africa


All interested in the Ethiopian revolution, the history of social change in Africa, comparative political theory, critical theory and intellectual history of the global south.

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