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Society & State in Ethiopian History
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Society & State in Ethiopian History is a compilation of essays pursuing the widest range of Ethiopian topics, celebrating the resiliency of the Ethiopian people, and the nation’s complicated history and destiny. The author assumes a quiet patriotism as he faces some of the most formidable issues facing the historical and modern day aspects of Ethiopia: ethno-history, political economy, urban development, and economic history with a constructive sensitivity.
Zewde’s essays narrate and provide refreshing insight into the major events spanning from 1930-1990’s, beginning with the resistance against the Italian invasion to the current period dominated by radical politics. Numerous chapters focus on the responsibility of the intellectuals in the making and unmaking of a nation amidst great political and cultural turbulence.
The book inspires the reader to fight for social justice, combat ethnic nationalism, and work towards national and regional unity in northeast Africa. Zewde’s essays not only contribute to the body of knowledge about modern and contemporary Ethiopian society, but also affirm that a past filled with adversity should not impede a positive future for Ethiopia.
Ethno-history and Language
Economic History and Political Economy
Intellectual and Social History
Political and Military History
Political Violence in Historical Perspective
Environmental and Urban History
Its coverage and scope is simply impressive …. It sets a high standard of excellence and a degree of sensitivity in the treatment of subject matter rarely seen. This is a refreshing and reassuring example … of the scholar at his best, as a unifier, as a peacemaker, and ultimately as a responsible citizen! Bahru’s scholarship is impeccable, and his language and style simply elegant. What sets him apart also is … his sensitivity and constructive approach to contentious issues. Here is the intellectual at his best – sober and detached in analysis; fully conscious of his responsibility; and committed to the larger good.
--Assefa Bequele, Founding Executive Director and Distinguished Fellow at the African Child Policy Forum
The essays in this collection span 34 years, from 1972 to 2006, momentous years in which Ethiopia underwent violent internal upheavals and murderous international wars, the substance of its history called into question … The essays touch on and illuminate all these issues and assert that Ethiopia has a meaningful past. They are the work of Ethiopia’s leading active historian and a forceful public intellectual…. Taken together the papers collected here show that the past is, indeed, essential to an understanding of the present of the embattled Horn of Africa and eloquently testify to the complexity and depth of the history of Ethiopia. They offer nuanced and grounded responses to Bahru’s view that, “the challenge in Ethiopia is to escape the tyranny of the past, not to repeat it”
--Donald Crummey, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
By the turn of the 21st century, Bahru had become the doyen of Ethiopian historians and a leading figure in contemporary intellectual life of the country. The Addis Ababa University Press is therefore to be commended for bringing together his widely published, but not so easily accessible, essays between the covers of a single book to students, researchers and others who might have an interest in the modern history of Ethiopia. They are equally important to follow the evolution of the ideas of Ethiopia’s leading historian produced in one of the most turbulent periods of the country’s long history.
--Shiferaw Bekele, Associate Professor of History at the Addis Ababa University
Bahru Zewde is Emeritus Professor of History at Addis Ababa University. He served as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University and Executive Director of the Forum for Social Studies. He is currently Vice-President of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Board Member of TrustAfrica, and Editor of CODESRIA’s Africa Review of Books. His earlier books include: A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1991 (2001) and Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia (2002).
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