“Ethiopian Intellectuals and the Cold War: Käbbädä Mikael’s Worldscapes (1940s-1950s)”

Tuesday, March 5

4-5:20 pm

Room HUM 1008

Sara Maragoza, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Through the literary and historiographical works written by Ethiopian intellectual Käbbädä Mikael in the 1940s and 1950s, this lecture problematizes the concept of the ‘world’ in global intellectual history. After the end of the Italian occupation in 1941, Ethiopia’s international position was uncertain. Ethiopian intellectuals started testing the viability of different cultural and political worldscapes, and Käbbädä Mikael exemplifies the ways in which the generation that came to prominence after 1941 experimented with different geographies of belonging. Käbbädä’s worldmaking attempted to break into the Eurocentric exclusivity of hegemonic narratives of modernity, jostling for recognition within modernization theory but also, at the same time, activating polycentric connections along oblique South-South networks.

Bio: Dr Sara Marzagora is an intellectual historian of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SOAS University of London, where she is leading the Horn of Africa strand of the research project “Multilingual Locals, Significant Geographies”. She has published articles on the history of Ethiopian political thought, and is completing a book manuscript on Ethiopian conceptualizations of the “global” in the first half of the twentieth century.

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