Elleni Centime Zeleke, "Ethiopia in Theory: Revolution and Knowledge Production, 1964-2016" (Brill/Haymarket Books, 2020)


Between the years 1964 and 1974, Ethiopian post-secondary students studying at home, in Europe, and in North America produced a number of journals where they explored the relationship between social theory and social change within the project of building a socialist Ethiopia. Ethiopia in Theory: Revolution and Knowledge Production, 1964-2016 (Brill, 2019 and Haymarket Books, 2020 paperback) 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 indigenization 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.

Elleni Centime Zeleke is Assistant Professor of African Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University in New York. Elleni was born in Ethiopia, and raised in Toronto, Guyana, and Barbados. Trained at the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought at York University (Toronto), her research interests include vernacular politics in the Horn of Africa, Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, and the problem of constituting Africa as an object of study.

Listen to Mahmoud Ahmed’s Tizita. And read the review roundtable on Zeleke’s Ethiopia in Theory, with contributions by Alden Young, Samar al-Bulushi, Adom Getachew, and Wendell Marsh.

Madina Thiam is a PhD candidate in history at UCLA.

Your Host

Madina Thiam

Madina Thiam is a PhD candidate in African history at UCLA.
View Profile