Erin C. MacLeod

Jul 15, 2022

Visions of Zion

Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land

New York University Press 2014

In reggae song after reggae song Bob Marley and other reggae singers speak of the Promised Land of Ethiopia. "Repatriation is a must!" they cry. The Rastafari have been travelling to Ethiopia since the movement originated in Jamaica in 1930s. They consider it the Promised Land, and repatriation is a cornerstone of their faith. Though Ethiopians see Rastafari as immigrants, the Rastafari see themselves as returning members of the Ethiopian diaspora. 

In Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land (NYU Press, 2014), Erin C. MacLeod offers the first in-depth investigation into how Ethiopians perceive Rastafari and Rastafarians within Ethiopia and the role this unique immigrant community plays within Ethiopian society.

Rastafari are unusual among migrants, basing their movements on spiritual rather than economic choices. This volume offers those who study the movement a broader understanding of the implications of repatriation. Taking the Ethiopian perspective into account, it argues that migrant and diaspora identities are the products of negotiation, and it illuminates the implications of this negotiation for concepts of citizenship, as well as for our understandings of pan-Africanism and south-south migration. Providing a rare look at migration to a non-Western country, this volume also fills a gap in the broader immigration studies literature.

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