NOTE: Course information changes frequently, including Methods of Instruction. Please revisit these pages periodically for the most recent and up-to-date course information.
Fall 2023 Middle East UN3132 section 001
Burntface ( ): The Idea
Burntface/The Idea of Eth
|Day & Time
|Method of Instruction||In-Person|
Burntface is the usual way in which the Greek word Αἰθιοπία (Ethiopia) is translated into English. This course asks, who is an Ethiopian and where is Ethiopia?
The geography of Ethiopia has shifted over time to designate many things, including: (1) all of the African continent; (2) all Black people; (3) lower Egypt and the Sudan; (4) a medieval Christian kingdom in Africa; (5) the contemporary nation-state in North-East Africa; and finally (6) Black Zion. These various designations have had different political meanings and have shaped the way the past is interpreted by various actors in their present. We see examples of this in the way an idea of Ethiopia was taken up in the activities of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Africa, but also in the Rastafari movement in Jamaica in the early 20th century, and even in the contemporary nation-state now called Ethiopia.
This course introduces students to the history of the idea of Ethiopia and asks how that history intersects with both the modern nation-state in North-East Africa and the various global social movements known as Ethiopianism. We will ask about the history and geography of Ethiopia and seek to show how shifts in the idea of Ethiopia have sedimented into our present understanding of Ethiopia. In this vein, we will read the secondary literature that contributes to our understanding of what falls under the name Ethiopia, and ask how that can help us track the development of the idea of Ethiopia over time and space. We will also read primary material from advocates of Ethiopianist social movements scattered across the globe. By focusing on the history of the idea of Ethiopia, this course highlights the way African ideas, politics, and social movements have always been global and are essential to understanding the modern world.
|Department||Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies|
|Enrollment||6 students (25 max) as of 7:05PM Monday, September 25, 2023|
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