Ethiopian Warriorhood
Title Details

336 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

17 b/w. 5 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastern Africa Series

Imprint: James Currey

Ethiopian Warriorhood

Defence, Land and Society 1800-1941

by Tsehai Berhane-Selassie

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The history of the often-overlooked chewa Ethiopian warriors and their crucial role in defending their homeland against invasion, as well as their strong influence on political identity and the social infrastructure.
Today best known for their role in defending Ethiopia from Italian invasion 1935-41, chewa warriors protected Ethiopia for centuries. Yet, depicted by some 19th-century Western observers as little more than "a horde" of warmongers, and later suppressed by Ethiopian monarchs who sought to create a centralized modern state, their contribution has been neglected. Drawing on oral and written sources, as well as the zeraf poetry through which theyexpressed themselves, this book explores for the first time in depth the history, practices and principles of warriorhood of the chewa, and their wider influence on society and state. Often self-trained individuals who began by defending their communities, by the end of the 19th century there were chewa warrior groups from almost all linguistic groups who fought together to resist foreign invaders. Some chewa enrolled in the service of the Ethiopian "kings of kings", who organized them as named corps that supplemented the formal defence of the state. Today, chewa political identity, which transcended social, familial, political and other groupings, remains deeply rooted in Ethiopian society.

Tsehai Berhane-Selassie taught Social Anthropology, Gender and Development Studies in universities in Ethiopia, the UK, the USA and Ireland. She is a former member of The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her publications include editing Gender Issues in Ethiopia.
Preface
Introduction: Traditions of hierarchical warriorhood
The historical context of emergent warriors
Military lands and power politics
Ecological roots of local leadership
Social localities of emergent warriors
Military training in sports, horsemanship and hunting
Political authority and military power
Zeraf: symbols and rituals of power and rebellion
First Italian invasion, 1896
Guerrilla warfare, 1935-41
Conclusion
"In Ethiopian Warriorhood: Defence, Land and Society, Tsehai Berhane-Selassie provides a nuanced analysis of the role of the chewa - voluntary, community supported warriors - in the evolution of the Ethiopian state. .[F]or historians of the Horn, this book provides a valuable analysis of state formation that shifts the focus from individual monarchs to a misunderstood group of intermediary actors, and adds a new layer to the complicated history of land rights in Ethiopia." CANADIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES / REVUE CANADIENNE DES ÉTUDES AFRICAINES
"[Tsehai Berhane-Selassie's] book is a thoroughly researched contribution in the growing literature of Ethiopian social history. It is truly an insider view carefully drawn from oral testimonies such as heroic recitals and various written accounts of historical importance. .The study should truly interest academic scholars, policy makers, students, and education experts alike." AFRICAN STUDIES QUARTERLY
"The book (composed of ten chapters) is well written and extensively footnoted. [...] She [the author] should indeed be congratulated for her splendid contribution to Ethiopian studies." Aethiopica
"It is very recently that indigenous thought acquired currency in the scholarly world. Tsehai's current book is pioneering in this regard. [...]Her book is a thoroughly researched contribution in the growing literature of Ethiopian social history. It is truly an insider view carefully drawn from oral testimonies such as heroic recitals and various written accounts of historical importance." African Studies Quarterly
"Ethiopian Warriorhood provides a data-rich historical ethnography of an imperial institution. From a scholarly perspective, it is a very useful book for students of the modern history and anthropology of the Horn of Africa, as well as of comparative studies on conflict, militarism, and empire." Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute
"A vast and remarkable undertaking, Tsehai's book is a recommended reading for any serious student of Ethiopian history and for all who wish to understand Ethiopia's enduring traditions today." Orientalistische Literaturzeitung

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9781847011916

October 2018

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Title Details

336 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

17 b/w. 5 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastern Africa Series

Imprint: James Currey