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Ethiopia: Identity Politics, Human Rights and Democratization

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  • Date: 8 & 9 May 2015
  • Location: LSE, Central London

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Ethiopian Constitution and the 40th Anniversary of the 1974 Revolution. These are two watershed moments that radically re-oriented Ethiopian politics and redefined the form and structure of the Ethiopian state. Though the constitution is by no means a continuation of the Revolution, the latter has provided the ideological basis and the philosophical paradigm for the former. Twenty years after the Revolution, the constitution proclaimed the coming into being of a new political community ‘founded on the rule of law, capable of ensuring a lasting peace, [and] guaranteeing a democratic order.’ It promised a radical break with the ills of the past and grounded the foundation of the new state in the liberal ideas of human rights and democracy. A fiercely centralized state is reconstituted as federal. Sovereignty is both devolved and divided and federating units granted the unprecedented authority to determine their political, economic, and cultural status. However, these radical guarantees are still being deferred and democracy is yet to come.

We want to seize these occasions as an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of these two constitutive moments. The conference will explore the most recurring theoretical and empirical issues that have dominated the Ethiopian political landscape from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

The participation of a number of scholars from Ethiopia has been made possible thanks to the support of the LSE Africa Initiative.


The conference is now fully booked and the returns list is full. We regret that we are not able to accept any further expressions of interest in attending.