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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From hated to Häbäsha: Oromo identity shifts in Wällo and Shäwa during the late nineteenth century
Author:Yates, Brian J.
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:interreligious relations
ethnic groups
social history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2015.1121462
Abstract:This essay explores identities in the late nineteenth history in Northern and Central Ethiopia through relevant Ethiopian primary source material. Twentieth century political redefinitions and ethnonationalist histories have cast Ethiopia as a prison of static ethnic groups that are eternally in conflict. This literature defines the Ethiopian state as solely Semitic and Christian, where Kushitic Language speakers could not contribute. This presentation eschews historic realities in nineteenth century Ethiopia. The experiences of Kushitic Oromo non-Christian political elites in the late nineteenth centuries as recorded by Europeans and Ethiopians of that time, reveal a distinctly different picture. These sources display both identity shifts and a historic role in the Ethiopian state. This contribution was accomplished through performing a distinct cultural identity and becoming a member of the Häbäsha community. This community transcended ethnicity and produced a ruling class that matched the ethnic diversity of the Ethiopian highlands, contradicting both present and past understandings of Ethiopia. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]