NATIVE COLONIALISM: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia, by Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia examines the cause and consequence of native colonialism, the process whereby a country colonises itself with foreign institutions and ideals. Taking Ethiopia as its case study, it asks, why did a country that was never colonised replace its government, legal system and educational institutions with foreign imitations?  How did it come to have a European language as its medium of higher education and why was the rich philosophy, literature and history of the country replaced by western knowledge? What is the impact of this process in the identities and daily lives of contemporary Ethiopian students?

Based on a synthesis of historical, philosophical and empirical sources, the book delves into Ethiopia’s little-known wealth of traditional knowledge and practices of relating to the world before major historical events triggered subsequent changes in the political life of the country.

The book draws its evidence from a variety of Ethiopian sources that have rarely been studied or utilised in academic research. It provides never-before seen interpretations of indigenous sources of knowledge and features ground breaking empirical research on traditional and modern schools in the county, as well as interviews with students, teachers and traditional leaders. The book offers comprehensive and fresh insights into rethinking colonialism, particularly when it is driven from within.

YIRGA GELAW WOLDEYES is a Researcher and Lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, Australia. Born in Lalibela, Ethiopia, Yirga taught law and worked with grassroots organisations in the country before completing his Doctorate in Australia. His interdisciplinary research interests focus on understanding knowledge, challenges, and potentials in third world countries in the field of education, culture, development, law and politics.


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