Fatema Mernissi Postdoctoral Fellow

Semeneh Ayalew Asfaw holds a Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Cape Town. His dissertation, “The Young and the Urban in Addis Ababa: Towards a popular history of the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution, c. the 1950s-1974 explores the nexuses between socio-cultural processes, subject formation, and the Ethiopian revolution. Asfaw’s research and publications cover themes ranging from social and cultural history, political consciousness, revolutionary terminology, youth subject formation, city making, and urbanism in 20th-century Ethiopia.

As a fellow at The Africa Institute, he plans to further his research on the relationship between cultural processes and subject formation. By examining social and cultural formations of everyday youth in Addis Ababa between the 1950s and 1974, as well as by mobilizing “archives”, such as musical and literary documents, hitherto unexplored in the study of the history of political militancy, his work seeks to reframe accounts of the Ethiopian Revolution by going beyond the study of student activism.

He is currently affiliated with the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University as a  Lecturer and Researcher. In addition to his intellectual practice as an academic, Asfaw has many years of experience in non-academic spaces contributing opinion pieces in popular newspapers on Ethiopian politics and history and participating in radio and television shows.