In the Place of All, Black Empire and Addis Ababa as Cosmos

Sabine Mohamed


Entitled, In the Place of All, Black Empire and Addis Ababa as Cosmos, this doctoral research project examines the ontological infrastructure of black empire and the crisis of ethnic citizenship in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It studies how the Ethiopian state attempts to inscribe on a body of people signs of afro-future and ethnic diversity in order to foster political unity. Yet, in doing so, this vision has been generating atmospheres of loss, desires of secession and displacement amidst an ever urbanizing and cosmopolitan city.

This project explores how these utopian visions of inclusive future-making are translated in an ever-urbanizing cosmopolitan capital city. Thus, this research ethnographically reveals how in projects of urban renewal, house evictions and removal are negotiated by its residents, sub-district administrations, and the city. Thereby, this research pays close attention to moments of erasure and purification within the cosmopolitan project such as the afterlives of the deportation of Eritreans from the city center.

Through ethnographic fieldwork, this research scrutinizes the figure of the other—the Eritrean—the familiar stranger, and investigates sites of infrastructural renewal in the inner city of Addis Ababa. It thus explores the grammar these forces of renewal and purification entail in the making of (afro-)future in urban Ethiopia.

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