Dr. Serawit Bekele Debele, 2017-2020
Serawit Bekele Debele was a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Socio-Cultural Diversity. She was conducting research on religion and sexuality Ethiopia. In her research, she combines historical and ethnographic approaches to trace the change and continuity of discourses on sexuality and how the religious factors shapes those discourses.
Serawit received her MA in cultural studies from the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University and her PhD in religious studies from Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, BIGSAS (Germany). In her PhD dissertation, she focused on an annual thanksgiving ritual known as Irreecha, a ritual performed mainly by the Oromo of Ethiopia, and explored the creation of alternative political spaces. She examined how ordinary citizens and different political actors appropriate religious vocabularies and spaces as part of dealing with socio—political and economic processes that affect their everyday lives. Later as a Fritz Thyssen Stiftung postdoctoral fellow, she focused on collective prayers as political reflections and practices among the Oromo ethnic groups who live in Germany, the Netherlands and Ethiopia.
Debele, S. B. (2019). Locating politics in Ethiopia's Irreecha ritual. Leiden: Brill. Link