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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52535
Doc. No:TL22489
Call number:‭NR61857‬
Main Entry:Erin Christine MacLeod
Title & Author:Leaving out of Babylon, into whose father's land? The Ethiopian perception of the repatriated RastafariErin Christine MacLeod
College:McGill University (Canada)
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:301
Abstract:This project is the first to investigate the way in which Ethiopians view the Rastafari, a post-colonial religious faith. Since originating in Jamaica in the 1930s, Rastafari have moved to the East African country to settle, viewing the country as the Promised Land. Given this centrality of Ethiopia to Rastafari, my dissertation documents the perception of Rastafari and Rastafarians within Ethiopia and the role these immigrants play within Ethiopian society. The methodology used is that of thick description—making an attempt to engage with as many different narratives about the Rastafari as possible. Thick description allows for an understanding of what is happening as regards the interaction between Rastafari and Ethiopians, but also provides a sense of context and meaning. After extensive interviewing in the Ethiopian cities of Shashemene and Addis Ababa, a comprehensive review of Ethiopian media coverage as well as analyses of academic, religious and government documents, the multiplicity of perspectives found demonstrated a view of a unique immigrant community, as well as a multifaceted view of Ethiopia and Ethiopianness. I draw from the many narratives about the Rastafari a sense of what these narratives can inform relative to Ethiopian identity itself. Unlike traditional development workers who stay on average two years, Rastafari wish to settle in Ethiopia. The challenge, therefore, to Ethiopians is to find a way to legally recognize these immigrants within the already complex historical and social spectrum of Ethiopian identity. The Rastafarian desire for citizenship and involvement in Ethiopian society challenges the idea of what it means to be Ethiopian and simultaneously demands that Ethiopian and Rastafarian identity reevaluate its sense of self. As the Rastafari involve themselves more fully in Ethiopia, through the establishment of both humanitarian and business initiatives, and engage with more levels of Ethiopian society, they present a more sustainable identity within the country. The Rasta belief in themselves as Ethiopian stems from a post-colonial understanding of the world. In Ethiopia, this perception comes up against a noncolonial view of the world, as found in Ethiopia's independent consciousness. I demonstrate how the Ethiopian perception of the Rastafari presents a situation in which different conceptions of identity come into dialogue and the notion of cultural citizenship is negotiated. Indeed, the negotiation between Ethiopian and Rastafarian identities ultimately illuminate the fact that as a symbol, Ethiopia is quite clearly defined, yet in reality, it is constantly in dynamic change.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Cultural citizenship; Ethiopia; Rastafari; Repatriation; Religion; Black studies; Cultural anthropology; Sub Saharan Africa Studies; Colonialism; Jamaica; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0325:Black studies; 0639:Sub Saharan Africa Studies; 0318:Religion
Added Entry:McGill University (Canada)