1. Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
  2. Events
  3. Sports & Modernity in Late Imperial Ethiopia

Sports & Modernity in Late Imperial Ethiopia

Book presentation by Katrin Bromber (ZMO)

Discussant: Jakob Krais

Sports in Ethiopia was always more than a means of useful recreation. It was also a way to enjoy and define fun, as new modes of behaviour emerged that showed what it meant to be a modern man or woman. This book is the first academic study of the history of modern sports in Ethiopia during the imperial rule of the twentieth century. Showing how agents, ideas and practices linked societal advancement and bodily improvement, this innovative study argues that modern sports offers new possibilities to explore the meanings of modernity in Africa. Drawing on written and oral sources in Amharic, Tigrinya, English, French, German and Italian, the book provides an in-depth analysis of the role of sports in modern educational institutions, volunteer organizations and urbanization processes. It examines sports' function as a political propaganda tool during the Italian Fascist occupation (1935 - 1941), as well as in representations of successful modernization under Haile Selassie (1930 - 1974). The integration into global networks of ideas about the fit colonized body linked Ethiopia, which was never colonized, to the legacy of colonialism. Institutions such as schools, civilian sports clubs, and volunteer organizations were not only loaded with coercive procedures, but instituted modes of behaviour that developed into certain styles and affirmation of the self as well as their contestation. Examining the locations for practising sports in organized forms, informal leisure and practices consumption in Ethiopia, this book contributes to recent debates on the role of sports in the history of urbanization in Africa, as well as those on global modernity.

Katrin Bromber is a senior researcher and research unit leader at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin and Associate Professor of African Studies at the University of Vienna. Her publications on the topic include Sport across Asia: Politics, Cultures and Identities, edited with Birgit Krawietz and Joseph Maguire (2013), and articles in The International Journal of the History of Sports, Annales d'Ethiopie, Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, and Northeast African Studies.

The event will be held in a hybrid format. Please register here for online participation: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYocO2opzwoH9AQneJSY9rdzC19ejNXdZWe

If you would like to attend the event in person, please send an email to registration@zmo.de.

This event is part of the lecture series:
Book Presentation Series 2022
New Releases at ZMO