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Legacies of the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia

Africa House was a proud sponsor of

Legacies of the Italian Occupation in Ethiopia

Date/Time: Thursday, October 24th

9:30 am – 5:00 pm


Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo

24 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10012


This symposium, organized by NYU faculty Ruth Ben-Ghiat (History, Italian Studies) and Maaza Mengiste (Creative Writing) examined the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia as experienced by Ethiopians. History can only go so far as to tell us about what took place during Italian rule – and its consequences. In Ethiopia, visual and storytelling cultures have been the main vehicles of postcolonial expression. The three panels looked at how performance, writing and storytelling, and visual arts narrated this difficult period and its legacies for several generations.

Event Schedule

9:30 am:  Coffee and Welcome, Maaza Mengiste and Ruth Ben-Ghiat

9:30 – 11:00 am: Plays and Performance

Bewketu Seyoum (Independent Writer, Performer), in dialogue with Heran Sereke-Brhan (Independent Researcher), and Dagmawi Woubshet (Cornell University).

11:15 – 11:30 am: Coffee Break

11:30 am-1:00 pm: Literature and Storytelling

Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University), in dialogue with Dagmawi Woubshet (Cornell University) and Heran Sereke-Brhan (Independent Researcher).

1:00 – 2:30 pm: Lunch for Participants

2:30 – 4:00 pm: Visual Arts

Abiyi Ford (Addis Ababa University), in dialogue with Ruth Ben-Ghiat (New York University), Maaza Mengiste (New York University and Princeton University), and Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University).

4:00 pm: Closing Remarks by Abiyi Ford and Discussion with the Audience

5:00 – 6:00 pm: Reception

The symposium was supported by NYU’s Global Research Initiative, the University’s Departments of History and Italian Studies, the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, NYU’s Africa House, and NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.