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Reviewed by:
  • A Bibliography of Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies in Society and History, 1995-2010
  • Shiferaw Bekele, Professor
Jon Abbinkt , A Bibliography of Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies in Society and History, 1995-2010 Publisher: Leiden African Studies Centre and Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), 2010; 740pp. + index; ISBN: 978-99944-55-51-5

This is the third volume in the series that the well-known and prolific scholar of Ethiopian Studies, Professor Jon Abbink, has produced. The three works complete a trilogy 1 and they bring the years covered in the bibliography from 1957 up to 2010, accounting for a period of almost half a century. Of the three volumes, the bibliography under review is the largest, which is almost twice the size of the first book and three times that of the third. A Bibliography of Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies in Society and History, 1995-2010 provides definitive evidence of the enormous growth and expansion of Ethiopian studies over the last decade and a half.

The author has to be thanked for his perseverance and prevailing over all the challenges he came up with in compiling this Bibliography. There is no doubt that this work will respond, just like the previous two volumes, to the growing demand for resources in the area from researchers, scholars, and particularly graduate students. Abbink has tracked down scholarly publications in various disciplines from multitude of sources ranging from well-known journals to very obscure periodicals and publishers. The result is an authoritative and up-to-date bibliography. The difficulties involved for the author, however diligent, in getting hold of references to all articles and books in this fast expanding field, which we still continue to call Ethiopian Studies, cannot be underestimated. In view of this, it would be unfair to point the finger at the author saying that a certain article or book published over this or that period by philologists in far-flung and (to non-philologists at least) little-known journals and publishing houses is not included. How can one possibly trace, for instance, all the publications by journals or by publishing houses of the Vatican? It is the same with graduate theses of Addis Ababa University because the institution itself has not yet developed an up-to-date mechanism of diffusing information regarding new [End Page 115] dissertations that are defended every year. The authors' index in this bibliographic compilation can help researchers to make a quick check if they know the name of the author. In addition, there is a novelty - a list of important web sites on the Horn of Africa (pp.14-17), a possible bonanza to new researchers. In short, the work as a whole shows the experienced hand of a master bibliographer. There is no doubt that this book is going to be a much-needed and extremely useful tool for researchers.

In a review of the first book 2 , I used the data provided by the book to look at some aspects of Ethiopian studies, and focused on extent of ethnic, religious and social (like gender) coverage. It would be interesting to take another look at some of these issues again to see how much change there has been over the last three or so decades. Up to the beginning of the 1990s, the most productive field in Ethiopian Studies was history, followed by social anthropology. Now it is the reverse, with the lead taken by social anthropological studies. For instance, in the present volume publications in social anthropology, particularly ethnographic publications, take up 97 pages (pp.631-97) while historical studies do not come up to that level. It is true that historical topics are subsumed under "international relations" and "religions and missions" which, as a result, increases their number. But even then they do not equal the productions in the field of social anthropology.

The Oromo still remain the single most studied ethnic group in the sub-region in all the three volumes. In the first volume, the second runners were the Betä Esraél, which have moved from the "Ethnology and Anthropology" section of the book under review to that of "Refugees, Displacement and Resettlement'. A surprising decline...


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