BOOK LAUNCH: Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia by Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia
by Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Book launch and discussion

21 July 2017

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Victoria University MetroWest

138 Nicholson Street, Footscray University Town

Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia examines the cause and consequence of native colonialism, the process whereby a country colonises itself with foreign institutions and ideals.  Taking Ethiopia as its case study, it asks, why did a country that was never colonised replace its government, legal system and educational institutions with foreign imitations?  How did it come to have a European language as its medium of higher education and why was the rich philosophy, literature and history of the country replaced by western knowledge? What is the impact of this process in the identities and daily lives of contemporary Ethiopian students?

The book demonstrates that colonialism is not just a geographically delineated notion that applies only to the control of racialised beings whose territories and natural resources are occupied by foreign powers. It also involves the colonisation of mental spaces whereby the application of selected epistemic rules influence the consciousness of individuals to accept unjust economic and social relationships as natural and inevitable. Native colonialism challenges common assumptions about education and knowledge production by questioning the relevance of a globalised education system to the interests and rights of diverse lives in the 21st century.

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is a researcher and lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, Australia. Yirga taught law and worked with grassroots organisations in Ethiopia before completing his Doctorate in Australia. Yirga’s research focuses on the critical study of development, education and law, and the importance of lived experience and epistemic diversity for decolonial futures. His teaching practice is informed by his research on how to teach human rights from the perspective of diverse epistemologies, cultures and religions. He also researches African experiences and Ethiopian traditions, and writes creatively on belonging and diasporic lives.