SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

The University of Asmara 1958-1991: A short history of an institution

Chefena Hailemariam (Visiting Fellow at the Department of Sociology at LSE)

Date: 5 March 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 5 March 2014Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar

In the annals of African higher education Eritrea sets a negative example by dismembering a forty eight year old university. While the UN Human Right Council takes this as an issue of human right and strongly recommends for the reopening of the university, the government of Eritrea contests arguing it was re-structuring the higher education system.  Also powerful nationalist narratives claim that the University under the Ethiopian occupation had been subjected to repression discrimination, and producing mediocrity . I suggest the development of the University of Asmara during the Ethiopian occupation be viewed as a trajectory of an institution with due consideration to its particular institutional arrangements and processes in its struggle to achieving some semblance institutionality. Attempt will be made at deconstructing the discursive representations of the institution and how undue focus on the broader political domination can mask the reality at an institutional level. The paper highlights how actors in specific structural location curved out spaces for themselves in shaping the turn of events throughout the pre-liberation era (1958-1991). Finally, the paper concludes by offering suggestions towards the revitalisation of the higher education system in future Eritrea.

Organiser: Dr Marie Rodet

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