6.08 Ivo Strecker

Culture and rhetoric in Ethiopia

In a recent review article Michal Mokrzan has remarked that, “the project of rhetorical anthropology – which integrates the study of man as homo rhetoricus and the study of culture as cultura rhetorica – has come to occupy a key place in contemporary humanities”. The present panel uses this newly arising paradigm of rhetorical anthropology as an orientation to explore the rhetorical repertoires, past and present, of the many culturally different groups of Ethiopia. The panel comprises two parts, which reflect the historical expansion and present territorial organization of Ethiopia:
Part I focuses on what historically was known as ‘Abyssinia’, the North Ethiopian highlands, cradle of first the Axumite Empire and later the Salomonic dynasties who ruled Ethiopia until the third quarter of the twentieth century. These ancient political ingredients together with the Christian heritage and Muslim influence in the region mean that literacy (inscriptions, chronicles, literary genres) as well as national identity, social hierarchy, religious practices and forms of submission are the central topics of the first part of the book.
Part II deals with the cultural concerns and rhetorical practices of the people who were conquered and ‘incorporated’ into present-day Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik II more than a century ago. The dominant theme throughout is the cultural and rhetorical ingenuity of these groups who are masters of ambiguity as well as of clarity. Skilfully they use idephones, prosodic patterns of intonation, figures of speech, proverbs and the like when they negotiate about marriage, debate rights to land, decide on war and peace, or generally argue about moral values. Also, by means of rhetoric they evoke the value of their cultural heritage and invoke, as one contributor puts it, a “rebirth and continuity” of their own and well-proven ways of life.


Mr ALELIGN ASCHALE Ethiopian Crosses: A Rhetorical Analysis
Mr FESSEHA BERHE Emperor Yohannes IV as Portrayed in the Oral Traditions of the Muslims of Tǝgray 
Dr. GEBREYESUS TEKLU BAHTA The role of some Ethiopian proverbs for conflict prevention and resolution
Dr. GIRKE Felix Diagnosing Good and Bad in Kara, South Omo 
Dr. HAREGEWOIN FANTAHUN ESHETE The Ethiopian Health Extension Programme: the Rhetoric and reality of the Communication Approach to Promote Male Involvement in Reproductive Health? 
Dr. LATOSKY Shauna Negotiating bridewealth among the Mursi of Southern Ethiopia 
Ms. LYDALL Jean The rhetorics of address and reference in Hamar 
Dr. MEHARI YIMULAW GEBREGEORGIS Women’s positions in customary conflict resolution institutions: the case of Ethiopia 
Dr. OBA-SMIDT Chikage The Political Rhetorics of the Boorana :An analysis of rhetorics in the oral chronicles of the Boorana-Oromo 
Dr. SEMENOVA Valeria South-eastern Ethiopia: Orthodox Tewahedo Christians` enclaves among Muslim Oromo (on the material of the field work in Ethiopia 2008-2012) 
Dr. SMIDT Wolbert Body and sound as integral parts of communication and rhetorics: Examples from Tigrinnya societies 
Prof. STRECKER Ivo The dynamics of Hamar conversational style 
Dr. TAYE NEGUSSIE A Reflection on the Prevailing ‘Apathetic Mood’ of the Ethiopian Intelligentsia: Who is to Blame? 
Dr. TESFAYE MESELE ZINABU Integrating Folk Games for Educational Purposes 
Dr. WETTER Andreas „My friends listen and let me tell you“ - the use of rhetorics in Amharic tawḥīd texts from Eastern Wällo
Mr TASSEW WOLDEMEDIHIN The role of ethics in indigenous philosophy of the Sidama people : a case study of Chuko Woreda