Photo: Andrew Heavens

Lecture by Dr. Terje Østebø, assistant professor in the Department of Religion & the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida.


Ethiopian Muslims have over the last two years been demonstrating in the streets of Addis Ababa, calling for the regime to end its interference in internal religious affairs.

The regime has responded rather harshly, cracking down on the demonstrations and arresting the leading figures. The Muslim protests have produced more tense relations between the Muslims and the Ethiopian regime, as well as between the Muslims and the Christians. Rather than seeing these developments as signs of increased radicalization, I believe the realities are far more dynamic, and I argue that Ethiopian Muslims at the present are caught between politics of withdrawal and politics of recognition.

Terje Østebø holds a joint appointment in the Department of Religion and the Center for African Studies. He received his Ph.D. in the History of Religions from Stockholm University. Before joining the faculty of the University of Florida, he was an Assistant Professor at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway.

His main areas of research are Islam in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa, and he has extensive field-work and research experience from Ethiopia.Other research foci include contemporary Islamic reform, Salafism, Islamic cultures, inter-religious relations in Africa/Ethiopia, as well as ethnic identity, religion and politics and public representations of religion. He is soon publishing an edited volume on contemporary Islam in Ethiopian and the Horn of Africa, and is also currently working on a major research project that deals with the relationship between religious and ethnic identity, with Islam and different ethno-nationalist movements in the Horn of Africa as the case in point.

The lecture is arranged in coalition with Bergen Resource Centre and theCMI clusters; Democracy and Governance and Cultures and politics of faith.