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Progressive Citizen Bodies: Sports and Modernity in Ethiopia 1920-1974  

PD Dr. Katrin Bromber

The project Progressive Citizen Bodies: Sports and Modernity in Ethiopia 1920-1974 investigates processes of producing 'the' modern Ethiopian citizen through the lens of sports and physical culture during the period which is usually called Ethiopian modernity - zämänawinnät. In doing so, it focuses on three general aims. First, it studies the frames of thought in which relevant ideas about modern citizen bodies emerged and established attitudes and opinions were questioned. Second, the project looks into concrete institutionalizing processes and the agents behind specific attempts to produce 'corporeal modernity' in Ethiopia. Third, it investigates semiotic aspects of these developments which resulted in distinct, despite often contested, symbols of 'the' progressive Ethiopian. This study is the first which systematically approaches Ethiopia's history of the 20th century from the perspective of the social history of sports and physical culture. On the conceptual level it contributes to current debates within the history of ideas which argue for a more consistent integration of thought, practice and materiality. The focus on Ethiopian towns also opens the possibility to emphasize more strongly sport and physical culture as important elements in urbanization processes.

Press release (german)