post Adolf Ellegard

January 11th, 2008

Filed under: Academic Cooperations — Admassu @ 01:09

Adolf Ellegard Jensen and the Frobenius-Institute at the University of Frankfurt

Adolf Ellegard Jensen was the oldest and most outstanding student of the distinguished Africanist, Leo Forbenius. The institute which Forbenius had founded in 1898 was directed by Jensen through the turmoils of Nazi period, the Second World War and the difficult years immediately after the war. His research in southern Ethiopia in 1934 - 35 yielded important results, although it was terminated prematurely on account of the impending war between Italy and Ethiopia. After almost three centuries of largely philological studies devoted principally to northern Ethiopia, Jensen’s undertaking marked the beginning of German historical and cultural research in the southern part of the country. This research was resumed after the war.

Adolf Ellegard Jensen (1899 - 1965)

Since 1950 eleven members of the Frobenius-Institue have worked in southern Ethiopia - some of them for several years - pursuing above all historical, geographical and linguistic studies. Their principal aim has been, in collaboration with prominent persons of southern Ethiopia, to study and record the cultures of these groups, which had received hardly any attention in scholastic literature and whose history existed only in oral traditions. As a result of his work, a large number of articles and books have appeared, mostly in German. Many further publications are in preparation, and increasingly the effort is being made to publish them also in English.

Members of the institute have worked or are working on the following nationalities: Sidama, Gedeo, Gidicho, Kambata, Hadiya, Tembaro, Arussi, Guji, Borana, Konso, Burji, Amarro, Dorze, Gamu, Wolayta, Zala, Gofa, Male, Basketto, Ari, Dauro (Kullo), Konta, Dime, Dizi, Gimirra, Chako, Shekka, Kafa, Bosha (Garo).

This research has dealt both with history and with cultural history: in other words, the aim has been to see history not merely as a stringing together of political events, but also as the evolution of the whole culture of a people. Consequently each research project has been designed to include in its investigations all aspects of the culture of the ethnic group concerned. Particular value has been placed on the recording of material culture in films, photographs, drawings and collections, because even the objects used in everyday life can provide important historical evidence. Parts of these collections have been presented to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the University of Addis Ababa as a gift.

The following members of the Frobenius-Institute have worked in Ethiopia: Adolf Ellegard Jensen, Elisabeth Jensen-Pauli, Eike Haberland, Willi Schulz-Weidner, Helmut Straube, Wolfgang Kuls, Ulrich Braukämper, Siegfried Seyfarth, Werner Lange, Karl Heinz Striedter, Maria R.-Alföoldi.

Kaba Debo from Wolayta (1955)

It is unfortunately not possible here to name our Ethiopian friends and partners individually, for their numbers run into the hundreds. We are happy to have this opportunity of thanking them all most warmly for everything we have received from them - not only knowledge and instruction, but also friendship and kindness. As a token of our dept in these people, we show here the portraits of two great historians - Jilo Da’imu from Konso (sorry missing) and Kaba Debo from Wolayta.

Booklet: “Three Hundred Years of Ethiopian-German Academic Collaboration.”
Author: Eike Haberland (1924 - 1992)
1986. 39 pages, EUR 5,—. ISBN 3-515-04766-2
Frobenius Institute
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University
Frankfurt, Germany

This is the last part of this series about the academic collaborations between Ethiopia and Germany. I hope this topic have given you an important side view about the relationship of these two countries. I want to thank the author of the booklet, Eike Haberland, and the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt for publishing this sensitive document and give us such priceless informations.

1 Comment »

  1. i want to read it.

    Comment by tse — 10. January 2012 @ 09:12

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