Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


The general assumption holds that war played a critical role in the state-building processes of Western European nation-states. In light of this assumption, this paper explores the predatory theory and the centrality of war in the processes of institutional and social development in Ethiopia. Due to the experiences of colonialism and the perceptions of what constitute a “legitimate” warfare, Tilly’s Bellicist account is rarely tested on the African continent. In this paper, I argue that European experiences of state-building provide pivotal and applicable insights into the state-formation processes of Ethiopia. More precisely, these insights shed light to the dual processes of external war-making and internal conquest and expansion that precipitated the state-building project under Menelik II (1889-1913). Furthermore, the paper fills the gap in the literature by paying attention to the role of Abyssinian culture in the cultural political economy of state-consolidation.


Hawi Tilahune will graduate from Macalester College in 2016 with a BA in International Studies and Political Science with an African Studies Concentration. During her study abroad in The Netherlands, Hawi conducted independent research on the Oromo diaspora. The narratives of the Oromos served as the impetus for her honors thesis project which investigates the processes of state-building and nation-building in four dominant historical periods of Ethiopia. Her research interest lie in the intersection between international politics, conflict transformation and faith. Hawi has maintained active engagement both on and off campus. Her experiences as co-chair of the Afrika! student organization and member of the Afrikan! chorus gave her the platform to encourage the voices of her peers and to facilitate a space for learning and understanding. Organizations she has been involved with are the African Diaspora Policy Centre, The American Red Cross and Catholic Charities. In the future, Hawi hopes to investigate the valuable place of multiethnic and multi-lingual music in the processes of ethnic reconciliation.

This article is part of a larger Honors Project, which is available on Macalester College's International Studies Honors Projects home page.