The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Lecture - HYBRID - Reflections of the Meaning(s) of Water: Historical Identity in the Abbay and Awash

James McCann

Friday 16th June 2023

18:45 BST, Ethiopian Community in Britain, 2a Lithos Road, London NW3 6EF - Public event (all welcome)

With the event also being broadcast online, starting at about 19:00 BST

Note - Register for the event on Eventbrite and you'll be emailed a Zoom link shortly before the event.

Water is a media that sustains both belief and life. One of its powers is a symbol of power and destiny. In Ethiopia's Upper Nile and in the Awash Valley water carries meaning as a place (point of origin, a highland spring or montane rivers), a conduit for travel, and a source of food. In Orthodox Christian allusion to magic revelation, and spirituality it is ubiquitous at water's source and in its flow.

Drawing on a broad range of local sources, this lecture addresses human interaction with environment in the Abbay and Awash watersheds and sheds light on competing and enduring stories that have resulted from beliefs, landscapes and images of life. Cultural history approach will allow to untangle culture-specific ways in which local peoples viewed the natural world and how beliefs reflect the physical world.

Professor James McCann is Professor Emeritus of History at Boston University, Massachusetts having retired at the end of 2022. Professor McCann was Professor of History and Associate Director for Development at the African Studies Center, had served as Director of the African Studies Center, Chair of the Department of History, and Interim Director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, among many other distinctions since joining Boston University in the 1980s.

His books have also received awards and recognition including: the George Perkins Marsh Prize for Best Book in Environmental History (1996 for Maize and Grace); Stirring the Pot won a 2011 "Best in the World" award from Paris' Gourmand Magazine. He has been a two-time finalist for the Melville Herskovits Prize for Best Book in African Studies (People of the Plow, 1996 and Maize and Grace, 2006); Choice Magazine Award for Outstanding Books for the period 1980-1990 (for From Poverty to Famine), and as Outstanding book award list (for People of the Plow) for 1996. His book Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land is used in university classrooms on five continents. He was named to a 2012-13 John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and in 2012-13 was a Fulbright fellow in Ethiopia for completion of his sixth book on the history of malaria in Ethiopia: The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia : Deposing the Spirits.

Please reserve your place soon to avoid disappointment.

Eventbrite Tickets - Reflections on Water and Watersheds: Images of Historical Identities in Abbay/Awash by James McCann

Unable to attend the event in person? Register for an online ticket to be sent a link to a Zoom broadcast of the live event.

Eventbrite Tickets - Reflections on Water and Watersheds: Images of Historical Identities in Abbay/Awash by James McCann - Online Event

First Published in News File Spring 2023

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