The Djibouto-Ethiopian Railway Archives Project : Historical Stakes and Status
by Prof. Shiferaw Bekele and Dr. Simon Imbert-Vier
Date: Thursday June 21, 2018 – 5-6 pm
Venue: Berhanou Abebe Library, French Centre for Ethiopian Studies (Jan Meda, https://goo.gl/maps/sutSritp3MU2)
The Ethio-French Railway was the first industrial enterprise of Ethiopia. Built at the beginning of the 20th Century, this line was operated by a French Company, which became Ethiopian in 1959 but remained under concrete French administration up to the independence of Djibouti in 1977.
Its existence drove the French influence into the Horn of Africa and contributed to structure the Ethiopian external commercial relations. But it had also an impact on the construction of the Ethiopian State, Dire Dawa becoming one of its most important source of income, and the creation of an Ethiopian industrial social class.
This entity produced many archives for its administration, due to its strategic importance, but it was also the subject of many texts, from literature and travel reports to scientific essays.
The speakers will present the history of the railway and how it impacted the societies, economies and strategic relations into the Horn of Africa. They will then present the state of the archives and documentation related to the railway, including the project of digitalisation of part of these archives, processed with the funding of the French Centre of Ethiopian Studies and the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, in partnership with Dire Dawa University.
Les intervenants / the speakers
Shiferaw Bekele is professor emeritus in History at Addis Abeba University. His publications mainly deal with the social and economic history of Ethiopia.
Simon Imbert-Vier is historian, researcher at the Institut des mondes africains (IMAF, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne & Université Aix-Marseille). He has been working on territorial and identity construction around Djibouti, and is now involved in the Railway archives project along with the French Centre of Ethiopian Studies.