University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of African Studies Lent Seminar Series > Hybrid Images of Political Power: The Role of Iconographic Narratives in the Ethiopian Court (1880-1935)

Hybrid Images of Political Power: The Role of Iconographic Narratives in the Ethiopian Court (1880-1935)

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Part of the seminar series: Media and Intellectual Productions in Africa's Pasts and Presents

Portraits of the Ethiopian royalty from Menelik II (r. 1889-1913) until Haylé Sellasé (r. 1930-1974) are numerous and appear on diverse forms: photographs, postcards, coins, medals, stamps, church paintings… Analysing different written and iconographical materials shows how the kingship had been playing with the capacity of images to convey narratives, with their power of conviction, via different media. The display of such pictures was part of the sovereigns’ answers to the political stakes of the time, during a period of deep political and geographical transformations in Ethiopia. It took place in a wider symbolic politics that included others means like writings and ceremonies.

Estelle Sohier holds a PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the University of Naples, “L’Orientale”. Her thesis focused on the history of contemporary Ethiopia, and specifically on the political uses of images during the reigns of Menelik II and Haylé Sellasé (1880-1936). She is currently a lecturer at the Department of Geography of the University of Geneva.

This talk is part of the Centre of African Studies Lent Seminar Series series.

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