Current Institutional Affiliation
PhD fellow, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University

Yosef Sintayehu Jemberie was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He did his bachelor’s degree in history education at Haramaya University, Ethiopia, in 2008. He received his MA in philosophy from Addis Ababa University in 2013 and his MPhil in Interdisciplinary Social Studies from Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University, Uganda, in 2020. Jemberie taught history and philosophy for eight years at Samara University, Ethiopia, where he also served as the head of the Department of Civics and Ethics. The title of his MA thesis was “On the (Non-)Question of ‘What is Knowledge?’” in which he attempted to do a deconstructive reading of Plato’s text Theaetetus. He is currently doing fieldwork toward his dissertation “The Making of State of Emergency: A Historical Critique of Modern Political Power in Ethiopia.” His areas of specialization are literary and cultural studies and political theory. His major research interests are theories of sovereignty, biopolitics, and philosophy of humor.

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University
The Dialectic of Power and the Modern Political Subject: A Perspective from the Study of Political “State of Exception” in Modern Ethiopian History since the 19th Century

The entry point of this research is the two states of emergency declared by the Ethiopian government from 2016 to 2018 which fueled, rather than stop, the growing protest, rebellion and ethnic violence in that country. To understand this contradiction, the research will advance a theory of the dialectical relation between power and the modern political subject through a broader genealogical study of other related cases of state of emergency in Ethiopian history since the 19th century. The literature on this topic so far leaves a considerable pool of historical data poorly explained. This is partly because most theorizations fail to think of power beyond the question of state sovereignty. Through extensive archival study and fieldwork, this research will advance a historically informed theorization of the dialectic of power and modern political subjectivity beyond the issue of state sovereignty and from a study of the genealogy of political exceptions.