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Curtin researcher bound for Ethiopia with prestigious humanities fellowship

Media release

A Curtin University human rights lecturer and author will travel to Ethiopia for research after receiving a Humanities Travelling Fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia map

Dr Yirga Woldeyes, from the Centre for Human Rights Education within Curtin’s School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, was awarded the fellowship, which enables early career researchers to undertake research overseas, including accessing rare archives and other research materials and connecting with international researchers and networks.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated Dr Woldeyes, who will use the Fellowship to pursue his research project titled ‘The Politics of Saving Endangered Knowledges in Africa: A case from Ethiopia’.

“Dr Woldeyes has been awarded the fellowship in recognition of his past achievements in the field of humanities, in particular his research and writings about African experiences and Ethiopian traditions,” Professor Terry said.

“The Humanities Travelling Fellowships are reserved for outstanding early career researchers to further their development and expand their horizons, so I am delighted Dr Woldeyes has been granted this incredible opportunity.”

Dr Woldeyes said he was excited to receive the fellowship and looking forward to continuing his research into important cultural and human rights issues.

“So far, my research has focused on decolonising knowledges, reimagining the idea of belonging, and teaching human rights from the perspective of diverse backgrounds, while addressing social and epistemic injustices in Africa,” Dr Woldeyes said.

“With this fellowship, I will be investigating areas such as the practice of ‘saving’ African intellectual assets based on the premise that they are endangered resources of humankind.”

Dr Woldeyes’ book Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence against Traditions in Ethiopia was published in 2017 and contributed to the theory of ‘Native Colonialism’, a process whereby a country colonises itself with foreign or imitated ideas and institutions.

Dr Woldeyes won the 2017 Curtin University Faculty of Humanities Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award and the 2017 Curtin University Humanities Research Award for Minor Creative Work of the Year.