Dissertation Proposal Defense Announcement by Kedir Assefa Tessema
Date and Time
Monday, August 25, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, 145
San Diego, CA 92110
A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT STUDENT ACTIVISTS IN ETHIOPIA: A LIFE COURSE OF BECOMING, BELONGING AND LEADING
The introduction of higher education 65 years ago in Ethiopia provided a context and avenue for students to engage in activism. As such, the student movement literature shows two historically and temporally distinctive periods of student protests, campus unrests, and other forms of student actions. The first period, which was roughly from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, was widely portrayed by scholars as a milestone in Ethiopian social movement and contentious politics, and a great deal of literature exists which shows the evolution, spread and political significance of student activism during this period. The second period, which spans from 1990 to present, has not only showed the continued commitment of student activists, but it has also brought a challenge to the scholarship of social movement. Despite the wide spread protest movements in the growing higher education landscape, only few studies exist, leaving a significant gap in our knowledge about student activists.
The purpose of this study is to examine student activists’ becoming, belonging and leading. The study specifically examines the (a) socio-demographic factors and life experiences that motivate students into activism; (b) domains of activists’ belonging that characterize student activists; (c) specific leadership roles student activists play compatible with the challenges of mobilizing students; and (d) ways student activists’ becoming, belonging and leadership intersect and interact either to limit and/or facilitate locally appropriate activism.
Data will be collected through interviews and document analysis using a qualitative retrospective narrative design. Eight former student activists will be identified through two-stage snowball sampling, and interviews will be conducted via telephone and internet voice/video talk platforms with each participant. The process of making sense of the interviews occurs at two, but concurrent, levels. These are interview textualization—mainly through translations and transcriptions—and contextualization—mainly through document analysis. Story-focused coding will then be carried out to map out the narratives of activists’ becoming, belonging and leading.
This research has implications for our understanding of students’ political engagement in under-researched countries, which contributes to the literature on contemporary student activists, their leadership, and how higher education enables and/or limits the flourishing of youth leadership.
**USD graduate students and faculty are welcome.