Open Access (free)
Sven Rubenson, Amsalu Aklilu, Shiferaw Bekele, and Samuel Shiferaw 

A variety of matters are dealt with in the documents of the year 1880, but two issues receive special attention. The first issue is the attempts made by the Italian government and its representatives to secure and expand their settlement at Aseb by means of agreements with local rulers, many of which seem to lack proper documentation on the Ethiopian part. The second issue is found in letters that deal with the problems of identifying the purposes and roles of European explorers and their respective fate, in particular the arrest of Giovanni Chiarini and Antonio Cecchi, as well as the death of the former and the release of the latter.

in Colonial Powers and Ethiopian Frontiers 1880–1884
Open Access (free)
Sven Rubenson, Amsalu Aklilu, Shiferaw Bekele, and Samuel Shiferaw 

Among the issues treated in the documents of 1881, the two most important are, first, the attempts made by Emperor Yohannis to define the borders of his country: these attempts involve Gerhard Rohlfs as German arbitrator, his mission to Egypt to obtain new bishops for Ethiopia, and his engagement on behalf of the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem. The second important issue is King Minīlik’s increasing attempts at an independent foreign policy and control over the increasing Italian interests in Ethiopia, documented in his letters to King Umberto of Italy. The increasing role of the import of arms for the Ethiopian rulers is also clearly visible.

in Colonial Powers and Ethiopian Frontiers 1880–1884
Open Access (free)
Sven Rubenson, Amsalu Aklilu, Shiferaw Bekele, and Samuel Shiferaw 

The letters of 1882 include a number related to internal conflicts between regional rulers and opposition to the Emperor. They also contain documents related to the struggle between Egypt and the colonial powers for control over the Gulf and the trade routes, and the increasing involvement of the most important ruler in the area, the Sultan of Awsa, Maḥammad Ḥanfadhē. The documents include the first letter by an Ethiopian ruler written in a European language.

in Colonial Powers and Ethiopian Frontiers 1880–1884
Open Access (free)
Sven Rubenson, Amsalu Aklilu, Shiferaw Bekele, and Samuel Shiferaw 

The documents from 1883 are strongly dominated by correspondence between local rulers along the coast and in Danakil and the representatives of the Italian government. The most important documents are the treaties between Italy and Awsa and Italy and Shewa, clearly revealing the interdependence between the rulers of Shewa and the rulers of the Danakil, the basic issue being secure and free trade routes and Italian hegemony over other European interests. A number of letters from Emperor Yohannis to European rulers show the increasing Ethiopian impatience with continued European support for Egypt after its defeat in the wars of the 1870s, and an interesting letter demonstrates the Emperor’s concern over the growing cooperation between King Minīlik and the Italians.

in Colonial Powers and Ethiopian Frontiers 1880–1884
Open Access (free)
Sven Rubenson, Amsalu Aklilu, Shiferaw Bekele, and Samuel Shiferaw 

The most important documents of the year 1884 are the letters from Emperor Yohannis to Queen Victoria and her representatives and the so-called Hewett treaty of 7 June 1884, which finally ended the Ethio-Egyptian war that had started in 1875. Several documents from this year reveal the strong relations between Italy and Shewa, the role of Count Pietro Antonelli, and the tensions created by these leading up to the famous Wichale treaty and the subsequent Italian attempt to conquer Ethiopia. Other documents relate to an increased French presence in the Gulf, including a number of rather suspect so-called agreements, eventually leading up to the French colony of Djibouti.

in Colonial Powers and Ethiopian Frontiers 1880–1884

Colonial powers and Ethiopian frontiers 1880–1884 is the fourth volume of Acta Aethiopica, a series that presents original Ethiopian documents of nineteenth-century Ethiopian history with English translations and scholarly notes. The documents have been collected from dozens of archives in Africa and Europe to recover and present the Ethiopian voice in the history of Ethiopia in the nineteenth century. The present book, the first Acta Aethiopica volume to appear from Lund University Press, deals with how Ethiopian rulers related to colonial powers in their attempts to open Ethiopia for trade and technological development while preserving the integrity and independence of their country. In addition to the correspondence and treatises with the rulers and representatives of Italy, Egypt and Great Britain, the volume also presents letters dealing with ecclesiastical issues, including the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem.

Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

Chapter 3 investigates various theories all of which interpret an interest in the past as being conditioned by phenomena in the present. It describes the discourse, which first appeared in the 1970s, in which an alleged abuse of the past is exemplified by references to ancient Egypt. A discussion of the development and context of some compensatory interpretations follows: the heritage industry as a result of industrial decline in the West; musealisation as a reaction against modernisation; chronic nostalgia as a consequence of modernity; preservation and material memory as a reaction against secularisation and mortality; and monumentalisation as a reaction to change and threats in society. By way of conclusion, the author argues for the role of the past in creating and maintaining social communities. Heritage may be used creatively in order to generate meaning for the benefit of human beings.

in Heritopia
Jes Wienberg

Chapter 6 investigates the background of the creation of the World Heritage Convention, with a growing number of World Heritage sites. World Heritage is analysed as an innovation, looking at the ratification by different states over time. This innovation has been criticised both from inside and outside UNESCO, and it has been challenged by attempts to create other lists. However, the convention has been astutely managed and adjusted to criticism and new demands. In view of the global governmental consensus around the convention, it must be deemed a great success. Heritage sites are being modernised in order to achieve the status of World Heritage, and already inscribed sites are being modernised in order to adapt to tourism and other needs. The creation of a clearly defined and distinguished category of World Heritage is interpreted as a reaction against the expansion of non-defined heritage. Finally, the status of World Heritage is viewed as an example of a modern enchantment, to be favourably compared with the sacred in other spheres.

in Heritopia
Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

Chapter 4 investigates central concepts including time, change, duration, progress, decay, modernity, postmodernity, hypermodernity, and fluid modernity, and argues for a new perspective on modernity. The chapter begins with an exploration of the concept of time, creating a context for an understanding and a questioning of David Lowenthal’s famous claim that “The Past is a Foreign Country”. It goes on to discuss the relationship between progress and decay, whereupon it presents different views on what modernity is, has been, or ought to be. The theoretical and societal context of the concept and perception of modernity is mapped. The ambiguous relationship between different expression of modernity and tradition is explored. So is the persistent discourse by means of which scholars and intellectuals criticise contemporary society, modernity in particular. The author regards the concept of modernity as a collection of contradictory narratives, proposing an enlightened modernity that combines progress in both technology and ideas.

in Heritopia
Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

Chapter 5 investigates the concept and expansion of heritage. It starts with the common claim that “heritage is everywhere” and that there is a “heritage boom”. Statistics reveal that heritage has gradually grown as a phenomenon in the course of the twentieth century, becoming more prominent from the 1970s onwards but still dwarfed by history and memory as concepts. The evolution of two cultures in relation to heritage is presented in detail – the first being what is named canonical heritage, the other calling itself critical heritage. The process of canonisation is discussed, as is the origin of the “heritage” concept at the time of the French Revolution. The background of critical heritage is displayed in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, whose adherents belong to a large group of people who have been, and are, uncomfortable with modernity. Heritage, however, is not a consequence of a societal crisis; as the author argues, the rise of heritage represents a crisis in the eyes of the critics. By now, the two cultures with their world views are both institutionalised; so if there is an “Authorized Heritage Discourse”, there is also an “Authorized Critical Heritage Discourse”. Attitudes towards heritage are explored in discussions concerning authenticity, vandalism, and relations to modernity. Heritage expansion is related to the general acceleration of change. Finally, the author recommends a look at what a relatively young and more moderate Lowenthal wrote on heritage before “The Past is a Foreign Country” and other critical texts.

in Heritopia