Gelaye, Getie

Getie GELAYE (Ph.D.)

Department of African and Ethiopian Studies, Asia-Africa-Institute,

University of Hamburg

Short academic Bio and Publications

Getie Gelaye received his BA in Ethiopian Languages and Literature and his MA in Social Anthropology from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), where he also worked as a Lecturer for over 7 years. His PhD is from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Hamburg University, Germany (2001) where he currently teaches at the Department of African and Ethiopian Studies. For over the last 20 years, Dr. Gelaye has been collecting, translating, and analyzing various poetic genres, songs, cultural heritages and important oral documents of events in Ethiopia’s history, including patriots’ praises and resistance poetry against the Italian occupation of 1936–41. In addition to sound recordings of local performances, Dr. Gelaye has done anthropological fieldwork among the rural communities of Gojjam in northwestern Ethiopia and interviewed the singers and poets who preserve Ethiopian heritage in their praise and historical poems. Dr. Gelaye has published two books, co-edited 2 volumes and several scholarly articles. He carried out further studies and researches in Europe and USA and worked at important universities and African Studies Centers with visiting fellowships in Ankara, Bahir Dar, Bloomington, Cape Town, Leiden, Lammi, London, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Warsaw, etc.

Since 2009, Dr Gelaye has been coordinating the Abbay Research Center (ARC) for Cultural and Development Studies, a multifunctional and multidisciplinary project initiative based at Bahir Dar University, Northwestern Ethiopia with the assistance of international and national scholars. In January 2012 Dr Gelaye co-organized the First International Conference: “From Ambivalence to Acceptance: International Conference on Azmari (poets and musicians or ‘Minstrel) in Ethiopiaat the Center for World Music, University of Hildesheim, Germany supported by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Dr Gelaye is a Fellow of the African Studies Center (The Netherlands) and Associate Fellow of the Finnish Folklore Fellows. He is a member of the International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA) and participates at its conferences.

Recent Publications


2011 Getie Gelaye, David Evans, Alula Pankhurst (eds.). Culture and Development for Amhara Region: Proceedings of the International Workshop on the launching of Amhara Region Culture and Development Research Center (ARCDRC) organized at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia; 30 October, 2009. Bahir Dar University Press, Bahir Dar.

2006 (with Elisabeth Biasio), Heilige und Helden. Äthiopiens zeitgenössische Malerei in traditionellen Stil. (Saints and Heroes: Ethiopian Contemporary Paintings in Traditional Style. Verlag Neue Züricher Zeitung und Volkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich. (Translated Amharic and Ge‘ez texts of paintings into German).

2001 Amharic Oral Poems of the Peasantry in East Gojjam: Text, Classification, Translation and Commentary. LIT Verlag. Muenster-Hamburg-London.

2000 Peasants and the Ethiopian State: Agricultural Producers’ Cooperatives and their Reflections in Amharic Oral Poetry, A Case Study in Yetnora, East Gojjam, 1975-1991. LIT Verlag. Muenster-Hamburg-London.

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

2012a "Amharic Praise Poems Composed in Honor of Emperor Yohannes IV (1872-1889)", International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Vol. VI, No. 1&2, 115-133.

2012b “Connecting the Ethiopian Diaspora with their Root Back Home: Azmari Dejen Manchilot in Israel“, in: Wolfgang Bender (et. al eds): From Ambivalence to Acceptance. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Azmari in Ethiopia. (forthcoming).

2011 The Teaching of Amharic in Germany”, in: Delombera Negga and Alain Rouaud, (eds.), Etudes éthiopiennes L’enseignement de l’amharique. INALCO, Paris. (forthcoming)

2009a "Amharic Oral Poetry Composed and Recited in Response to Agrarian Policies and Conflicts in Ethiopia" in: Thomas Bearth (et. al. eds.). African Languages in Global Society. Papers Read at the Symposium "Text in Context: African Langugeages Between Orality and Scriptuality". Köln, Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. pp. 63-76.

2009b “Amharic Praise Poems Related to Emperors Tewodros II and Yohannes IV” in: Svein Ege (et al eds.). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies 2-6 July 2007. Trondheim. Vol. 4, 1349-1363.

2007 “Songs and Blessings of the Amina in Gojjam”, Annales d’Ethiopie. Vol. 23, (with accompanying CD). Paris, DEBOCARD, pp.17-44.

2006 “Amharic Praise Poems of Däjjzmach Bälay Zälläqä and the Patriots of Gojjam During the Resistance Struggle Against the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia, 1936-41” in: Siegbert Uhlig, (ed.). Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies in Hamburg. Wiesbaden. Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 587-597.

2005 “Ethiopian Contributions to the Study of Amharic Oral Poetry” in: Heinrich Schoeller and Stefan Bruene, (eds.) Auf dem Weg zum Moderne Äthiopien Festschrift in Honor of Bairu Tafla on His 65th Birthday. Muenster. LIT Verlag. pp. 95-107.

2004 “European Contribution to the Study of Amharic Oral Poetry” in: Verena Boell (et al., eds). Studia Aethiopica in Honour of Siegbert Uhlig on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, pp. 405-412.

2002 “Text Analysis of Children’s Songs in Amharic” in: Theda Schumann, (et al., eds.). Aktuelle Forschungen zu afrikanischen Sprachen. Koeln. Koeppe Verlag. pp. 291-305.

2000 “Peasant Poetics and State Discourse in Ethiopia: Amharic Oral Poetry as a Response to the 1996-97 Land Redistribution Policy”. Northeast African Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1-2 171-206.

1999 “Contemporary Amharic Oral Poetry from Gojjam: Classification and a Sample Analysis”. Aethiopica. International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Vol. 2, 124-141.

1998 “Semantic Analysis of Amharic Kinship Terms in Gojjam: An Anthropological Approach”. AFRICA Rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione dell’Istituto italiano per l’Africa el’Oriente. Vol. 53, No. 1, 71-92.



Presentation topic: Documenting and Preserving “Qärärto and Fukkära”: ‘Heroic Recitals’ and ‘Warriors’ Poetry’ - Two Popular Poetic Traditions in Ethiopian