Dr. Adane Zawdu Gebyanesh

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I am a cultural sociologist who focuses on how categories of difference structure our social and political experience, with a particular interest in ethnic and racial categorization.

I received my Ph.D. from the Sociology Department at the University of Connecticut. In my dissertation, titled When Rituals Migrate: A Study of The Relationships Between Collaborative Cultural Practices and Social Ties Among Ethiopian Immigrants in Israel, I explore how individuals and communities sustain resources and skills in the face of the precarious conditions of migration. Focusing ethnographically on ritual practice and the connection between micro and meso-level processes, I emphasize the micro-practices, relations, and material objects through which constitutive relationships are formed and sustained between collaborative cultural practices and social ties among Ethiopian immigrants who came to Israel between 1977-1992.

During 2020-2021 I was the Jonathan Shapiro postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, focusing on the social and political processes leading to the 2015 anti-police violence protest and the solidification of racialized political subjectivity among Ethiopian Israelis.

During my Polonsky Fellowship, I will be working on a project titled The Changing Structure of Difference: The Working of Ethnic and Racial Categories Among Ethiopian Migrants in Israel, 1977-2020, studying the changing relations between ethnic culture and skin color among Ethiopian Israelis, from the early years of migration to present day. I will focus on how categories of difference and group formation are linked to particular social spaces, networks, opportunities, and policing, as well as the social and political consequences of the changing classification structure.