The classical concept of Ethiopian Studies, developed by European scholars, is based on disciplines like philology and linguistics, history and ethnography. It includes the study of Ethiopian arts and the history and theology of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The classical core of Ethiopian Studies is the philology of the written sources of Christian Ethiopia and Ethio-semitic linguistics. While this approach is still alive and has its role, Ethiopian Studies has opened to a wider concept that tries to avoid a bias in favour of the Christian Abyssinian culture (Amhara, Tigrinya; cf. Habesha people). It includes the study of the other Afro-Asiatic languages and cultures of Ethiopia besides those of Ethio-semitic derivation; the nation's non-Afro-Asiatic languages and cultures, including the southern Ethiopian cultures; non-Christian faiths, comprising Islam and traditional religions; social and political sciences; as well as contemporary issues like environment and development studies.
Ethiopian Studies scholars congregate at the interdisciplinary International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, a series of gatherings that takes place every three years. Every third conference is held in Ethiopia. The last meeting was in Dire Dawa, 29 Oct. - 2 Nov. 2012. Volumes of proceedings are published after most conferences.
Journals and publications
Ethiopian Studies is served by a few journals and publications specifically devoted to the field. These include:
- Journal of Ethiopian Studies (Ethiopia)
- Annales d'Ethiopie (France)
- Aethiopica (Germany)
- Rassegna di Studi Etiopici (Italy)
- Quaderni di studi Etiopici (Italy)
- Northeast African Studies (USA)
- Encyclopaedia Aethiopica
- Merid Wolde Aregay
- Lionel Bender
- Enrico Cerulli
- Neville Chittick
- Marcel Cohen
- August Dillmann
- Harold C. Fleming
- Angelo Del Boca
- Robert Hetzron
- Olga Kapeliuk
- Wolf Leslau
- Donald N. Levine
- Enno Littmann
- Hiob Ludolf
- Richard Pankhurst
- Edward Ullendorff
- Lanfranco Ricci
- Carlo Conti Rossini
- Abbink, Jon G. 1991: Ethiopian Society and History: a Bibliography of Ethiopian Studies, 1957-1990. Leiden.
- Abbink, Jon, 1995: Eritreo-Ethiopian Studies in Society and History 1960-1995: a Supplementary Bibliography. Leiden.
- Abbink, Jon, 2010: A Bibliography of Ethiopian-Eritrean Studies in Society and History 1995-2010. Addis Ababa & Leiden.
- Kropp, Manfred 1994, "From Manuscripts to the Computer: Ethiopian Studies in the Last 150 Years". In: K.J. Cathcart (ed.): The Edward Hincks Bicentenary Lectures. Dublin . pp. 117-35.
- Uhlig, Siegbert, et al. (eds.) (2005). "Ethiopian Studies". In: Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Vol. 2: D-Ha. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 433f-38.