Overview of the Department of Social Anthropology at AAU
University training in sociology and social anthropology in Ethiopia began in 1951 when Addis Ababa University (AAU) was known as the University College of Addis Ababa. In the early 1950s, the two disciplines were first taught as sub-components of freshman introductory courses. The first department under the name ‘Sociology and Social Anthropology’ was established in 1962 within the then Faculty of Arts. It was renamed Applied Sociology in 1978/9, Sociology and Social Administration in 1983/4, and Sociology and Social Anthropology (SOSA) in 2002/3. Until its separation in Fall 2008, the Department SOSA offered a joint sociology and social anthropology undergraduate program (regular and evening), and two separate MA programs - one in sociology and the other in social anthropology. In Fall 2008, the Department evolved into two independent departments: sociology and social anthropology.
The MA program in Social Anthropology at Addis Ababa University commenced in 1990 following a cooperative agreement between the then Department of Sociology and Social Administration and the Christian Michelsen Institute of Norway. The Program generally aimed at establishing Social Anthropology as a fully-fledged academic discipline with concomitant infrastructural facilities and local staff training. The Program has produced a number of qualified anthropologists currently serving at different positions in academics, governmental and non-governmental organizations both at national and international levels. Most of the current senior staff members of the Department of Social Anthropology and several other junior staff currently working in many of the higher learning institutions throughout the country are graduates of this Program. External reviewers twice assessed the MA program in Social Anthropology as strong and successful.
As part of its effort to build on this achievement, pursuant a university wide curricula revisions and taking into account the growing demand in the country for professional anthropologists, a fully-fledged Department of Social Anthropology was established at AAU in Fall 2008. The new undergraduate program in Social Anthropology is designed to build on the achievements of the MA program in Social Anthropology. It seeks to produce qualified graduates who will provide professional services in the governmental, non-governmental, community-based organizations and academic and research institutions of higher learning. It also endeavors to feed into the expanding postgraduate programs (both MA and PhD) in social sciences and humanities in general and in Social Anthropology in particular. The PhD program in social anthropology has been launched in fall 2009.