Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Katherine Turpin

Second Advisor

Carrie Doehring

Third Advisor

Carl Raschke

Fourth Advisor

Emmanuel Y. Lartey


Belonging, Embodiment, Hybridity, In-between pastoral care, In-between spaces, Postcolonial practical theology


Modern Ethiopian imperial religious and political evangelization generated and imposed externally-defined hegemonic fictive identities on all Ethiopians. This fictive identity (based on Amhara) contributes to current identity politics that cause ethnic violence, political instability, war, identity fragmentation, and, most of all, the elimination of in-between spaces where boundaries of identity can be crossed for peaceful co-existence. This dissertation integrates the study of Ethiopian religion and politics to advocate the restoration of in-between spaces and in-between subjectivities of Ethiopians. In-between spaces include political, social, religious, and geographical spaces that enable Ethiopians to live as a diversified community with solidarity, equity, care, and justice.

The methodological approach used in my dissertation is postcolonial practical theology. This interdisciplinary method includes descriptive, interpretive, normative, and pragmatic practical theological analysis that reframe fragmented and hegemonic identities of Ethiopians through proposals for an in-between theology, in-between pastoral care, and in-between praxis. Drawing on theological interpretations of the inbetween nature of Christ, I assert a broadened conception of pastoral care that incorporates civic, market, educational, and church settings where in-between spaces can

allow for the flourishing of this diversified community. While prior theological responses to the struggles of everyday Ethiopians emphasized a holistic theology to enable the church to resist feudalism and communism, these efforts have not been able to address the current violence and disconnection created by identity politics. My proposal for an inbetween theology invites Ethiopians to a new hybrid way of being that resists both fragmented and hegemonic identities. This dissertation’s postcolonial discourse and praxis of in-between pastoral care disrupts and interrogates hegemonic definitions of culture, home, subjectivity, and identity through hybridity, embodiment, belonging, and subjectivity of Ethiopians. In-between pastoral care empowers Ethiopians to live together with intercultural competence.

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Rights Holder

Rode Shewaye Molla


Received from ProQuest

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303 pgs