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Dr Aneesa Kassam

Honorary Fellow


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Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology  


Aneesa Kassam began her teaching career lecturing in French language and literature at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Whilst helping out on an archaeological expedition to N. Kenya in 1979, she 'discovered' her passion for anthropology and switched directions, completing her doctoral dissertation on the Gabra Oromo trickster figure in France in 1984, under the guidance of Professor Calame-Griaule, the daughter of Marcel Griaule.

Her post-doctoral research has continued to explore different aspects of the culture of the Oromo, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. She is also interested in indigenous systems of thought more generally and in the mid-1980s, she led a comparative research project on the anthropology of birds at the National Museums of Kenya. She has also carried out a number of consultancies in the field of development, on the problems relating to nomadic pastoralists in Africa; gender; water and refugees.

Research interests

  • Anthropological linguistics
  • Anthropology of development
  • Indigenous systems of thought among the East and Northeast African peoples
  • Nomadic pastoralists in Africa
  • Oromo culture, language, myth, ritual and history

Research groups

Research Projects

  • Female circumcision in Oromia, Ethiopia

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Africa: East and Northeast Africa
  • Sociology: Oromo people of East and Northeast Africa


Authored book

  • Megerssa, G. & Kassam, A. (2020). Sacred Knowledge Traditions of the Oromo of the Horn of Africa. Fifth World Publications.

Chapter in book

  • Kassam, A (2018). Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches in Development. In International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Callan, Hilary Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.
  • Megerssa, G & Kassam, A (2014). The Politics of Representation and State Violence in Ethiopia: the Oromo colonial experience. In Dissenting Knowledges Pamphlet Series. Penang, Malaysia, Multiversity and Citizens International).

Journal Article