Dr Samson A. Bezabeh

Assistant Professor (African Studies, Faculty of Arts)



Samson A. Bezabeh, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He was previously a Research Fellow at Makerere University, Post-doctoral researcher at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and has been affiliated with the University of Bergen, the University of Exeter, and Addis Ababa University. His research interests include diaspora studies, state- society interaction, colonialism, religion (Islam and Orthodox Christianity) as well as issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and class in Africa. His article, “Citizenship and the Logic of Sovereignty in Djibouti,” published in African Affairs, won the journal’s African Author Prize. He has finalized a book-length study that describes the interaction between Yemeni diaspora, states and empires in the Horn of Africa. The monograph is published by the American University in Cairo Press. Currently, he has finalized two other manuscripts which are under contract Orthodox Ethiopia: Unsettling Conceptions of Political Transformation (Michigan University Press, Michigan) and Djibouti: A Political History (Lynne Rienner, Colorado). His fourth book Meanings from Other worlds: Local Strategies of Political Engagements is being finalised and will be submitted for publication in December 2023.   

Courses taught


PhD in Social Anthropology
University of Bergen

M.Phil in Anthropology of Development
University of Bergen

M.A in Social Anthropology
Addis Ababa University

B.A. in Sociology and Social Administration
Addis Ababa University

Research interests

Bezabeh’s research interests include diaspora studies, religion and media, religion and the state, as well as issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and class in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Djibouti and Ethiopia, and the southern Arabian Peninsula.

Honours and recognitions

2021  University  of Hong Kong Faculty of Art’s Start Up Fund

2017 Visiting Fellowship, African Studies, Leiden, Netherlands

2015 Visiting Fellowship, African Studies, Leiden, Netherlands

2014 International Fellowship for Experienced Researchers – Fernand Braudel – IFER by the  European Commission  and  Fondation Maison des Science de L’Homme:  http://www.fmsh.fr/fr/c/6180.

2013 Visiting Fellowship, African Studies, Leiden, Netherlands

2012- African Author Prize from the journal African Affairs and the Royal African Society of Great Britain:


2012- Research Prize from Lauritz Meltzer fund : http://no.cyclopaedia.net/wiki/Lauritz_Meltzer.

2010 -Research grant from the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Bergen.

2009 – Scholarship from Norwegian State Education Fund.

2006 – Scholarship from Norwegian Agency for International Development

Selected publications

Books [ Published/ under contract]

Samson A. Bezabeh Djibouti: A Political History (Lynne Rienner, Colorado), Forthcoming August 2023.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2016. Subjects of Empires/Citizens of State: Yemenis in the Port of Djibouti and its Hinterland. Cairo/ New York: The American University in Cairo Press.

Samson A. Bezabeh Orthodox Ethiopia: Unsettling Conceptions of Political Transformation ( Under contract with Michigan University Press)

Books under Preparation

Meanings from Other worlds: Local Strategies of Political Engagements

Articles (Published/Peer Reviewed)

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2021. “Djibouti  and the Death of Hamoudi Ahmed’ Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 243, 511-531. https://journals.openedition.org/etudesafricaines/34699.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2017. “Arab Diaspora in Geopolitical Spaces: Imperial Contestation and the Making of  Colonial Subjecthood in Djibouti”, Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines,  LVII, 225, 17-38.

Samson A. Bezabeh  and Eloi Ficquet. 2017.  ‘Djibouti’ , In Kate Fleet , Gudrun Kramer et.al (eds) The Encyclopedia of Islam, Third Edition. Leiden/Boston : Brill.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2017.  ‘Africa’s Unholy Migrants: Mobility and Migrants Morality in the Age of Borders’, African Affairs , Vol. 116,  Issue 462, 1-17..

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2015. “Living Across Digital Landscapes: Muslims, Orthodox and Indian Guru in Urban Ethiopia”. In Rosalind Hackett and Benjamin Soares (eds) New Media and Religion in Africa. Indiana University Press.

Samson A. Bezabeh . 2012.“Mythical Roots, Fantasmic Realities and Transnational Migrants : Yemenis Across the Gulf of Aden”.  Cyber Orient, Vol. 6, Issue 2.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2011. Citizenship and the Logic of Sovereignty in Djibouti. African Affairs, 110/441, 587-606.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2011. “Yemeni Families in the Early History of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ca.1900-1950: A Revisionist Approach in Diasporic Historiography”. Cahiers d’Études Africaines, LI (4) No.204, pp. 893-919.

Samson A. Bezabeh. 2010. Muslim Hadramis in “Christian Ethiopia”. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 30, No.3, pp. 333-343.