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Mulugeta, Daniel (2021) 'Pan-Africanism and the Affective Charges of the African Union Building in Addis Ababa.' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 33 (4). pp. 521-537.

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In 2002, the African Union (AU) inaugurated its Chinese-funded, designed, built, and furnished headquarters building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, receiving the admiration of African leaders. The building was hailed as a new material expression of pan-African unity. This article explores the affective potency of the AU built environment to unsettle and unfurl conceptions of pan-African identity. Beginning with an analysis of sensory impressions of the outer appearance and architectural forms of the built space, the article meanders through its inner structures to describe how these assemble affective intensities around the notion of pan-Africanism. In particular, it concentrates on the experiences of Addis Ababa residents and AU officials who express divergent sentiments and visions of pan-Africanism. It argues that affective reactions associated with sensorial encounters with built forms, mediated by pre-existing discourses, reveal the divergent modes of belonging to pan-Africanism. The affective potency of the AU is of acute interest because of its presumed role as a mediator in nationalist conflicts, not least those currently underway in Ethiopia itself.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 13696815
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2021 09:26
Funders: European Union

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