Tronvoll, Kjetil

views updated



Male. Education: Attended University of Oslo and London School of Economics.


Office—Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 6706, St. Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway. E-mail—[email protected].


Anthropologist, author, and academic. Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, senior research fellow and Horn of Africa program director.


(With Oyvind Aadland) The Process of Democratisation in Ethiopia: An Expression of Popular Participation or Political Resistance?, Norwegian Institute of Human Rights (Oslo, Norway), 1995.

(With others) Evaluation of the Yearbook: Human Rights in Developing Countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Oslo, Norway), 1996.

Mai Weini, a Highland Village in Eritrea, Red Sea Press (Lawrenceville, NJ), 1998.

(With Tekeste Negash) Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2000.

(Editor, with Siegfried Pausewang and Lovise Aalen) Ethiopian since the Derg: A Decade of Democratic Pretension and Performance, Zed Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Sarah Vaughan) The Culture of Power in Contemporary Ethiopian Political Life, Sida Studies (Stockholm, Sweden), 2003.


Anthropologist and human rights specialist Kjetil Tronvoll is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, as well as the director for the Horn of Africa program. His research focuses mainly on the Horn of Africa region and Eastern Africa, with particular attention paid to the fallout from the war in Ethiopia. When the region of Eritrea gained its independence, Tronvoll was the first anthropologist allowed within its borders. The result was his book, Mai Weini, a Highland Village in Eritrea, which examines the lives of the people living in an Eritrean village, and how they coped with the conditions brought about by a thirty-year war with the Ethiopian government.

For Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Tronvoll collaborated with Tekeste Negash, a native of Ethiopia who left his homeland and now resides in Sweden. In a review for the Times Literary Supplement, Christopher Clapham called the book "scrupulously impartial, so much so, indeed, as to remove from their account any real sense of the passions that the conflict has aroused on either side." Foreign Affairs contributor Gail M. Gerhart noted that the authors disagree that the war was a border dispute, instead blaming a series of economic, historical, and ideological problems, stating that "the conflict was a civil war between the Tigrinya-speaking peoples who straddle the common border and whose leaders rule both countries."

Tronvoll told CA: "I have undertaken long-term anthropological fieldworks in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Zanzibar. I have also done research on and observed multiparty elections in a number of African countries. Dedicated to the subfield of political anthropology, where large-scale processes of political transformations are contextualized locally, my main research interests include conflict and war, the formation of ethnic and national identities, democratization in Africa, transitional justice, and political reconciliation."



Choice, November, 2001, T. Natsoulas, review of Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, p. 568.

Foreign Affairs, September-October, 2001, Gail M. Gerhard, review of Brothers at War.

Times Literary Supplement, November 23, 2001, Christopher Clapham, "The Price of Land," p. 20.


Norwegian Centre for Human Rights Web site, (October 12, 2004), "Kjetil Tronvoll."

Ohio University Press Web site, (October 12, 2004), "Kjetil Tronvoll."