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WCED Lecture. Autocratic Ethno-federalism, Regime Change, and Ethiopia's Tigray War

Adam Fefer, WCED visiting associate and political science Ph.D. candidate, University of California, San Diego
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
12:00-1:30 PM
555 Weiser Hall Map
This lecture is about “autocratic ethno-federations” (AEs), countries under which more than half a billion people live. Fefer asks why AEs become more or less democratic, hypothesizing that key to explaining these regime changes under AE are levels of centralization and ethnic inclusion. He corroborates this hypothesis by analyzing three twenty-first century regime changes in Ethiopia and concludes by connecting Ethiopia’s recent autocratization to the Tigray War.

Adam Fefer is a WCED visiting associate and political science Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego. He holds an M.A. from UC San Diego and a B.A. from UC Berkeley. He studies authoritarianism, federalism, and ethnic conflict. His dissertation seeks to explain why authoritarian "ethno-federations" become more or less democratic, focusing primarily on Ethiopia. Using comparative case studies and elite interview data, Adam argues that changes to federal institutions—specifically, their changing levels of centralization and ethnic inclusiveness—help explain changes in the democratic status of such authoritarian ethno-federations.

This lecture will be presented in person in 555 Weiser Hall and on Zoom. Webinar registration required at

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Africa, International, Politics
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, International Institute, African Studies Center

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