The Teacher State: Militarization and the Reeducation of the Nation in Eritrea
Jennifer Riggan

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Arcadia University

Primary Discipline

Through a fine-grained ethnographic examination of a cohort of teachers in the East African nation of Eritrea, this study explores teachers’ efforts to shape students into citizens in the midst of authoritarian, militarized rule. Throughout Eritrea’s transition to militarized authoritarianism, teachers believed that they had a duty to build their fledgling nation by instilling a sense of national identity, duty and morality in their students, but they despaired that they would be unable to accomplish these lofty goals given the conditions of governance in Eritrea. The study explores four strategies teachers used to resist state militarization and produce an alternate form of citizenship: reinterpreting state policy, shirking their duties, disciplining students and encouraging debates about emigration. By exploring the contradictions embedded in these strategies, the study fundamentally rethinks the relationship between teachers and the authoritarian state.
About Jennifer Riggan

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