Smith argues that citizenship creation and expansion is a pivotal part of political contestation in Africa today. Citizenship is a powerful analytical tool to approach political life in contemporary Africa because the institutional and structural reforms of the past two decades have been inextricably linked with the battle over the 'right to have rights'. Professor Lahra Smith's work advances the notion of meaningful citizenship, referring to the ways in which rights are exercised, or the effective practice of citizenship. Using data from Ethiopia and developing a historically informed study of language policy, ethnicity and gender identities, Smith analyzes the contestation over citizenship that engages the state, social movements and individuals in substantive ways. By combining original data on language policy in contemporary Ethiopia with detailed historical study and a focus on ethnicity, citizenship and gender, this work brings a fresh approach to Ethiopian political development and contemporary citizenship concerns across Africa.