Jon Abbink is an anthropologist-historian and carries out research on the history and cultures of the Horn of Africa (Northeast Africa), particularly Ethiopia.
He has done a number of research projects, the first one being a study of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel in the 1980s. His current projects are a socio-cultural history of South Ethiopia, an historical-cultural study of the relation between governance, political culture and religious discourse, and an ethnological study of southwest Ethiopian ethnic groups, livelihoods and conflict. He is also interested in theoretical and epistemological issues in social science.
Since 2001 Jan Abbink has been Professor (extraordinary) of African Ethnic Studies at the VU University in Amsterdam. As of 1 September 2017 he is Professor of Politics and Governance in Africa at Leiden University. Prof. Abbink is the Chair of the Researchers' Assembly of the African Studies Centre Leiden.