In this talk, Moyagaye Bedward of Rutgers University examines Moroccan nationalism from a subaltern perspective. In contrast to previous historiography, nationalism in northern, urban sites such as Casablanca was also supported by southern Moroccans influenced by their pre-colonial experiences. Moyagaye discusses ordinary Moroccans, and in particular the Haratin, within the decolonization process, and demonstrate the … Read more Centering the Peripheries: Haratin and Southern Moroccans as Nationalists in Casablanca
Morocco’s little known tradition of women troupes who perform the famous Fantasia (“tbourida”) equestrian ceremony is the doctoral focus of Fulbright scholar Gwyneth Talley from the University of California at Los Angeles, who discussed her research findings at TALIM on Monday, April 23. Gwyneth shared insights into the culture of tbourida and how the revival in women’s equestrian sports, in particular the tbourida, coincided with the 2004 passage of Morocco’s new personal status code, the Mudawana.
Those who have teaching experience in private schools or those who are in training to become English school teachers can apply directly to us by following the instructions that will be posted on the MACECE FB page here and on their website later today.
Their voices came wafting up over the Legation courtyard, a springtime Friday evening. Intrigued, I paid a visit to our group of high school English students enrolled in the Global Voices Initiative program, thanks to our partnership with the American Language Center (ALC) Tangier. You can watch the videos on the ALC website.
It was practice for their upcoming presentation of a set of three plays, which they developed, wrote in English, and then performed for their audience of American students in Chicago, via a Google + connection.
Meanwhile, the Chicago students were doing the same thing – in Arabic. Here’s how George Bajalia (he’s smiling from the corner of the screen in the photo below), former Fulbright scholar in performance studies in Tangier, described the scene in Chicago:
When I came to Morocco on a Fulbright Fellowship in 2008 I was surprised to learn that almost no one knew that the celebrated African American writer Claude McKay had lived and worked in the country. Even more surprising were the people who knew of Claude McKay’s importance as a writer, without knowing that he had written most of his books in Morocco. Back in the United States, almost no one seemed to take seriously the author’s time in Morocco. To date there hasn’t been any examination of the influence living in Morocco had on the author’s work and the development and clarification of both his anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist ideas. This is a lacunae still waiting to be filled, as this is but a brief introduction to Claude McKay and some of the work that he did in Morocco.
When he first came to Morocco in 1928, Claude McKay was in an upbeat mood. His first novel, Home to Harlem, had just been published and was steadily climbing up the New York Times best-seller list, one of the earliest such feats for an African American writer. McKay had money in his pocket and was well on his way to writing his second and perhaps most celebrated novel, Banjo, which he would complete in Morocco.
In fact the time McKay would spend in Morocco, roughly from 1928-1934, would see the author producing an astonishing body of work in the country — not only did he complete Banjo on his first trip in 1928; but he would go on to complete the short story collection Gingertown and the novel Banana Bottom while living in Morocco. He would also revise the novel Savage Loving (which would later be re-titled Romance in Marseilles) while living in Tangier. Sometime in 1933, McKay thought of a new novel and began to write what would eventually become Harlem Glory. In addition, he wrote several poems and various sketches of Moroccan life while still living there. Later he dedicates a significant portion of his autobiography to his time in Morocco and the country would keep showing up in subsequent works as well. Though McKay would eventually leave Morocco to return to the United States, Morocco would not leave McKay and he would be preoccupied with the country, and all the relationships he forged there, until the end of his life in 1948.
What made Morocco, more than any of the other countries that McKay lived in, so conducive to his producing such a substantial body of creative work? I believe the answers can be found in his biography.
Born in 1889 on the island of Jamaica, McKay would come to the United States as a youthful twenty two year-old after having publishing two collections of dialect poems on the island. More publications would follow in the United States, but McKay was an ever restless and wandering person; after only a few years in the United States he set off for Europe, where he would end up living for a decade and a half, primarily in England and France. But always there was the pull to Africa. McKay writes in his autobiography that he was first invited to visit Morocco by a sailor from Martinique he met while working in France. In time McKay would take the sailor up on his offer to visit Morocco.
From the very start McKay fell in love with Morocco, and his published works – particularly his moving poems about Morocco – give us some sense of why the country became so meaningful to him. There was, of course, the colorful landscape, so reminiscent of his native Jamaica. His poem “Two Songs of Morocco” is a love song to the northern landscape of Morocco, where McKay lived for most of his time in the country. Here, in the breathtakingly beautiful cities of Tetouan, Chefchaouen and Tangier were the flaming “yellow daisies” that McKay remembered from his Caribbean childhood. Here too was a landscape of abundance, in which “fishes leap up like tumblers in the air.” In his lovely poem Xauen, McKay is particularly taken with the tiny all-blue mountain municipality, where the waters kept “… flowing like the dawn … [in] the gem the Moors call Xauen.”
This guest post is by Andrea Urbiel Goldner, a 2012-2013 US State Department Fulbright researcher in Morocco. She is a landscape architect, occasional lecturer in landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, writer, and 2013 Kresge Fellow in the Literary Arts. With Gary Urbiel Goldner as part of Peregrine Workshop, she is also working on a children’s book that grew out of stories they collected while conducting the Fulbright research in Morocco. Photos and illustrations by the couple.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Again we have no fresh bread in the house. This would not have happened in Morocco. Or if it did, it would have been solved in minutes—24 steps to the neighborhood oven, a quick chat with the baker, 24 steps home, and then our hands would have been negotiating with hot bread in order to get butter on it. And Gary’s daily peanut butter sandwich would have been made. Here, home, we have no reasonable walk to fresh bread.
We returned home from Morocco on July 7. Eleven days later our city declared bankruptcy. I should say that it asked for bankruptcy protection and restructuring. We—our city—have been declaring bankruptcy for my entire life. On my returns from college and graduate school and work in other places, I have been declaring an inability to consistently walk to fresh bread, a particularly painful form of social and constitutional bankruptcy.
We went to Morocco to study “community appliances”—I use this word to describe spaces, facilities, and rituals that serve as neighborhood venues to accomplish domestic tasks such as baking, washing, heating, cooling, communication, and entertainment—and the neighborhood vibrancy they create.
In Morocco think neighborhood oven and everywhere snack cart (baking); hammam (washing, communication, entertainment); teleboutique (communication, entertainment); paseo in the north and corniche elsewhere (communication, entertainment, cooling, heating); and every bakery, man café, or hanout where a shared television shows tonight’s football game. In America think coin laundry (washing, communication, entertainment), bar showing tonight’s game, and public library. In both places think wi-fi hot spot. To contrast think mobile phone, private washing machine (or in the case of Morocco, mom on the roof), and home television.
Thanks to a US Department of State Fulbright research grant and logistical support from TALIM, my family and I lived in Fes for 3 months and then Asilah for 7 more months in order to experience first-hand the community appliances and particular approaches to urban vibrancy in those cities.
One night, out for a stroll in Asilah, we found ourselves walking behind the baker and the man we affectionately called “moul tourist trinkets.” (Moul al-hanout—مول الحانوت—is the shopkeeper in Morocco. Moul fawakih—مول فواكه—is the fruit vendor. And so on.) Both had just closed up their respective shops across the street from each other and were conducting an easy-paced cool evening conversation. They turned in at the neighborhood mosque whose lamp lit a circle of the street in front of it. As we continued our stroll to the ocean, I tried to quiet my out-of-nowhere inconsolable sob. It took Gary a few minutes to notice; by then I had figured it out.
An American millionaire is kidnapped in Tangier, Morocco in 1904, and the incident sparks not only an episode of Teddy Roosevelt’s gunboat diplomacy, but also – a first in the 20th century – an outpouring of worldwide sympathy expressed in letters now at the American Legation museum.
Women artists from the Maghreb, part of the diaspora crisscrossing the Mediterranean, mix media and identity to create a “neo-Orientalist” school which challenges stereotypes and nationalisms of all sorts.