Podcast: Landscape and Identity in Medieval Morocco, by Dr. Abbey Stockstill

Dr. Abbey Stockstill


Why does Marrakesh look the way that it does? The Red City is the topic of the forthcoming book by Dr. Abbey Stockstill, in which she discusses the medieval city’s relationship with its founding dynasties, the local landscape, and Berber politics in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. As the notion of what it meant to be “Berber” was being defined, the city of Marrakesh emerged as a metropolis that actively engaged the multivalent identities of Almoravids and Almohad dynasties. Rather than taking individual monuments in isolation, Dr. Stockstill’s work looks at how those monuments worked with each other and the local landscape to create a stage for these identities to be expressed. What emerges is a city that is both paradigmatic in its structure, yet innovative in its social and historical context.

Dr. Abbey Stockstill received her Ph.D. in the History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University (2018), and is currently an assistant professor of Islamic art and architecture at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She has contributed essays to academic journals such as Muqarnas and Hésperis-Tamuda, as well as to a number of edited volumes. She is also an assistant editor for the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, and serves on various committees within the International Center for Medieval Art and the Historians of Islamic Art Association. She is thrilled to be returning to Morocco after a two-year, pandemic-enforced hiatus, and can be found wherever couscous is being served.

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Selected bibliography:

Abbey Stockstill, “From the Kutubiyya to Tinmal: The Sacred Direction in Mu’minid Performance,” The Friday Mosque in the City: Liminality, Ritual, and Politics, ed. by A. Hilal Uğurlu and Suzan Yalman (Chicago: Intellect, 2020); 
Stockstill, Abbey Parker. 2018. The Mountains, the Mosque, & the Red City: ʿAbd Al-Muʾmin and the Almohad Legacy in Marrakesh. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Ramzi Rouighi, Inventing the Berbers: History and Ideology in the Maghrib (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019); 
Mehdi Ghouirgate, L’Ordre Almohade (1120-1269) (Tempus, 2014); 
Somaiyeh Falahat, Cities and Metaphors: Beyond Imaginaries of Islamic Urban Space (New York: Routledge, 2018); 
Amira K. Bennison, The Almoravid and Almohad Empires (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016); 
D. F. Ruggles, Gardens, Landscape, & Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008