Cover

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p. 1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

This book effectively began more than a decade ago. It has escorted me across three continents and compelled me as much as helped me negotiate a number of life experiences and relationships— academic and not— including my relationship to the discipline of anthropology, my research, and myself.
I carried my curiosity, passion, and ruminations around language, identity, and education in North Africa...

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Writing about Language: Terminology and Transliteration

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pp. xv-xxii

The interrogation of the politics of language and knowledge in contemporary Morocco required a number of terminological choices that are inescapably loaded and necessitate qualification. The nationalist language policy of Arabization, which is the scaffold of my investigation of Morocco’s post-independence trajectory, hinged on the standardization and generalization of a modern Arabic language. However neither of these processes, standardization...

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1. Schools in Crisis

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pp. 1-32

As we walked toward a bookshop in Kenitra, a medium- sized city on the Atlantic coast, Lahiane, a high school student in his senior year, and I passed a gathering of several hundred unemployed demonstrators. This buzzing crowd made up of both sexes and a variety of ages, anger and boredom imprinted on their faces, had gathered outside the town’s city hall to organize yet another rally demanding more jobs that were both secure and more highly...

Part I

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2. Study Antigone to Become a Scientist!

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pp. 35-70

In September 2007 Zineb was a fifteen-year-old public school student who had graduated al-iʿdādī or collège (middle school) and was about to enter al-thānawī or lycée (high school). Invited to her home for early evening tea, I sat in on a conversation she had with her parents and four siblings about the academic discipline she would choose for the next three years. The first year of high school comprises al-jidhʿal-mushtarak or le tronc commun (the common core), and the second and third...

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3. Paradox and Passion in the Tower of Babel

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pp. 71-104

Please welcome the fifty-first student of your class!” exclaimed the [dar.] mudīr (school principal) of the Ibn Battuta high school as he introduced me to the SVT senior-year class. The SVT class belongs to the Experimental Sciences track and takes its name from the abbreviation of its key subjects, Biology and Geology: Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre or ʿUlūm al-Ḥayāt wa-l-Arḍ. His announcement, followed by a wink he cast in my direction, alluded both to the fact...

Part II

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4. Inheritance, Heritage, and the Disinherited: Sacred Arabic

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pp. 107-138

On the bus ride home from school that we frequently took together, junior-year student Malika often initiated provocative discussions about piety, the moral problems that undercut Moroccan society, and the relationship between what she called the “Muslim World” and the “West.” The child of two primary school teachers, Malika was articulate and authoritative beyond her years. From her flushed face and beaming smile, I could tell she took equal pleasure...

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5. Once Upon a Time, There Was a Happy Old Berber Couple

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pp. 139-176

I made sure never to miss Mr. Idrissi’s senior- year Arab Literature class, admittedly the most enjoyable I ever attended— even counting my own high school years. An amateur actor, Mr. Idrissi was dramatic and enthusiastic, exerting every possible effort to motivate and excite his students. His energy was infectious to the point that both students and anthropologist hung on his every word. During one double session, Mr. Idrissi introduced the class to the topic...

Part III

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6. Desires in Languages

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pp. 179-211

In a badly lit, run-down, and unheated locker room, the girls in the senior-year Humanities track were getting ready for gym class. While changing into a tracksuit, adjusting her ḥijāb (veil), teasing her best friend about her dreadful volleyball skills, and singing the latest tune she heard on the radio, Khadija reported the newest developments of her online romance with Tarek. A student in the year below, Tarek spoke with Khadija online without being...

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7. Out of Class, into the Street

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pp. 212-230

On my way home yesterday, I decided to walk along the main avenue. It was dusk, I guess it was around 7 p.m. The ave nue was full with demonstrators, you know, the unemployed ones. There were so many of them, even women! One of them was pregnant. Some of the demonstrators clashed with the police and others ran away to seek refuge in the side streets. I got really scared. I thought, what if a policeman mistakes me for one of them and arrests...

Notes

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pp. 231-248

References

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pp. 249-268

Index

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pp. 269-280

About the Author

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pp. 281-282