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Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa Cover

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Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa

Into the New Millennium

Edited by Sherine Hafez and Susan Slyomovics

This volume combines ethnographic accounts of fieldwork with overviews of recent anthropological literature about the region on topics such as Islam, gender, youth, and new media that are of particular relevance for understanding the "Arab Spring" of 2011. It addresses contemporary debates about modernity, nation building, and the link between the ideology of power and the production of knowledge. Contributors include established and emerging scholars known for the depth and quality of their ethnographic writing and for their interventions in current theory.

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Berber Culture on the World Stage

From Village to Video

Jane E. Goodman

"[S]ure to interest a number of different audiences, from language and music scholars to specialists on North Africa.... a superb book, clearly written, analytically incisive, about very important issues that have not been described elsewhere." -- John Bowen, Washington University

In this nuanced study of the performance of cultural identity, Jane E. Goodman travels from contemporary Kabyle Berber communities in Algeria and France to the colonial archives, identifying the products, performances, and media through which Berber identity has developed. In the 1990s, with a major Islamist insurgency underway in Algeria, Berber cultural associations created performance forms that challenged Islamist premises while critiquing their own village practices. Goodman describes the phenomenon of new Kabyle song, a form of world music that transformed village songs for global audiences. She follows new songs as they move from their producers to the copyright agency to the Parisian stage, highlighting the networks of circulation and exchange through which Berbers have achieved global visibility.

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The Call of Conscience

French Protestant Responses to the Algerian War, 1954-1962

Initially, when the government in Paris responded with force to the November 1, 1954 insurrection of Algerian nationalists, French public opinion offered all but unanimous support. Then it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of Muslims were herded into resettlement camps in Algeria; that Algerians suspected of nationalist sympathies were imprisoned in France; that conscientious objectors were denied their rights; and that a resolution to the conflict, either by force or by peaceful methods, was not forthcoming. When it was proven that the army was guilty of abuses, members of the Protestant minority protested and then laboured to educate their own communities as well as the public at large to the moral and spiritual perils of these actions.

Based on painstaking research and solid scholarship, The Call of Conscience: French Protestant Responses to the Algeria War, 1954-1962 reveals a rich portrait of the protest.

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Engaging Modernity

Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger

Ousseina Alidou

Seizing the space opened by the early 1990s democratization movement, Muslim women are carving an active, influential, but often-overlooked role for themselves during a time of great change. Engaging Modernity provides a compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confronted the challenges and opportunities of the late twentieth century.
    Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Ousseina Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. Alidou offers a gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories.

 

Runner-up, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, 2007

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The Ethnographic State

France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam

Edmund Burke III

Alone among Muslim countries, Morocco is known for its own national form of Islam, "Moroccan Islam." However, this pathbreaking study reveals that Moroccan Islam was actually invented in the early twentieth century by French ethnographers and colonial officers who were influenced by British colonial practices in India. Between 1900 and 1920, these researchers compiled a social inventory of Morocco that in turn led to the emergence of a new object of study, Moroccan Islam, and a new field, Moroccan studies. In the process, they reinvented Morocco as a modern polity and resurrected the monarchy.

This book will be of interest to scholars and readers interested in questions of orientalism and empire, colonialism and modernity, and the invention of traditions.

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Medicine and the Saints

Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956

By Ellen J. Amster

Exploring the colonial encounter between France and Morocco as a process of embodiment, and the Muslim body as the place of resistance to the state, this book provides the first history of medicine, health, disease, and the welfare state in Morocco.

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The Mellah of Marrakesh

Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco's Red City

Emily Gottreich

"[The Mellah of Marrakesh] captures the vibrancy of Jewish society in Marrakesh in the tumultuous last decades prior to colonial rule and in the first decades of life in the colonial era. Although focused on the Jewish community, it offers a compelling portrait of the political, social, and economic issues confronting all of Morocco and sets a new standard for urban social history." -- Dale F. Eickelman

Weaving together threads from Jewish history and Islamic urban studies, The Mellah of Marrakesh situates the history of what was once the largest Jewish quarter in the Arab world in its proper historical and geographical contexts. Although framed by coverage of both earlier and later periods, the book focuses on the late 19th century, a time when both the vibrancy of the mellah and the tenacity of longstanding patterns of inter-communal relations that took place within its walls were being severely tested. How local Jews and Muslims, as well as resident Europeans lived the big political, economic, and social changes of the pre- and early colonial periods is reconstructed in Emily Gottreich's vivid narrative.

Published with the generous support of the Koret Foundation.

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Moroccan Households in the World Economy

Labor and Inequality in a Berber Village

David Crawford

In the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, far from the hustle and noise of urban centers, lies a village made of mud and rock, barely discernible from the surrounding landscape. Yet a closer look reveals a carefully planned community of homes nestled above the trees, where rock slides are least frequent, and steep terraces of barley fields situated just above spring flood level. The Berber-speaking Muslims who live and farm on these precipitous mountainsides work together at the arduous task of irrigating the fields during the dry season, continuing a long tradition of managing land, labor, and other essential resources collectively. In Moroccan Households in the World Economy, David Crawford provides a detailed study of the rhythms of highland Berber life, from the daily routines of making a living in such a demanding environment to the relationships between individuals, the community, and the national economy. Demonstrating a remarkably complete understanding of every household and person in the village, Crawford traces the intricacies of cooperation between households over time. Employing a calculus known as "arranging the bones," villagers attempt to balance inequality over the long term by accounting for fluctuations in the needs and capacities of each person, household, and family at different stages in its history. Tradition dictates that children "owe" labor to their parents and grandparents as long as they live, and fathers decide when and where the children in their household work. Some may be asked to work for distant religious lodges or urban relatives they haven't met because of a promise made by long-dead ancestors. Others must migrate to cities to work as wage laborers and send their earnings home to support their rural households. While men and women leave their community to work, Morocco and the wider world come to the village in the form of administrators, development agents, and those representing commercial interests, all with their own agendas and senses of time. Integrating a classic village-level study that nevertheless engages with the realities of contemporary migration, Crawford succinctly summarizes common perceptions and misperceptions about the community while providing a salient critique of the global expansion of capital. In this beautifully observed ethnography, Crawford challenges assumptions about how Western economic processes transfer to other contexts and pulls the reader into an exotic world of smoke-filled kitchens, dirt-floored rooms, and communal rooftop meals—a world every bit as fascinating as it is instructive.

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Murder in Marrakesh

Émile Mauchamp and the French Colonial Adventure

Jonathan G. Katz

"In Morocco, nobody dies without a reason." -- Susan Gilson Miller, Harvard University

In the years leading up to World War I, the Great Powers of Europe jostled one another for control over Morocco, the last sovereign nation in North Africa. France beat out its rivals and added Morocco to its vast colonial holdings through the use of diplomatic intrigue and undisguised force. But greed and ambition alone do not explain the complex story of imperialism in its entirety. Amid fears that Morocco was descending into anarchy, Third Republic France justified its bloody conquest through an appeal to a higher ideal. France's self-proclaimed "civilizing mission" eased some consciences but led to inevitable conflict and tragedy. Murder in Marrakesh relates the story of the early days of the French conquest of Morocco from a new perspective, that of Émile Mauchamp, a young French doctor, his compatriots, and some justifiably angry Moroccans. In 1905, the French foreign ministry sent Mauchamp to Marrakesh to open a charitable clinic. He died there less than two years later at the hands of a mob. Reviled by the Moroccans as a spy, Mauchamp became a martyr for the French. His death, a tragedy for some, created opportunity for others, and set into motion a chain of events that changed Morocco forever. As it reconstructs Mauchamp's life, this book touches on many themes -- medicine, magic, vengeance, violence, mourning, and memory. It also considers the wedge French colonialism drove between Morocco's Muslims and Jews. This singular episode and compelling human story provides a timely reflection on French-Moroccan relations, colonial pride, and the clash of civilizations.

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