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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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Creative State

Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico

At the turn of the twenty-first century, with the amount of money emigrants sent home soaring to new highs, governments around the world began searching for ways to capitalize on emigration for economic growth, and they looked to nations that already had policies in place. Morocco and Mexico featured prominently as sources of "best practices" in this area, with tailor-made financial instruments that brought migrants into the banking system, captured remittances for national development projects, fostered partnerships with emigrants for infrastructure design and provision, hosted transnational forums for development planning, and emboldened cross-border political lobbies.

In Creative State, Natasha Iskander chronicles how these innovative policies emerged and evolved over forty years. She reveals that the Moroccan and Mexican policies emulated as models of excellence were not initially devised to link emigration to development, but rather were deployed to strengthen both governments' domestic hold on power. The process of policy design, however, was so iterative and improvisational that neither the governments nor their migrant constituencies ever predicted, much less intended, the ways the new initiatives would gradually but fundamentally redefine nationhood, development, and citizenship. Morocco's and Mexico's experiences with migration and development policy demonstrate that far from being a prosaic institution resistant to change, the state can be a remarkable site of creativity, an essential but often overlooked component of good governance.

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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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French Mediterraneans

Transnational and Imperial Histories

Patricia M. E. Lorcin

While the Mediterranean is often considered a distinct, unified space, recent scholarship on the early modern history of the sea has suggested that this perspective is essentially a Western one, devised from the vantage point of imperial power that historically patrolled the region’s seas and controlled its ports. By contrast, for the peoples of its southern shores, the Mediterranean was polymorphous, shifting with the economic and seafaring exigencies of the moment. Nonetheless, by the nineteenth century the idea of a monolithic Mediterranean had either been absorbed by or imposed on the populations of the region.

In French Mediterraneans editors Patricia M. E. Lorcin and Todd Shepard offer a collection of scholarship that reveals the important French element in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century creation of the singular Mediterranean. These essays provide a critical study of space and movement through new approaches to think about the maps, migrations, and margins of the sea in the French imperial and transnational context. By reconceptualizing the Mediterranean, this volume illuminates the diversity of connections between places and polities that rarely fit models of nation-state allegiances or preordained geographies.
            


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The Last Civilized Place

Sijilmasa and Its Saharan Destiny

By Ronald A. Messier and James A. Miller

Drawing on archaeological discoveries and historical accounts, this book tells the lively story of Morocco’s legendary golden city and its pivotal role in medieval transcontinental trade, the spread of Islam, and the rise of several ruling dynasties.

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Making Morocco

Colonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity

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