During my ethnographic research in Morocco in the spring of 2018, when I explained that I was researching the role of French and French degrees in present-day Morocco, my Moroccan interlocutors would occasionally answer that I was working on an
Transnational Mobilities of Moroccan Middle-class Professionals in Istanbul
This article explores the ways Moroccan middle-class professionals residing in Istanbul have forged transnational connections since the 2006 free trade agreement between Turkey and Morocco. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article finds that research participants embrace three interdependent mobilities – imaginative, corporeal and virtual. First, Moroccan television viewers imaginatively internalise images of Turkish society through Turkish programmes broadcast in Morocco. Then, Moroccan nationals engage in physical travel to Turkey, initially as tourists, but later also as job seekers. Finally, Moroccan residents of Istanbul travel virtually to keep in touch with friends and family through media such as online platforms and instant messaging applications. In this article I argue that users of virtual environments have developed into new transnational brokers, facilitating the spatial extension of border-crossing networks.
History, Memories and Identities
Canada’s Moroccan Jewish community is the third largest diaspora in the world after Israel and France. This article introduces Sephardi Voices, a project to collect, preserve and archive audio-visually the life stories of Jews displaced from Arab/Islamic lands and in the process sketches an overview of the resettlement of one Sephardi migration community, the Moroccan to Montreal. Featuring scholars like Joseph Levy, Yolande Cohen and Jean-Claude Lasry, the integration experience of Moroccan Jews into the anglophone Ashkenazi community and the francophone Québécois society is presented, along with their efforts to build a French-Sephardi institutional structure to preserve their heritage. The article highlights the role of oral history and the aesthetics of remembrance as important vehicles to depict how memories are imparted and identities formed. Today, the Moroccan Jews of Montreal are transnationals and proud to add Canadian to their identity chain of Jewish, Sephardi, Moroccan and French.
<em>Hilloulot</em> as a Case Study
Is it possible to bring together Jews of Moroccan origin wherever they may live and convince them to keep in touch with Morocco? This is not merely a question of visiting the country for tourism but, above all, of convincing Moroccan Jews to serve as promoters of Moroccan diplomacy. To achieve this aim, it was imperative to make brave decisions, which is indeed what King Hassan II has done. To give more consistency and significance to the ties of loyalty, the Moroccan state is taking remarkable measures, organising hilloulot (Hb. ‘pilgrimages’), moments of intense spiritual experience evoking a long Jewish presence in Morocco spanning two thousand years.
A Review of Concepts and Literature
In this article I review concepts related to honour and shame and explore how these are understood within the context of the contemporary Moroccan Rif, a Berber-speaking region that is characterised by outsiders as closed and 'conservative', despite its long-established history of out-migration and transnational ties to Europe. The article argues that despite many changes to the political, economic and social landscapes of the Rif, understandings of honour and shame continue to shape gender hierarchies among Riffian Moroccans. As part of a broader system in which individuals negotiate status and respectability, honour and shame mediate relationships between individuals, families and 'honour groups' or moral communities in which they participate.
While it is widely known that the Jews of medieval Spain carried with them their language, literature and other traditions to the countries in which they settled following the Expulsion in 1492, little research has been conducted on the preservation of their material culture and the visual arts. In this article, these aspects are examined vis-à-vis the Judaic artistic production and visual realm of the Sephardi Jews in Morocco, who adhered to these traditions perhaps more staunchly than any other Sephardi community in modern times. The materials are divided into several categories which serve as an introduction to specific topics that each require further research. These include Hebrew book printing, Jewish marriage contracts (ketubbot), Hebrew manuscript decoration, clothing and jewellery relating to the world of the Sephardi-Moroccan woman and the interior of the home, and ceremonial objects for the synagogue.
Moroccan Muslims and Jews through Western Lenses, 1860–1912
Michael M. Laskier
This study is a portrayal of Moroccan Muslims and Jews by European travellers, journalists, experts and diplomats from the latter half of the nineteenth century until the transformation of Morocco in 1912 into a colonial entity under French and Spanish protectorates. In this pre-colonial setting, we catch a glimpse of a traditional society and its gradual, albeit partial, evolution towards modernity among the Jews as well as an understanding of Europe’s economic, political and cultural penetration into the Sharifian Empire, which for hundreds of years preserved its independence when many Islamic societies capitulated to foreign domination. What were the major challenges confronted by Morocco in the pre-colonial era? Did Muslims and Jews conform to or reject modernisation brought by European culture? What were the socioeconomic conditions and the juridical status of the Jews vis-à-vis the Muslim majority? These are some of the main concerns of our investigation.
Transformations in Women's Kinship Practices among the Urban Middle Class in Fes, Morocco
For the middle class of Fes, Morocco, the traditional resources provided by kinship practices remain an important form of economic and social support in an increasingly globalised world. Women's significance in kinship networks not only highlights women's changing role in the Moroccan public sphere, but also indicates the flexibility of kinship principles once applied primarily to men. As more women have entered the public sphere for reasons of economics and education, the possibilities for their social networks have widened to include both relatives and non-kin.
Crypto-Jews in Morocco and Their Fate
Paul B. Fenton
This article traces the history of the forced conversion of Jews to Islam in al-Andalus and Morocco from the Middle Ages to modern times. An account is given of the various discriminative measures and even persecution to which Jewish converts were exposed. Indeed, even though they became with time sincere and learned Muslims, just as the Marranos in Christian Spain, the sincerity of their conversion was doubted and they were constantly accused of the negative traits attributed to the Jews. The article also discusses a recently discovered defence of the New Muslims authored by an Islamic scholar of Jewish origin which throws new light on the fate of these converts.
Zionism and Global Hometown Awareness among Spanish-Moroccan Jews in Israel
Homeland/diaspora dichotomies are emblematic of the Zionist philosophy and, as a consequence, also in the common critical annals of long-lasting diasporic ethnicities among Jewish immigrants to Israel. This observation applies in particular to Jewish immigrants from Islamic countries, whose Eastern pre-immigration cultures conceivably contrast with the Western character of the national-Zionist venture. In this article, I focus on MABAT, an Israel-based hometown association of Jews from the former Spanish-dominated area in northern Morocco which, from its founding in 1979, embraced the Zionist notion of homecoming. I show how they came to form their own singular network in Israel, while appealing to their former hometowns, as well as to their emerging centres of diffusion in the Americas and Europe, thereby challenging commonly held assumptions of Israel/diaspora, East/West dichotomies in the annals of Jewish ethnicities in Israel.