Constructing Morocco : the colonial struggle to define the nation 1912-1956
Wyrtzen, Jonathan David.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Drawing on recent theories regarding social movements and contentious politics, this dissertation seeks to shed new light on the mobilization of anti-colonial nationalism in North Africa, addressing the core issue of how and why a particular dominant definition of Moroccan Arabo-Islamic "national" identity was forged during the Protectorate period (1912-1956). It argues that this identity, even for a centuries-old Muslim monarchy, was fundamentally reinvented in a struggle over control of the newly created bureaucratic state among French colonial administrators, Arab nationalist activists, and the Sultan. Focusing on the interactive process of constructing communal identity also highlights the fundamental connection between national and subaltern identities in the process of "nation-building." This is the first history of Moroccan nationalism to focus specifically on how three marginal groups--Berbers, Jews, and women--played central roles at the nexus of conflicting colonialist and nationalist attempts to deny or assert Moroccan national identity.; This case study focused on colonial Morocco addresses broader questions about how Islam, ethnicity, and gender were redefined by both colonization and decolonization in other parts of Africa and the Middle East. It also engages more general debates about nationalism by focusing on why specific national identities take shape in concrete historical cases, a question unsatisfactorily answered in the meta-theories of nationalism such as those proposed by Ernest Gellner and Benedict Anderson. In pursuing a methodology emphasizing the interactive nature of the process of constructing Moroccan national identity, the dissertation draws on a diverse array of primary sources to trace the multiple voices that shaped debates during the Protectorate period. These are comprised of Arabic and French printed materials including newspapers, pamphlets, petitions, administrative decrees, police- and military-intelligence files, and personal correspondence. Non-traditional sources are also incorporated including Berber poetry, nationalist songs, protest graffiti, photographs, and oral interviews conducted in Fes and the central High Atlas.
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