“Cultural Encounters and Colonial Legacies: Morocco in American Writings”

ALIF Lecture Series Presents

“Cultural Encounters and Colonial Legacies: Morocco in American Writings”
A lecture by Hamid El Mountassir

Wednesday, July 12 at 6:15 p.m. In Room 30

The present lecture is an attempt to approach the dynamics/politics of cultural encounters in relation to Morocco, which has been associated with different forms of representation in the American cultural context since the beginning of the twentieth century. The depiction of the nature of this series of encounters is analyzed through a wide range of texts including travel writing, fiction, and ethnography. Writers such as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Claude McKay, Anais Nin, Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Fernea, and Rachel Newcomb have constructed ambivalent discourses in their representation of otherness.

This lecture is open to the general public

“Ramadan Customs in Morocco”


“Ramadan Customs in Morocco”

A lecture by

Sadiq Raddad

at the ALIF annex

Monday, June 6th at 6:15 p.m.


How do Moroccans observe the holy month of Ramadan? What does this month mean for them? What are its religious and social implications? How does it affect the daily routine of the society? What is the Ramadan etiquette? What code of conduct is expected of non-Muslims during this month? These are some of the issues that this lecture will attempt to address.


This lecture is open to the general public

“The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco”

Samantha Herron, author of “The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco”

Monday, April 18 at 7 PM at the ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha

Please join us for a lecture, reading & discussion. Open to the general public.


When author Samantha Herron visited Morocco for the first time it changed the course of her life. On her return to London she abandoned a successful art career in order to study Arabic. She went on to spend time living with a Berber/Amazigh family of former nomads in the Draa Valley on the edge of the Sahara Desert, where she immersed herself in the language, culture and traditions of the country.

Samantha comments: ‘I learned the local dialect and took classes in Arabic and the Quran with other women from the village. I travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels and sheep, how to ablute and pray, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with storytelling and stories, which are at the heart of everyday life in Morocco. I began to document the stories I was hearing and then found myself imagining and composing my own.’

The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco (Soul Bay Press October 2015) is her debut collection of fictional stories set in contemporary Morocco. Her previous work includes the English and Arabic publication Dardasha: Testimonies of Migration by Moroccan Women (Soul Bay Press 2011).

After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East

Lecture / book discussion

“After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East”

Brian T. Edwards


Monday, Dec. 7th

6:15 p.m.

ALIF Annex auditorium

22 Rue Mohamed Diouri, Ville Nouvelle

(next to ALC/ALIF)

When Henry Luce announced in 1941 that we were living in the “American century,” he believed that the international popularity of American culture made the world favorable to U.S. interests. Now, in the digital twenty-first century, the American century has been superseded, as American movies, music, video games, and television shows are received, understood, and transformed. How do we make sense of this shift? Building on a decade of fieldwork in Cairo, Casablanca, and Tehran, Brian T. Edwards maps new routes of cultural exchange that are innovative, accelerated, and full of diversions. Shaped by the digital revolution, these paths are entwined with the growing fragility of American “soft” power. They indicate an era after the American century, in which popular American products and phenomena–such as comic books, teen romances, social-networking sites, and ways of expressing sexuality–are stripped of their associations with the United States and recast in very different forms.

Arguing against those who talk about a world in which American culture is merely replicated or appropriated, Edwards focuses on creative moments of uptake, in which Arabs and Iranians make something unexpected. He argues that these products do more than extend the reach of the original. They reflect a world in which culture endlessly circulates and gathers new meanings.


Brian T. Edwards is Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University, where he is also the founding director of the Program in Middle East and North African Studies. He is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America’s Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express and a coeditor of Globalizing American Studies. His articles have been published in the Believer, Public Culture, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

This lecture is open to the general public

Presentation of a New Book: The Last Civilized Place

“The Last Civilized Place: Sijilmasa and Its Saharan Destiny”
a lecture and book presentation by Ronald Messier & James Miller

Monday, Oct. 26 at 6 PM at the ALC/ALIF Annex Auditorium
22 Rue Mohamed Diouri, Fes V.N.


Many people know the word, “Sijilmasa,” and regard its existence as merely legendary. What was the reality of Sijilmasa, perhaps the most important forgotten place in Moroccan history? Between 1988 and 1998, the Moroccan-American Project at Sijilmasa (MAPS) explored the site of ancient Sijilmasa using methods drawn from archaeology, history, geography, and remote sensing to begin to weave together a picture of the ancient city and its place in Moroccan and African history. Now, with the publication of their new book, the organizers of MAPS will present some of the challenges they faced and discoveries they made at the site of the ancient city.

Open to the general public…please join us!