CFP: Berber Societies: New Approaches to Space, Time, and Social Process

7 November 2011

Call for Papers
Berber Societies: New Approaches to Space, Time, and Social Process
AIMS Annual Conference 2012
Berber Societies: New Approaches to Space, Time, and Social Process
Katherine E. Hoffman (Northwestern University) and Jane Goodman (Indiana University), Organizers
Tangier, Morocco, June 29 – July 2, 2012

Since the mid-nineteenth century, North Africa’s Berber (Amazigh) populations have constituted quintessential ethnographic subjects for various ends, whether colonial, military, missionary, nationalist, or academic. Central to these endeavors was a sustained effort to document their language, laws, customs, institutions, and lifeways. Berbers (Imazighen) later turned this gaze on themselves as they sought to carve out a place in the national fabric or redefine it altogether. Recent scholarship on Amazigh populations provides important correctives to the nationalist narratives that have long shaped understandings about both the region’s populations and their relations to the nation-state. These scholarly correctives in part have been possible through alternative historiographies that both allow for new interpretations of French archival sources and look more closely at older vernacular sources to investigate claims about Berber ethnicity and solidarity (or lack thereof). Equally important have been new ethnographic field studies by anthropologists, social scientists, historians, and others whose research methods include extended participant observation and critical reengagements with familiar social practices.

This conference investigates new ways of situating Berbers in space, time, and social process. Potential participants will be asked to present paper proposals on specific, focused topics grounded in original research and to avoid broad overviews of the Amazigh movement, descriptions of the Amazigh situation, and literature reviews.

The following orientations and topics are of particular interest (this list is not exhaustive):
–Berber populations outside the traditional mountain and desert enclaves (for instance, internal emigrants to Arabophone cities)
–connections between different Berber groups within or across state boundaries
–earlier or alternative configurations of Berber ethnicity
–articulations between Berberophone and Arabophone forms of cultural and
aesthetic expression (for instance, shared literary or musical trajectories)
–engagement of Amazigh rights actors in civil society debates
–articulations between the Amazigh movement and adjacent social movements
(whether indigenous, religious, or other) within and beyond the Maghrib
–cultural rights and economic development
–meanings and uses of land
–reorganization of regional and other administrative boundaries
–changing media forms and Amazigh identity (radio, cassette, CD, internet)
–new configurations of Berber linguistic marginalization

The conference will be run in workshop format, with participants’ 25-page papers circulated in advance. Participants will be expected to read all papers prior to the workshop. Papers may be written in English or French, and we anticipate discussion in all relevant Maghribi language varieties. The aim is for our collective discussions to be exploratory rather than programmatic, didactic, or polemic. The conference will allow participants to consider the ways in which social practices, institutions, aesthetics, and lands are being reconfigured in relation to the social orders in which Berbers participate.

Interested participants should send a paper title and short abstract (300 words maximum) in the body of an email and attach a short CV in Word format (4-page maximum) to Katherine Hoffman ( and Jane Goodman ( by *October 31, 2011*.

Successful applicants and alternates will be notified by mid-December, and asked to accept in writing by *January 2, 2012*. Complete papers are due no later than *April 1, 2012*. If selected applicants do not submit papers by that date, organizers will select alternates to replace them.

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