Berbers tag

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

Monday, November 7th, 2011

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.

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