Race tag

CFP: Tea in the Sahara: Exploring Shifting Ethnic Subjectivities on the Saharan Frontier (African Studies Association)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

This panel asks who are the people of the Sahel (on both sides of the Sahara) and how do they understand their locality as an everyday lived experience. Do they consider themselves to be part of cohesive ethnic groups, or do they conceive of themselves based upon other categories (language, race, etc.)? And how does their quotidian experience allow for the production of groups like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb? This topic also requires us to ask whether the categories that we, as scholars, use to talk about people in this region are worthwhile. Do they reflect distinctions that people on the ground agree with? Or do they contribute to simplifying complex social phenomena and ultimately help to perpetuate violence?

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New Book: “Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam”, by Chouki El Hamel

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race and Islam chronicles the experiences, identity, and achievements of enslaved black people in Morocco from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. Chouki El Hamel argues that we cannot rely solely on Islamic ideology as the key to explain social relations and particularly the history of black slavery in the Muslim world, for this viewpoint yields an inaccurate historical record of the people, institutions, and social practices of slavery in Northwest Africa. El Hamel focuses on black Moroccans’ collective experience beginning with their enslavement to serve as the loyal army of the Sultan Isma’il. By the time the Sultan died in 1727, they had become a political force, making and unmaking rulers well into the nineteenth century. The emphasis on the political history of the black army is augmented by a close examination of the continuity of black Moroccan identity through the musical and cultural practices of the Gnawa.

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