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Title: Other-Archives: Literature Rewrites the Nation in Post-1956 Morocco
Authors: El Guabli, Brahim
Advisors: Levy, Lital L.
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: Historiography
memory, Intergenerational Trauma, Moroccan Jews, Morocco, Tazmamart
Years of Lead
Subjects: Literature
Middle Eastern literature
African literature
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a comparative study of the literatures concerning the Moroccan people’s traumatic loss of participatory citizenship during the authoritarian “years of lead” (1956-1999). I theorize the production of novels about Jewish life in Morocco as “mnemonic” literature and the production of literature about political detention as “testimonial” literature, using them to address how Moroccan literature grapples with the memory of loss. The Moroccan state foreclosed the promise of a citizenship-based democracy in post-independence Morocco through three acts of silencing: facilitating Jewish emigration, disappearing its political opposition, and institutionalizing historiographical and mnemonic silence about the state’s contested past. Since the early 1990s, however, the explosion of mnemonic and testimonial literature has challenged these myriad forms of silencing under Hassan II and rewritten taboo histories in an effective exercise of the right to citizenship. More than ever before, Moroccan literature has become the site in which oppressed people’s historiographical agency produces what I call other-archives, texts whose producers work through direct or inherited traumas of loss by rewriting the silenced pasts from outside state-controlled institutional structures. Specifically, this dissertation formulates a theory about how the exercise of citizenship in Morocco has shifted to the production of other-archives. Mnemonic literature’s rehabilitation of Moroccan Jewish memory reactualizes a Morocco that could have been. By (re)connecting places and peoples, authors anchor memory and reinscribe Moroccan Jews in the cartography of the national memory. Testimonial literature aboutTazmamart, a secret prison (1973-1991), depicts physical and societal disappearance, embodying an utter disregard for law and citizenship. The scale of Tazmamart’s cruelty has lent itself to fictionalization, which lent itself in turn to translation and global circulation in multiple languages, thus posing vital questions about other-archives’ local, global, and intergenerational functions. Finally, the cultural dynamic triggered by other-archives’ widespread dissemination in Moroccan society has led the state and professional historians to experience historiographical anxiety. Departing from existing analyses of Moroccan literature, I argue that mnemonic and testimonial literatures about both political disappearance and Jewish emigration not only rehabilitate the voices of the oppressed but also perform acts of citizenship by producing other-archives.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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