Saturday, 10 June 2017

Managing Blackness | African Identity in 21st Century | Morocco

Managing Blackness: the Politics of Race and the Economics of African Identity in 21st Century Morocco

Managing Blackness: the Politics of Race and the Economics of African Identity in 21st Century Morocco

A lecture by Aomar Boum (UCLA)

Thursday, February 16, 2017
12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
352 Haines Hall

Due to global warming and political conflicts, illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan, central and West Africa are settling in Moroccan urban centers, waiting for an opportunity to continue their journey to Europe. This has led to the emergence of new discourses about race and blackness in Moroccan society. The social anxieties about the increasing public presence of black immigrants in Moroccan public spaces have rekindled historical and traditional discourses about blacks. In this context the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), a Moroccan public institution devoted to the protection of human rights, has advocated for a new policy that recognizes the human and legal rights of sub-Saharan immigrants and refugees. In fact, while racist incidents towards sub-Saharan African immigrants are on the rise, King Mohammed VI continues to expand Moroccan ties to its southern African neighbors. Using government records and newspaper reports between 2000 and 2015, and ethnographic interviews with policymakers, I argue that Morocco’s policy of African immigration is part of a political strategy to manage racism towards black immigrants through economic, political and religious outreach into the rest of Africa.

Aomar Boum is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. He is a socio-cultural anthropologist with a historical bent concerned with the social and cultural representation of and political discourse about religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. He has written on different topics such as Moroccan Jewish historiography, Islamic archives and manuscripts, education, music, youth, and sports among other things. He is currently working on two ethnographic and historically grounded projects: The monarchy, Jews and Holocaust politics in Morocco, 1930s-Present and Virtual Jews: an Ethnography of Moroccan Jews Online. His publications include his book, Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco, and numerous academic articles.
Cost : Free and open to the public
Johanna  Romero

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Dept. of Anthropology's Culture, Power, Social Change (CPSC) series.

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