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-Berber Societies: New Approaches to Space, Time, and Social Process – Tangier, Morocco

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Date(s) - 29 Juin 2012 until 2 Juil 2012
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM



American Institute for Maghrib Studies Annual Conference 2012
Berber Societies: New Approaches to Space, Time, and Social Process
Katherine E. Hoffman (Northwestern University)
Jane Goodman (Indiana University)

Tangier, Morocco, June 29 – July 2, 2012 
Call for Papers (due Oct. 31, 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

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
– earlier or alternative configurations of Berber ethnicity
– articulations between Berberophone and Arabophone forms of cultural
aesthetic expression (for instance, shared literary or musical
– engagement of Amazigh rights actors in civil society debates
– articulations between the Amazigh movement and adjacent social
(whether indigenous, religious, or other) within and beyond the
– 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,
– new configurations of Berber linguistic configuration in the Maghrib
-contemporary interpretations of Berber heritage in material culture
(e.g., pottery, art), ritual culture (e.g. Yennayer, Ayrad), toponomy,
or syntactic and grammatical borrowings in Arabophone regions.

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, and each paper will have a
participant discussant who will orchestrate group conversation. 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 a Word document (.doc or .docx) as well as a 
short CV in Word format (4-page maximum) to Katherine Hoffman 
( and Jane Goodman ( by 
October 31, 2011. Receipt of submission will be acknowledged. 
Successful applicants and alternates will be notified by December 15, 
2011. Complete papers are due no later than April 1, 2012. Selected 
applicants who do not submit papers by that date will be replaced with 

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