Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam

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Cambridge University Press, 2013 - History - 331 pages
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Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race and Islam chronicles the experiences, identity, and agency of enslaved black people in Morocco from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. It demonstrates the extent to which religion orders society but also the extent to which the economic and political conditions influence the religious discourse and the ideology of enslavement. The interpretation and application of Islam did not guarantee the freedom and integration of black Moroccan ex-slaves into society. It starts with the Islamic legal discourse and racial stereotypes that existed in Moroccan society leading up to the era of Mawlay Isma'il (r. 1672-1727), with a special emphasis on the black army during and after his reign. The first part of the book provides a narrative relating the legal discourse on race, concubinage and slavery as well as historical events and developments that are not well known in printed scholarship and western contexts. The second part of the book is conceptually ambitious; it provides the reader with a deeper sense of the historical and sociological implications of the story being told across a long period of time, from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Though the strongest element of theses chapters concerns the "black army," an important component of the discussion is the role of female slaves. One of the problems the historian faces with this kind of analysis is that it must rest on a limited "evidentiary base." This book has broadened this base and clarified the importance of female slaves in relation to the army and Moroccan society at large. 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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Contents

The Notion of Slavery and the Justification of Concubinage
17
z The Interplay between Slavery and Race and Color Prejudice
60
The TransSaharan Diaspora
109
The Controversy
155
The Black Armys Functions and the Roles ofWomen
185
and Marginality
209
The Gnawa and the Memory of Slavery
270
Conclusion 797
297
The complete translation of Maillay Isrnails Letter
312
Index
319
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About the author (2013)

Chouki El Hamel is Associate Professor in History at Arizona State University.

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