Colonialism and the Politics of Identity in Morocco

with Jonathan Wyrtzen

hosted by Chris Gratien

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In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa, European colonial rule lasted only for a matter of decades, and yet its influence in the realms of politics and economy have been profound. In this episode, we talk to Jonathan Wyrtzen about the legacy of colonialism in Morocco for the politics of identity, which is the subject of his new book entitled Making Morocco. As Dr. Wyrzten explains, colonial rule shaped understandings of issues such as territoriality, religion, ethnicity, and gender that remain relevant to this day.

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Jonathan Wyrtzen is an Associate Professor of Sociology, History, and International Affairs at Yale University. His research focuses on empire and colonialism, state formation and non-state forms of political organization, and ethnicity and nationalism in North Africa and the Middle East. His book Making Morocco: Colonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity was published by Cornell University Press in 2015. His current book project comparatively analyzes five sites of conflict from Morocco to Iraq to examine how new political topographies were forged in the Middle East and North Africa during the interwar period.
Chris Gratien holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of History. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region from the 1850s until the 1950s.


Episode No. 269
Release Date: 15 September 2016
Recording Location: Yale University
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: From - Istanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari RecepHarmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi; From Excavated Shellac - Lili Labassi - Mazal Haye MazalLouisa Tounsia – Ya Bent El Nass
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for allowing us to use the composition "Istanbul" in the intro music
Bibliography courtesy of Jonathan Wyrtzen


Jonathan Wyrtzen
Making Morocco
Cornell University Press
Brubaker, Rogers and Frederick Cooper. 2000. "Beyond 'Identity'" Theory and Society, 29: 1-47.

Boum, Aomar. 2013. Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Burke III, Edmund. 2014. The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Lawrence, Adria. 2013. Imperial Rule and the Politics of Nationalism: Anti-Colonial Protest in the French Empire. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Martin, John L. 2003. "What if Field Theory?" American Journal of Sociology, 109: 1-49.

Penell, C.R. 1986. A Country with a Government and a Flag: the Rif War in Morocco, 1921-26. London: Menas Press.

Rivet, Daniel. 1988. Lyautey et l'institution du Protectorat français au Maroc 1912-1925. Paris: L'Harmattan.

Salime, Zakia. 2011. Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Scott, James, 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Wyrtzen, Jonathan. 2015. Making Morocco: Colonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

________. 2013. "Performing the Nation in Anti-Colonial Protest in Interwar Morocco." Nations and Nationalism, 19: 615-34.

________. 2011. "Colonial State-Building and the Negotiation of Arab and Berber Identity in Protectorate Morocco." International Journal of Middle East Studies, 43: 227-49.


Osmanlıyı anlamak sanıldığı gibi hiç öyle kolay değil, hindistan ve çini anlamadan Osmanlı anlaşılamaz, ingilizce de öyle.

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