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Lecture | LUCIS Short Stay Visiting Scholar

Revolutionizing the Genealogy: Charisma, Power and Social Change in Morocco

  • Zakaria Rhani
Tuesday 1 October 2019
Open for everyone, registration required
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

The nowadays-famous label “Moroccan Islam” is originally a concept that was forged by colonial social science to elucidate its “heteroclite” and animist roots. Yet, the concept has not ceased to play a major political role. The notions such as “Moroccan Exception”, “Islam of Tolerance”, “Islam of the Middle”, refer precisely to the idea of a Islam distinguished by its inclusiveness and openness to different and multiple religious idioms and practices (Savant Sufism, Popular Sufism, Sainthood and Maraboutism, fundamentalism, etc.), thereby making it a potential antidote against Islamic “radical” and “exclusive” expressions (extremism, radical Islamism, jihadism). Therefore, the idea of “Moroccan Islam” contributes, somehow, to reinforcing, locally and internationally, the cultural foundations of the Kingdom religious and political legitimacy (i.e., the Monarchy and its institutions). While taking up the concept and the socio-anthropological debates it implies, this lecture examines, on the basis of ethnographic researches, the ongoing politico-religious processes, and especially after the socio-political changes that occurred after the so-called Arab Spring, in its Moroccan version (20 February Movement).

About Zakaria Rhani

Zakaria Rhani holds a Ph.D. in Biology (University of Geneva, 2000) and a Ph.D. in Anthropology (University of Montreal, 2009). He has been a visiting professor in different Universities and Research Institutes, notably Princeton University, Bologna University, EHESS (Paris).  He is currently a professor of anthropology and social sciences at Mohammed V University, Rabat. His research focuses notably on: Political and Religious Processes in Muslim Societies; Social Movements, Political Violence, and Practices of Reconciliation in North Africa; Critical Anthropology of Post/Colonial Knowledge. Zakaria Rhani is the author of Le pouvoir de guérir : mythe, mystique et politique au Maroc (Leiden, 2014); “Genealogy of Power and Power of Genealogy in Morocco: Imaginary, History and Politics” (Edinburgh, 2014, edited volume); “The Forbidden Orient! Endo-exotism and Anti-anthropological Nationalism…” (Leiden, 2015, edited volume). He is also the co-editor of Politiques du Corps (Rabat, 2018) and Le Maroc au présent ; d’une époque à l’autre, une société en mutation (Casablanca, Rabat, 2015, 2016)

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