Maghrebi Voices explores place-based writing in Morocco.  The pages you see here represent various facets of my Fulbright research project, 2013-2014. Statements made here reflect my views or views expressed to me by individuals; no statement here should be taken as representing a position held by the Fulbright Commission or the United States Government.

Fulbright grants are supported by U.S. taxpayers.  As both a taxpayer and a grantee, I would like to express my appreciation for a program dedicated to improving cross-cultural understanding around the world.

My project began from a seed planted many years ago, when I first read the novels of Paul Bowles and found myself baffled by the contrast between Bowles’s Tangier and the city described by my sister when she stayed there as a high school exchange student.  This year, I met a U.S. college exchange student who said she tried to find a book about Morocco to read before coming to the country.  She read Paul Bowles: “It wasn’t much help.  The man dies; the woman runs off into the desert and becomes a sex slave.  Really?  That’s Morocco?”  Along with the work of Paul Bowles, we need other ways of understanding Morocco.

Morocco, like the United States, is an incredibly diverse and multifaceted nation.  This project tries to make more of that diversity accessible to interested audiences in the United States and around the world.  It does so both by looking closely at Anglophone writing about Morocco and by facilitating the production of digital stories (brief, audio-visual autobiographical narratives) by diverse groups of people in Morocco.

“Writing about Morocco” offers excerpts from English-language writing about Morocco, along with commentary on that writing, and some visual images relevant to that writing.  (The introductory page to this section includes a list of English, American, and Moroccan writers considered.)

“Methods and Materials” documents the creation of a mobile digital storytelling laboratory, including the goals and premises of the workshops, hardware, software, and problems encountered.  I also include two powerpoint presentations (in French; I’ll offer English versions soon) used to guide participants through the creation of digital stories.  I hope this section of the site will help others create mobile storytelling labs and facilitate community-based storytelling elsewhere.

“Digital stories from Morocco” will present stories produced by participants in digital storytelling workshops, along with a brief account of the setting and context of the workshop.

Moroccan storytelling” touches on the long and varied tradition of storytelling within Morocco, including Amazigh storytelling (with some stories translated from earlier French translations of the Tamazight tales), some impromptu storytelling and translation from Tamnougalt, southeast of Ouarzazate, and interviews and stories from the new apprentice-storytelling program at Café Clock Marrakech.

“Storklandia” is a personal blog, offering my own impromptu responses to some of the many aspects of Morocco I am discovering this year.  I started the blog offline, before this site was live, so early entries are a little belated, with a Ramadan post (July 19th) appearing on Thanksgiving, for instance. The timing should cohere before too long, insh’allah.

I hope you find something of interest here!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Betsy Bolton
Professor, English and Environmental Studies