"I remember the Jews": Memory, Dual Marginality, and Belonging as Haratin in 20th-century Morocco
Rutgers PhD candidate, Department of History
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 12 PM
The Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
This talk will explore how the Haratin, a community marginalized because of its putative slave history, engages in memory and cultural preservation as means of cultivating a sense of local and national belonging in Morocco. Specifically, it will examine how Haratin preservation of local Jewish history has contributed to combating notions that the Haratin are not indigenous to Morocco and not truly “African.”
The Haratin of the small desert town of Tagadirt have preserved the homes and synagogues of the Jews who once were their neighbors, but left in the 1960s. In Tagounite, other Haratin recount with great fondness how, as early as the 1940s, they lit candles for departed Jews during Shabbat, preserving memories of the Jewish people who had resided in their village. The pride with which the Haratin remember and care for Jewish artifacts is striking. It is remarkable also that, through the preservation and telling of Jewish history, the Haratin have begun to establish their undeniable place in the Moroccan national patrimony.