Encountering Morocco

Encountering Morocco

Fieldwork and Cultural Understanding
Edited by David Crawford and Rachel Newcomb
Afterword by Kevin Dwyer
Distribution: World
Publication date: 4/24/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00919-7
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Encountering Morocco introduces readers to life in this North African country through vivid accounts of fieldwork as personal experience and intellectual journey. We meet the contributors at diverse stages of their careers–from the unmarried researcher arriving for her first stint in the field to the seasoned fieldworker returning with spouse and children. They offer frank descriptions of what it means to take up residence in a place where one is regarded as an outsider, learn the language and local customs, and struggle to develop rapport. Moving reflections on friendship, kinship, and belief within the cross-cultural encounter reveal why study of Moroccan society has played such a seminal role in the development of cultural anthropology.

Author Bio

David Crawford is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Fairfield University, and author of Moroccan Households in the World Economy: Labor and Inequality in a Berber Village.

Rachel Newcomb is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rollins College and author of
Women of Fes: Ambiguities of Life in Urban Morocco.


"[T]he chapters of this eminently readable text 'build a richly textured portrait of the Kingdom of Morocco' . . . as well as a primer on the mode of ethnographic research. . . . the focus is on 'the daily struggles that underpin larger social processes', the dynamics of everyday life . . . . I can think of no better book to read for both a general audience and fellow scholars on Morocco as seen through the anthropological lens." —Contemporary Islam

"Mixes personal memoir with sensitive observations about Morocco; searching questions about the nature of the fieldwork experience; and sometimes surprising revelations about aspects of Morocco that have received little attention. From activism to autism, and from fraught conversation to religious conversion, the range of approaches to the American anthropologist’s encounter with Morocco and Moroccans is impressive. Indeed Morocco itself, and its anthropologist interlocutors, are seen in this collection as through a prism: refracted and brilliant." —Brian T. Edwards, author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America's Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express

"There are two groups of readers who will particularly welcome this book: first, students of anthropology, who contemplate doing fieldwork in Morocco; second, scholars interested in reflections on the production of anthropological knowledge in Morocco and beyond. The book is lucidly written and, as it dispenses with jargon, it is also accessible for a broad audience." —Social Anthropology

"[T]he book offers much food for thought, crossing disciplinary and professional boundaries. It also has the added value of de-exoticizing a country which is too often exoticized and romanticized by policy-makers, tourism operators and various other interest groups, both foreign and Moroccan." —Middle Eastern Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction \ David Crawford and Rachel Newcomb
1. Arabic or French? The Politics of Parole at a Psychiatric Hospital in Morocco \ Charlotte E. van den Hout
2. Time, Children, and Getting Ethnography Done in Southern Morocco \ Karen Rignall
3. Thinking about Class and Status in Morocco \ David A. McMurray
4. Forgive Me, Friend: Mohammed and Ibrahim \ Emilio Spadola
5. Suspicion, Secrecy, and Uncomfortable Negotiations over Knowledge Production in Southwestern Morocco \ Katherine E. Hoffman
6. The Activist and the Anthropologist \ Paul A. Silverstein
7. A Distant Episode: Religion and Belief in Moroccan Ethnography \ Rachel Newcomb
8. Shortcomings of a Reflexive Tool Kit; or, Memoir of an Undutiful Daughter \ Jamila Bargach
9. Reflecting on Moroccan Encounters: Meditations on Home, Genre, and the Performance of Everyday Life \ Deborah Kapchan
10. The Power of Babies \ David Crawford
11. Anthropologists among Moroccans \ Kevin Dwyer