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Whittier College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights

Abstract

It is in the small villages of Morocco, scattered across the North in the Rif, to the South in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, and in between, where the majority of Morocco’s celebrated and beloved Amazigh carpets are made. Their power and popularity can be attributed to the indigenous female artists who have been crafting these physical tokens of memory, protection, and Amazigh identity, for millenniums. In an attempt to connect the trade of carpet weaving in Morocco back to these women and their families, this research project will explore their narratives, and the social and spatial implications of their craft, a space so commonly marked by patriarchy. In what ways can we interpret, from a more modern perspective, the identity of the Amazigh through their carpets? What can the symbols, weaved carefully into these carpets, tell us about their past? Their future? To answer these questions, I will examine traditional Islamic sources, specifically Surah 9 in the Qur’an, and hadith (the sayings and teachings of Prophet Muhammad) on protection and symbols of evil in Islam, including previous scholarship on the topic of Amazigh art. Through participant observations, and formal interviews conducted in the Amazigh village of Tarmilat, and a careful study of the other perspectives mentioned, it is my aim that through this project, I will not only be able to share some of the stories of the Amazigh weavers I have met, and those of their ancestors, but also the stories and manifestations of their carpets, as they travel through their own lifespans, across village borders and beyond, communicating, performing, and teaching.

Disciplines

African Languages and Societies | Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Education | Life Sciences

 

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