Home Institution

Southwestern University

Publication Date

Fall 2021

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


There is a narrative encoded in carpets of Morocco, and I set out with the initial intention to learn how to “read” them—thinking that a Western sense of language is present from the symbols and patterns in the rug. As I progressed in my research and met the skilled women artisans, I realized that I needed to rethink how a story that doesn’t necessarily require a written format can be told to relate to these cultural totems of Morocco. Through in-person experience and online research, I discovered many designs and backgrounds unique to specific regions and areas. Rugs can tell stories through colors, through the entire composition, and some stories are only present in the space shared between a woman a loom. As I start the groundwork for this Independent Study Project, ISP, I think about all the directions this research can take and the important people I could meet: this alone is exciting. This beginning makes every bit of knowledge and quote I gain essential and worth noting. The developmental state of my ISP keeps me wide-eyed, looking all around, not being judgmental to what is worth a snapshot in my memory. In these moments of growing research, I have witnessed the intersection of Moroccan culture and identity woven into a rug, how different people participate in the whole process of creating and selling these iconic carpets. I am gaining a newer perspective and seeing beyond what was once just a decorative textile in my eyes. These rugs are a medium to many stories and a visual representation of Moroccan identity. I attempt to have this paper explore the ever-evolving stories the carpets possess and the everlasting pieces of their past lives tightly woven in. The narrative of each rug begins with the quiet empowerment and agency rural women hold while sitting with the loom. I hope this paper and my future research on this topic help bring continued awareness to these origins and the impact of the other’s interactions with the original stories of carpets.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Fiber, Textile, and Weaving Arts | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture | Women's Studies


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