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GSSC Seminar Series
24 October 2023


Resonating the Margin: Music and Theater in the Rif, Morocco


Khalid Mouna (Moulay Ismail University of Meknes) & Nina ter Laan (University of Cologne)



Seminar Room 3.03, GSSC

This presentation explores theatrical and musical productions in and about the Rif, a historically marginalized region in northern Morocco. Over the course of its history, the Rif has experienced multiple forms of violence, from colonial to postcolonial, leading to a significant migration of its populace to Europe. Focusing on contemporary music and theater created and performed within and outside the Rif, this presentation explores marginality from a sensorial perspective. Using the notion of marginality as an operational concept (Mouna 2018), we trace how music and theater, as sensory forms, not only reflect and give voice to marginalized experiences, but also carve out aesthetic formations (Meyer 2009). These, we argue, produce different publics through "resonance"; calibrating and reverberating the senses to particular shared experiences. By zooming in on the sonic-performative aspects of theater and music, we shed light on how these artistic forms have not only emerged from marginality but have also played a significant role in the production and transformation of the Rif's cultural and social landscape as marginal.

About the speakers:

Khalid Mouna is an anthropologist, professor at Moulay Ismail University of Meknes. He was professor at the Master “Crossing the Mediterranean: towards Investment and Integration (MIM)” at the University of Ca'Foscari in Venice, and has been a Visiting Professor for the IISMM Chair at EHESS Paris, and at the University Paul Valery Montpellier III, and Porto University, Researcher in residence at the Institute of Advanced Studies of Nantes 2020-2021. He is a member of the scientific committee of the review Espace-Temps and the review FuoriLuog. His research publications focus on cannabis, social changes, migrations, and post-Arab Spring-social mobilization. He is the author of : Le bled du kif. Economie et pouvoir chez les Ketama du Rif, Paris, Ibis Press, 2010, Identité de la marge. Approche anthropologique du Rif, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2018, L’éloge de l’inversion. Sexualités et rites de transgression au Maghreb, Casablanca, La croisée des Chemins. He co-edited the book: Terrain Marocain. Sur les traces des chercheurs d'ici et d'ailleurs, Casablanca, La Croisée des Chemins, CJB / CNRS 2017. He has lead several international research programs, and is a member of many European research programs.

Dr. Nina ter Laan is a member of the Mediterranean Liminalities Research Lab.  As a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne, she is part of the CRC research program 'Media of Cooperation' within a subproject focusing on (digital) publics and social transformation in Morocco, directed by Martin Zillinger. She holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her dissertation, "Dissonant Voices: Islam-inspired Music in Morocco and the Politics of Religious Sentiments" (December 2016), explored the political instrumentalization of Islam-inspired music in Morocco. From 2016 to 2020, Nina was a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University, where she studied the hijra (Islamic migration) of Dutch and Flemish Muslim women to Morocco, as part of the 'Religious Matters in an Entangled World' research team led by Birgit Meyer. She is currently investigating the circulation of (post)colonial memory practices and digital media in the Rif, Morocco, and its diaspora in Europe. She is also involved in the conceptualization of art forms as a research method within participatory action research. Her research interests include aesthetic practices, material religion, migration, and the politics of belonging, with a particular focus on Morocco. She has published in several journals, including Religion and Contemporary Islam, and is co-editing a volume on Moroccan Islam. As a lecturer, Nina has taught and coordinated various courses at Leiden University and Utrecht University.