Transatlantic Maghreb in Comparative Contexts

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MESA- Washington DC 22-25 November, 2014
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Transatlantic Maghreb in Comparative Contexts
MESA- Washington DC, 22-25 November, 2014

While the cultures and histories of the Maghreb have been dynamically shaped and informed by interactions with the Mediterranean/European space, the Sub-Saharan region and with Arab-Islamic cultures of the Middle East, few studies have considered the region in its transatlantic dimension with the New World in general and the US in particular. This panel, therefore, examines the genealogical roots and transformations of historical discourses as well as cultural, rhetorical and political representations that have determined the contours of a "transatlantic Maghreb." More specifically, the panelists explore various socio-cultural formations, historical forces and political factors that have structured US engagement with the region of North Africa as well as the cultural and artistic projections of the Maghreb in the American imaginary. The panel also examines how concepts of race, abolitionism and Islam have informed these various interactions with the Maghreb and contributed to the construction of American cultural identity and self-definition.

We especially welcome papers that draw on analysis of race, abolitionist discourse and Islam/religion in American missionary texts, travel and captivity writing, fiction, and other forms of American representation of Maghrebi culture. In particular, topics of interest include: examination of the Maghreb in relation to issues such as the legacies of the conquest of America, the slave trade, captivity, and transatlantic exile as well as work that focuses on how the rhetoric and discourses of these cultural productions concerning the history, culture and politics in North Africa enable reflections on complex processes of American cultural self-definition and the construction of the Maghreb from a transatlantic perspective.

Please send a 200-300 word abstract and a short bio to Ahmed Idrissi Alami ( by February 12, 2014.