SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Blalack, July Scott (2020) 'Al-Shaikh Māʾ al-ʿAynayn: Maghrebi-Saharan literary geographies on the eve of colonization.' Journal of the African Literature Association, 14 (3).

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (1MB) | Preview


Although the 19th-century Sufi figure al-Shaikh Maʾ al-ʿAynayn led a major resistance movement in what is now southern Morocco, northern Mauritania, and the disputed Western Sahara while also becoming one of the most widely printed authors on the Fez lithographic press, very little information on his literary and scholarly output exists in Europhone sources. This is largely due to the marginalization of texts inconsistent with Middle East-centered narratives of reform and revival inspired by the encounter with Europe. As part of a larger effort to read Maghrebi literatures on their own terms rather than imposing European or Middle Eastern timelines and concepts, this article reads Maʾ al-ʿAynayn’s 1858 riḥla (travelogue) to Mecca and shows how he conceptualized his world and traveled within it, including local, regional, and transregional elements.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Mauritania, Maghreb, Maghrib, hajj, rihla, travelogue, 19th century, Arabic literature,
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 21674736
Copyright Statement: 2020 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 10:52
Funders: European Union

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item