SOAS Research Online

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

[skip to content]

Goikolea-Amiano, Itzea and Simour, Lhoussain (2022) 'Moroccan subaltern voices narrated: the historical imaginary of race and the legacy of slavery in Rabbaj's Le Lutteur [The Wrestler] and El Hachimi’s Dhākirat al-narjis [The Daffodil’s Memory].' Social Identities, 28 (1). pp. 108-138.

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

Download (3MB) | Preview


Nation in Moroccan historiography writings has traditionally been described as culturally, ethnically and racially homogeneous; an all-encompassing discourse that silences episodes about the historical legacy of slavery and racism in the country, and undermines multicultural Morocco. In fact, the history of Morocco's blacks of sub-Saharan descent remains fragmented, scattered and undocumented - partly because of the scarcity of archival sources. Recent years, however, have witnessed the revival of an 'African consciousness' in Moroccan history and in literature. This is also the case of Maghrebi (North African) and Arabic literature from the Mashreq (the Middle East) and the Gulf. In this paper, we consider how two recent Moroccan novels, [The Wrestler, in French] by My Seddick Rabbaj (2017) and [The Daffodil's Memory, in Arabic] by Rachid al-Hachimi (2018), deal with salient moments of trans-Saharan cultural connections. We argue that the historical and the geographical imaginaries connecting North and sub-Saharan Africa compel a discussion of the 'decolonial' as outlined by the Moroccan critic Abdelkebir Khatibi, and enforce a rebound on the concept of 'significant geographies'. In engaging with the narratives' concern about the construction of racial and cultural identities in Morocco, we consider how these works resonate with the recovery of the subaltern history of black Morocco, and how gender, rural and ethnic identity inform and imbue the texts with a knot of ambivalent discourses. [Abstract copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.]

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: black Morocco, Moroccan literature, postcolonial/decolonial, Sub-Saharan Africa, subalternity
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 13630296
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 14:56
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