Who (or What) Controls the Story? Racial Hierarchies within North African National, Imperial, and Global Histories

AHA Session 206
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Virginia Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania
Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania

Session Abstract

This panel examines racial tensions and racial hierarchies in Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania as they appear or are obfuscated in national, imperial, and global histories.  Placing an emphasis on race points to the irreducible dimensions of empowerment and disempowerment that occurs through racial politics.  Likewise, examining how race appears or disappears in historical narratives reveals the hidden strategies of those who control the narratives.  This panel examines the disjunctures and coincidences between transnational and local narratives about race in Morocco, Egypt, and Mauritania.  The papers ask how interest groups gain from alternately emphasizing or obfuscating the role of race.  They also address how policy outcomes are distorted by the veiling of racial distinction and the manipulation of historical narrative.  The panel offers three distinct views on how race figures in different transnational processes:  through the norms of religious scholarship, the strategies of colonial empire, and the processes of contemporary globalization.

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