by Graham Cornwell

Moroccan/American is a podcast about Morocco and the United States. These two countries have maintained a consistent and long-term friendship over centuries, even while their common interests have not always perfectly aligned. What started this relationship and what has sustained it? Diving into the fields of diplomacy, literature, trade, and art, in this podcast, we’ll dissect different parts of the Moroccan-American friendshi ...   ...  Read more

Podcast episodes

  • Season 2

  • The Seduction of Morocco in American Anthropology

    The Seduction of Morocco in American Anthropology

    Students of Morocco, particularly those with experience in the American academy, are often struck by the volume of anthropological research conducted in Moroccan towns, cities, villages, and tribes. The 1960s witnessed an explosion of ethnographic interest in Morocco, spearheaded by Clifford and Hildred Geertz but certainly shaped by a longer trajectory of ethnographic work on Morocco. It prompts the question: why Morocco? What brought all these American researchers there? Paul Silverstein, Professor of Anthropology at Reed College, joins the podcast and helps us to unpack the complex this complex history while suggesting a handful of political and cultural factors for why there's so much groundbreaking ethnographic research based on fieldwork in Morocco.

  • The US and Morocco in the Age of Decolonization

    The US and Morocco in the Age of Decolonization

    Moroccan-American friendship is an old story, but an underappreciated chapter of that story came during the Moroccan movement from independence from France and Spain in the 1940s and 1950s. During this period, a handful of vocal Americans--most of them private citizens--began to advocate for Moroccan independence at home and abroad. At the same time, as the home to the new United Nations, New York City became a key site in the push for Moroccan decolonization. David Stenner helps lay out how the U.S. and Americans played a role in helping end the Protectorate and bring about Moroccan independence in 1956 and, importantly, how Moroccans used their relationship with Americans as a tool in a broader global, public opinion campaign against European rule.

  • Season 1

  • American Orientalist Painters in Morocco, with Khalid Chaouch

    American Orientalist Painters in Morocco, with Khalid Chaouch

    The term "Orientalism" recalls both a Western artistic movement focused on depictions of an exotic "East" and reaching its apex in the 19th century, and Edward Said’s landmark book of the same title, which, of course, criticizes that very movement. You may know some of the iconic names of Orientalist painting: Delacroix, Gerome, Gericault, but less talked about is the work of American Orientalist painters. Edwin Lord Weeks, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, and others were well known in the second half of the 19th century, in large part due to the work they produced during and inspired by their visits to Morocco. What brought these American painters to Morocco? How did they depict Moroccan society, and what set their work apart from their contemporaries? On this episode of Moroccan/American, we’re joined today by Khalid Chaouch, Professor of English at Sultan Moulay Slimane University in Beni Mellal, Morocco to talk about this often overlooked artistic connection between Morocco and the US.

  • Edith Wharton Goes to Morocco, with Stacy Holden

    Edith Wharton Goes to Morocco, with Stacy Holden

    In this episode, we return to the theme of travelers. One of the most famous Americans to write about Morocco was Edith Wharton. Wharton was a popular and acclaimed author whose work focused primarily on New York City elite society at the turn of the twentieth century. She spent a great deal of time in Paris, spoke French fluently, and was intimately connected to important artists and politicians in both the US and France. She is best known for her novels, the House of Mirth and the Age of Innoncence, the latter which won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. What does this have to do with Morocco? Well, less well known is Wharton’s 1920 travelogue, titled “In Morocco,” ­­which she wrote after a 1917 visit in which she was hosted by Hubert Lyautey, the very first Resident General of the French Protectorate of Morocco. As a piece of literature, it’s not the most exciting thing to read. But in this episode, we talk about what lies just under the surface. What was important about Wharton’s visit to Morocco? What role did it play in the politics of the day, namely World War I and France’s newest colonial venture in North Africa? Stacy Holden, Associate Professor of History at Purdue University and author of The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco, joins to share her insights and her ongoing research on Wharton.

  • The Moor's Account with Laila Lalami

    The Moor's Account with Laila Lalami

    In the summer of 1527, an expedition of approximately 600 men and women set off from Spain to explore what is now the US coast of the Gulf of Mexico and claim it for the Spanish crown. Among this group was a Moroccan slave by the name of Estebanico, from the city of Azemmour, just south of Casablanca, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The Narvaez Expedition, as it’s now known, was an unmitigated disaster: death, disease, infighting, along with widespread destruction of the Native American populations they encounter. Only four people survived, appearing 9 years later in northwestern Mexico after an incredible journey that took them across the Mississippi River and across the whole of what is now Texas. Of course, one of these survivors was Estebanico. In our first episode, we welcome author Laila Lalami, to talk about The Moor’s Account, her historical reimagining of the extraordinary life and travels of Estebanico through what is now the southern United States and Mexico. The Moor’s Account won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I hope you enjoy our conversation.