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
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
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.