Note: The following guest post is by Dr. Nina Morgan, Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University and Reprise editor at the Journal of Transnational American Studies, affiliated with the American Studies Association (ASA), of which Nina is also Chair of the Women's Committee.
The initiative of which she writes – though it happened at TALIM – was born out of the December 2012 Marrakesh conference on American Studies, post-Arab Spring, in the MENA region. The conference was organized by the Moroccan American Studies Lab of Hassan II University in Casablanca.
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How can those of us teaching and researching, lecturing and writing on “American studies” in Morocco share our work? Where can we go to seek out one another’s advice on curriculum development or job opportunities for graduate students? How can news of our publications be shared with other Americanists and comparativists world-wide? An association of individuals—whether scholars associated with a university or independent researchers, or writers, artists or students—is being formed under the title of the “Moroccan American Studies Association,” and it is to be housed at TALIM.
This exciting development in Moroccan American Studies is in its early stages. On July 2, 2013, a small group met at the Legation—Dr. Karim Bejjit (Hassan II University, Casablanca), Dr. Nourdin Bejjit (Agdal V University, Rabat), TALIM Director Mr. Gerald Loftus, and Dr. Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University, Georgia) — to begin discussing the how such an organization might be built and when MASA might be ready to apply for affiliation with the American Studies Association in Washington, D.C. The group was mentored by Dr. Boris Vejdovsky, Chair of the ASA’s International Committee, who has overseen the development of many national organizations like MASA.
Writing a mission statement, establishing articles or rules of association, and holding elections for officers of MASA are only a few of the tasks yet to be completed. Planning future events, such as a yearly conference hosted by TALIM, is also on the table for discussion.
While our first meeting was small, there is a growing group of scholars long-committed to work in the field of Moroccan-American studies who are involved in these efforts. Especially significant are the “movers and shakers” of Moroccan American studies at Hassan II University, Ben Msik, Casablanca, who teach both graduate and undergraduate courses in the subject and who publish regularly in their journal, Moroccan American Studies: Dr. Amine El Moumine, Dr. Mohamed Benzidan, Dr. Karim Bejjit, Dr. Abdelmajid Bouziane, Dr. Taoufik Jafaari, Dr. Mohamed Kandoussi, Dr. Samira Rguibi, Dr. Saida Bennani as well as important figures in Moroccan writing such as Dr. Larbi Touaf (Mohamed I University, Oujda).
If you have any interest in shaping the future of Moroccan American studies, please consider joining us!