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Black Morocco
A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam

CAD$37.95 (G)

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Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107651777

CAD$ 37.95 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam chronicles the experiences, identity, and achievements of enslaved black people in Morocco from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. Chouki El Hamel argues that we cannot rely solely on Islamic ideology as the key to explain social relations and particularly the history of black slavery in the Muslim world, for this viewpoint yields an inaccurate historical record of the people, institutions, and social practices of slavery in Northwest Africa. El Hamel focuses on black Moroccans' collective experience beginning with their enslavement to serve as the loyal army of the Sultan Isma'il. By the time the Sultan died in 1727, they had become a political force, making and unmaking rulers well into the nineteenth century. The emphasis on the political history of the black army is augmented by a close examination of the continuity of black Moroccan identity through the musical and cultural practices of the Gnawa.

    • Fills a gap in the scholarship concerning slavery, race and gender in Morocco
    • Deconstructs familiar concepts by focusing on the agency of the enslaved people and investigating the subaltern relationship to the ruling institutions, power, race and gender politics
    • Argues that we cannot rely solely on Islamic ideology as the key to explaining the history of black slavery in the Muslim world
    Read more


    • Honourable Mention, 2016 L. Carl Brown Book Prize, The American Institute for Maghrib Studies

    Reviews & endorsements

    "… a valuable contribution to North African historiography and the study of slavery … an important contribution not only to the study of slavery but also to the field of North African history. … Black Morocco offers us the most sustained and in-depth discussion of Mawlay Isma'il's army to date, and provides a solid overview of slavery in Morocco beyond this particular sultan's reign."
    Jonathan Glasser, H-Atlantic

    "Chouki El Hamel has given us a thorough, well-researched, engaging study of Islam, slavery, and race in Morocco. He weaves together Islamic jurisprudence, Moroccan court histories, European travel accounts, Sufi hagiography, diplomatic correspondence, and social history to explode long-standing cultural myths … El Hamel locates a window to the past in the black diasporic mystical culture of the present."
    Ellen Amster, American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107651777
    • length: 354 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Race, Gender, and Slavery in the Islamic Discourse:
    1. The notion of slavery and the justification of concubinage as an institution of slavery in Islam
    2. The interplay between slavery, race, and color prejudice
    Part II. Black Morocco: The Internal African Diaspora:
    3. The trans-Saharan diaspora
    4. 'Racializing slavery': the controversy of Mawlay Isma'il's project
    5. The Black Army functions and the role of women
    6. The political history of the Black Army: between privilege and marginality
    7. The abolition of slavery in Morocco
    8. The Gnawa and the memory of slavery

  • Author

    Chouki El Hamel, Arizona State University
    Chouki El Hamel is Associate Professor in History at Arizona State University.


    • Honourable Mention, 2016 L. Carl Brown Book Prize, The American Institute for Maghrib Studies

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