Cemeteries, Shrines, and Museums: Jewish-Muslim Encounters in Present-Day Morocco

Cemeteries, Shrines, and Museums: Jewish-Muslim Encounters in Present-Day Morocco

A lecture by Aomar Boum (UCLA)

Thursday, April 4, 2019
12:15 PM
352 Haines Hall
UCLA

   Image for Calendar Button   Image for Calendar Button

Social scientists have studied cemeteries as sites where rituals of mourning take place without ignoring that they are also places where individuals and communities construct meaningful personal memories. While Jewish shrines and synagogues in Morocco continue to be places that connect the Moroccan Jewish diaspora to its homeland, cemeteries in rural and urban environments have enabled the state and local Muslim populations to build new relationships with Moroccan Jews. In the last decades, Moroccan state authorities have implemented programs of conservation of Jewish burial grounds. Today Jewish cemeteries are maintained and guarded by Muslim men and women and safeguarded by the state. As historical and social spaces, I argue that the conservation of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues is grounded in the state-appropriated discourse of interfaith dialogue modeled after the historical and moral past of Al-Andalusian Convivencia.Aomar Boum is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is interested in the place of religious minorities such as Jews, Baha'is, Shias, and Christians in post-independence Middle Eastern and North African nation states. He is the author of Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (2013) and co-editor of The Holocaust and North Africa (Stanford University Press, 2018).

Aomar Boum is a sociocultural anthropologist with a historical bent concerned with the social and cultural representation of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. He is the author of Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (Stanford Univ. Press, 2013). Boum’s ethnographic work engages the place of religious and ethnic minorities such as Jews, Baha’is, Shias and Christians in post-independence Middle Eastern and North African states. His multi-disciplinary background and academic experience are at the intersections of Middle Eastern and North African studies, Islamic studies, Religious studies, African studies and Jewish studies. Much of Boum’s work has focused on the anthropology and history of Jewish-Muslim relations from the 19th century to the present. Boum has also written on different topics such as Moroccan Jewish historiography, Islamic archives and manuscripts, education, music, youth, Holocaust, anti-Semitism, migration, and sports.


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies