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History, Society and Islam in Morocco


Admission requirements



This course will focus on history, society, and Islam in Morocco. Using a combination of texts from anthropology and social history we will study the nature of political authority, the organization of social life, the role of religion in politics and everyday life, the impact of economic reform, social movements, and the transformations of gender relationships in the North African Kingdom since 1830. We will pay particular attention to the history of colonialism and its influence on local politics, religion, urbanism and the broader make-up of society. The role of memory and heritage will also be explored in the context of the postcolonial nation-state. The course will also engage with the place of religion and piety, which will help students develop a nuanced and critical understanding of Moroccan Islam. Current challenges such as economic liberalization, Islamist movements and the impact of the Arab Spring revolts will also be explored in the later part of the course.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the history of Morocco and prepare them to critically engage with topics pertaining to the study of society and religion in Morocco. By the end of the course students will become familiar with the historical contexts and major events of social and political life in 19th and 20th century Morocco. They will be able to identify the basic social and political forces that have shaped contemporary society in Morocco, and will develop a critical understanding of current debates around society, politics, and Islam in the country.


Timetable BA MOS

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar with compulsory attendance.

Course Load

Total course load Number 5 EC x 28 hours = 140

  • Lectures and seminars: 26h

  • Preparation tutorials: 10h

  • Study of compulsory literature: 45h

  • Assignment(s) (oral presentations and papers): 59h

Assessment method

  • Paper

  • Abstract, oral presentation.


  1. Student Presentations (15 %)
  2. Attendance and Class Participation (10 %)
  3. Short Paper (25 %): Each student will submit a short paper (1200-1800 words) on one of the themes covered mid-way through the course. This partial examination may not be rewritten.
  4. Long Paper (50 %): Each student will write a 2500-3000 words paper on a topic agreed in consultation with the instructor.

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The long paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • posting additional literature

Reading list

  • Gilson Miller, Susan. 2013. A History of Modern Morocco

  • Burke, Edmund. 2014. The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam

  • Some additional readings. A definitive reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs


Mw. dr. C. Strava