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Medium 9780253011367

3 Our Master’s Call: The Apotheosis of Moroccan Islam

Emilio Spadola Indiana University Press ePub

COLONIAL-ERA MOROCCAN NATIONALISTS reinterpreted the powers of popular Sufi (sharifian) rituals to foreground their material properties as media. More precisely, placed in the context of mass-mediated communications by which national subjects could be summoned, Sufi rites appeared in new light as the call of competing media, generating demonstrably different forms of piety and society: on the one hand, exploited masses; on the other hand, a coherent public, “the Moroccan People.” Yet the distinction between these two has remained tenuous, both for postcolonial nationalists, such as al-Wazzani, who sought a democratic alternative to the authoritarian monarchy, and for postcolonial theorists of “Moroccan Islam.” What scholars have described as “Moroccan Islam” explicitly evokes a mass public unified—enthralled, or indeed, entranced—by a culture of saint veneration, and expanded to a national scale.1

But if theorists have acknowledged the ritual and communicative power of saints by which a public forms—Clifford Geertz describes baraka as “spiritual electricity” (1983, 136)—they have neglected to describe precisely how technologically mediated rituals have summoned such a public into being.2 I do so in this chapter by examining a watershed event in postcolonial Moroccan politics: the Green March (al-masira al-khadra) of 1975, when King Hassan II summoned 350,000 men and women to walk en masse and unarmed into then-Spanish occupied Western Sahara to reclaim the territory for the Moroccan nation-state. Hassan II’s command, which marchers describe as “nida sidna” (“the King’s Call,” literally “Our Master’s Call”), succeeded in reclaiming the territory, though not without continuing conflict. More importantly, his call provoked mass enthusiasm and at least temporary national unity across social and political differences; it remains a critical current reference point in the state’s assertion and enforcement of national unity and “spiritual security” (Arif 2008; Kaitouni 2010).

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Medium 9780253008565

4: Seeking Truth in Hip-Hop Music and Hip-Hop Ethnography

Fran Markowitz Indiana University Press ePub

Uri Dorchin

IT WAS BACK in 1997 when a friend, a music promoter and arranger from Tel Aviv, called to tell me about a new CD he described as a pioneering project by a group of local rappers. “We must support them, rasta,” he said with his typical enthusiasm, probably thinking about the radio program I was hosting at that time, where I was playing mostly roots and dancehall reggae. The fact that it was no more than a marginal radio station, located in the northern part of the country, did not make his commitment to black music waver in the least. “As soon as you get to Tel Aviv, rasta,” he started to explain, “inside the central bus station, fourth floor, look for Chulu at the Mad-Man fashion shop.”

Two weeks later I found myself walking in circles in the labyrinth-like dirty central bus station looking for Chulu and his shop. Finally I found it, small and empty, toward the end of a side corridor. Shiny colored track suits were hanging on the walls, alongside baggy jeans, beanies and cup hats, belts and other stuff that left no room for a mistake as to who was the target crowd. Chulu, a polite guy in his mid-20s, was happy to serve me a copy of the CD; the homemade cover featured the curious title Israelim Atzbanim (Nervous Israelis). He himself appeared to be the musical producer of the project, and contributor to three tracks on the album. The other contributors, rappers such as Cottage, Jeremy Cool-Habash, Lil Don and Subliminal were still teenagers whose love for hip-hop, an uncommon phenomenon back then, brought them to Chulu’s place. For them Mad-Man was more than just about clothes; it was a hidden headquarters, a meeting place for their secret union, a base to built a dream on.1 Practically it was a place where they could exchange ideas, practice rap techniques, and finally, record their music, as they dreamt to be heard in public one day. The premature projects they created there, which I still sometimes play for an audience, are recognized today as the cornerstone of the Israeli hip-hop scene.

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Medium 9780253012883

9 Ways of Living in the Market City: Bufalotta and the Porta di Roma Shopping Center / Carlo Cellamare

ISABELLA CLOUGH MARINARO Indiana University Press ePub

An important and entirely new feature of recent urban development in Rome is the creation of several large conglomerations, mostly placed along the GRA (the Grande Raccordo Anulare or ring road) or near the main roads and motorways. These conglomerations have come into being primarily with the creation of large shopping complexes, often connected to extensive residential areas. There are now more than twenty-eight large malls (centri commerciali), some of them the largest in Europe, which have had a marked impact on the present layout of the city and, indeed, on living conditions in entire urban districts. For the most part, the conglomerations correspond to the so-called centralities envisaged by the new urban master plan.1 The purpose of this plan was among other things to regenerate the outer suburbs, but its consequences were very different: They took the form primarily of real-estate and financial transactions that benefited private promoters. This type of process seems to symbolize the current phase of development in Rome and the public policies that support it, a phase characterized by a quest for modernization, often in emulation of other “advanced” capital cities but without having undergone the maturing process of a “modernity” based on the riches and potential of the city aiming to have its own “high” profile.

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3 The Rhetoric of al-Andalus in Morocco: Genealogical Imagination and Authenticity

Jonathan Holt Shannon Indiana University Press ePub

The sun has just begun to set when I hop out of my taxi and make my way past the barricades into the lobby of the Jnan Palace, a swank hotel in an elite neighborhood of Fez. The Fez Festival of Andalusian Music is about to begin, and I am characteristically a little late. I meet one of the organizers in the lobby. He presents me with my complimentary tickets and says as I rush past, “Don’t worry! It hasn’t started yet!” The lobby has an exhibit of musical instruments, books, photographs, and other memorabilia of Morocco’s Andalusian music, so I stop to have a look. Strolling around, I run into a number of performers, aficionados, and scholars of the music who have come to be my friends, teachers, and primary interlocutors in my research in Morocco. In a way, I feel at home among them and look forward to the concert. I’ve forgotten my camera and recorder at the hotel and only have a small notebook with me. No matter; it means I can focus more on the event and less on the technology. I want to enjoy the music and not just analyze it.

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Medium 9780253356376

16 Everyday Life as Art: Thai Artists and the Aesthetics of Shopping, Eating, Protesting, and Having Fun

KATHLEEN M ADAMS Indiana University Press ePub

Sandra Cate

The collective shock of the 1997 economic crisis in Thailand stimulated a number of young artists to confront Thai social realities through installations and the “new media” of film and video, performances, and interactivity. With the collapse of the Thai baht currency, the promises of globalization had faltered and stereotypes of Asian economic prowess collapsed—a theme that artist Sutee Kunavichayanont explored literally in his interactive series Breath Donation (1997–2000) with inflatable silicone forms. Each form symbolized Thai national identity: a deflated “Asian tiger” referred to the name given the Asian economies that had boomed so wildly during the 1980s and 1990s, the water buffalo an icon of rice-growing Thailand, and the sagging elephant representing the nation itself and one of the most common motifs in Thai art and craft. Viewers blew through tubes to inflate the forms, giving them “life.” The flaccid elephant had to receive continuous “breath donations” to remain inflated, suggesting Thailand’s dependence on outside investments for its stability.

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