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Middle East Studies Program | Moral Matter: Property, Piety, and the Politics of Repair in Protectorate-Era Casablanca

February 7, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

This talk will examine conflicts over rent, repair, and the proper use of property that erupted between Moroccan inhabitants of Casablanca and French municipal officials during the 1930s. This critical period in the county’s colonial history witnessed the dramatic emergence of an urban nationalist movement on the one hand, the gradual consolidation of colonial real estate capital on the other. In the spring of 1934, these two processes intersected in the form of a rent strike led by Moroccan residents of Casablanca. This movement took aim at the management of religious endowments (ḥubūs or awqāf) in the city—raising questions about property, piety, and the material affordances of the built environment. This talk will consider how urban activists in 1930s Casablanca linked morality to materiality through critiques that politicized rent and repair under colonial rule. In the process, they articulated a vision for a more just distribution of urban resources that would remain a powerful pole for anti-colonial movements in the country.


1131 Humanities Building
455 N. Park St.
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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