Between 1963 and 1986, eminent American anthropologists Clifford and Hildred Geertz - together and alone - conducted ethnographic fieldwork for varying periods in Sefrou, a town situated in north-central Morocco, south of Fez. This book considers Geertz’s contributions to sociocultural theory and symbolic anthropology.
Clifford Geertz made an immense impact on the American academy: his interpretative and symbolic approaches reoriented anthropology analytically away from classic social science presuppositions, while his publications profoundly influenced both North American and Maghribi researchers alike. After his death at the age of 80 on October 30, 2006, scholars from local, national, and international universities gathered at the University of California, Los Angeles, to analyze his contributions to sociocultural theory and symbolic anthropology in relation to Islam; ideas of the sacred; Morocco’s cityscapes (notably Sefrou’s bazaar or suq); colonialism and post-independence economic development; gender, and political structures at the household and village levels.
This book looks back to a specific era of American anthropology beginning in the 1960s as it unfolded in Morocco; and at the same time, the contributions examine new lines of enquiry that opened up after key texts by Geertz were translated into French and introduced to generations of francophone Maghribi researchers who sustain lively and inventive meditations on his Morocco writings.
This book was published as a special issue of Journal of North African Studies.
1. Introduction to Clifford Geertz in Morocco: "Why Sefrou? Why Anthropology? Why Me?" Part I: Islam Re-Observed 2. Introduction to Islam Observed (Hebrew Translation, 2007) 3. Islam Re-Observed: Sanctity, Salafism, and Islamism 4. How Religion Turns into Ideology 5. Religious Act, Public Space: Reflections on Some Geertzian Concepts 6. Interpretation and the Limits of Interpretability: On Rethinking Clifford Geertz’s Semiotics of Religious Experience Part II: Translation, Metaphor, Humor 7. Not Lost in Translation: The Influence of Clifford Geertz’s Work and Life on Anthropology in Morocco 8. Geertz, Humour and Morocco 9. Culture as Text: Hazards and Possibilities of Geertz’s Literary/Literacy Metaphor Part III: Photography, Paul Hyman, and Clifford Geertz 10. A (Fashion) Photographer’s Reflections on Fieldwork 11. Perceptions, Not Illustrations, of Sefrou, Morocco: Paul Hyman’s Images and the Work of Ethnographic Photography 12. Chicken or Glass: In the Vicinity of Clifford Geertz and Paul Hyman Part IV: Urban Space and Sefrou 13. Of Time and the City: Clifford Geertz on Urban History 14. Observing Islam Observed: The Family Resemblance and the Pun 15. Sidi Lahcen Blues Part V: Modernism, Meaning, and Order 16. How Life is Hard: Visceral Notes on Meaning, Order, and Morocco 17. Are We There Yet? Geertz, Morocco, and Modernization 18. Welcome Message from the Mayor of Sefrou