In his study of the Tangier expatriate community, Michael K. Walonen analyzes the representations of French and Spanish Colonial North Africa by Paul Bowles, Jane Bowles, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Alfred Chester during the end of the colonial era and the earliest days of post-independence. The conceptualizations of space in these authors' descriptions of Tangier, Walonen shows, share common components: an attention to the transformative potential of the conflict sweeping the region; a record of the power relations that divided space along lines of gender and ethnicity, including the spatial impact of the widespread sexual commerce between Westerners and natives; a vision of the Maghreb as a land that can be dominated or imposed on as a kind of frontier space; an expression of anxieties about the specters of Cold War antagonisms; and an embrace of the underlying logic of the market to the culture of the Maghreb. Counterbalancing the depictions of Tangier by Westerners who sought to reconcile their nostalgia for the colonial order with their support of native demands for independent governance is Walonen's extended analysis of the contrasting sense of place found in the writings of native Moroccan authors such as Mohammed Choukri, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and Anouar Majid. In its focus on Tangier and the larger Maghreb as a lived environment situated at a particular spatial and temporal crossroads, Walonen's study makes an important contribution to the fields of urban, transatlantic, and postcolonial studies.
Michael K. Walonen is an Assistant Professor of English at Bethune-Cookman University. His work, situated at the disciplinary intersection of cultural studies and social geography, focuses on transnational and American regional literature.
'... the author has to be praised for his relevant selection of authors and texts, and his systematic analysis of two interesting issues: contrast in non-native and native writings, and contrast among the views of English-speaking writers. Another significant strength of the text is the author’s concise, lucid, and accessible writing style... the book can be highly recommended. It is a noteworthy contribution to the field of postcolonial African Studies, and it will be greatly appreciated by any scholar wishing to have a comprehensive reading of a wide variety of complex themes related to expatriate literature in general, and English-speaking intellectual circles in Morocco in particular.' African Studies Quarterly 'Writing Tangier in the Postcolonial Transition serves as a fine example of the sort of work the author’s subject deserves. It is well-written, contains two very useful maps, and a helpful bibliography.' Transnational Literature