The Moroccan Soul

The Moroccan Soul

French Education, Colonial Ethnology, and Muslim Resistance, 1912-1956

Spencer D. Segalla

France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization Series

340 pages


January 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Following the French conquest of Morocco in 1911 the French established a network of colonial schools for Moroccan Muslims designed to further the agendas of the conquerors. The Moroccan Soul examines the history of the French educational system in colonial Morocco, the development of French conceptions about the “Moroccan soul,” and the effect these ideas had on pedagogy, policy making, and politics.

Based in large part on French conceptions of “Moroccanness” as a static, natural, and neatly bounded identity, colonial schooling was designed to minimize conflict by promoting the consent of the colonized. This same colonial school system, however, was also a site of interaction between colonial authorities and Moroccan Muslims and became a locus of changing strategies of Moroccan resistance and contestation, culminating in the rise of the Moroccan nationalist movement in the 1930s. Spencer D. Segalla reveals how the resistance of the colonized influenced the ideas and policies of the school system and how French ideas and policies shaped the strategies and discourse of anticolonial resistance.


Author Bio

Spencer D. Segalla is an associate professor of history at the University of Tampa.


"This clearly written book captures the elaborate crosscurrents of its history."—David H. Slavin, American Historical Review

"Segalla should be congratulated for an enlightening study that stimulates the reader's mind far beyond the topic suggested in the title."—Samia I. Spencer, French Review

"The Moroccan Soul is a welcome contribution to the history of French imperialism in North Africa."—Sahar Bazzaz, The Historian

"The Moroccan Soul will offer much to both undergraduate and graduate audiences. It should command the attention of all historians of empire and historians of education, and anyone interested in the modern construction and reconstruction of French and Moroccan identities."—John Strachan, H-France

Table of Contents

Note on Arabic Spellings
List of Abbreviations Used in the Text
1. Empire and Education
2. An Uncertain Beginning
3. The West African Connection
4. A New Pedagogy for Morocco?
5. A Psychological Ethnology
6. "A Worker Proletariat with a Dangerous Mentality"
7. Elite Demands
8. Nests of Nationalism
9. Legacies and Reversals

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