Conference Explores North Africa as Central to 20th Century

Historians from Europe and the United States have often treated North Africa as marginal to the central dramas of the twentieth century. "Placing the Maghrib at the Center of the 20th Century: From Colonial Histories to Post-Colonial Societies" will examine the role of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in the unfolding of the recent past.

The conference will take place in Ann Arbor, MI and Minneapolis, MN during the week of April 6-10, 2009, and has been coordinated by Joshua Cole (History, University of Michigan) and Patricia Lorcin (History, University of Minnesota). The IHRC will host the second part of the conference April 9-10 in Elmer L. Andersen Library.

The full program is now available.

Although the modern nations of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia share a legacy as former colonies of France, the different modes of colonial control in each region and the different patterns of accommodation and resistance to European imperialism shaped their histories in divergent ways. Likewise, different areas within the Maghrib had their own relationship to political and religious movements emanating from the Middle East and elsewhere.

The experiences of the peoples of North Africa thus provide a useful comparative basis for contemporary reflection on the major turning points of the last hundred years: on the legacies of colonialism and anti-colonial forms of nationalism, on the meaning of the cold war and its end, and on the emergence of post-colonial societies facing new challenges in the late twentieth century. This conference brings scholars from North Africa to meet with specialists and students from two U.S. universities for a fruitful exchange of views and research agendas.

The schedule for the conference will be:

April 6-7, University of Michigan
April 6: 9:30-12:00, 2:00-4:00
April 7: 10:00-12:00, 2:00-4:00
All sessions in 1014 Tisch Hall

April 9-10, University of Minnesota
April 9: 9:30-12:00, 2:00-4:00
April 10: 10:00-12:00, 2:00-4:00
All sessions in 120 A,B C, Andersen Library