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Wounded Memories: Present Pasts in Contemporary Moroccan Film and (Auto-) Biography

Laura Menin

This subproject approaches contemporary Moroccan autobiography and film as transformational sites of memory shaping the exchange of personal experience and historical event. While this exchange may be otherwise framed by formal procedures and rituals of memorialisation, emphasis here is placed on cultural production as transformative practices influencing the way in which Moroccan public culture addresses the past. The research is carried out against the background of the ‘Justice and Reconciliation Commission’ (JRC), set up by Mohammed VI in 2004 by explicit royal will. The Commission was in part set up as a response to the increasing public appearance of counter-narratives of former political prisoners, whose public visibility could no longer be officially neglected. As works of cultural production, such narratives were expressed in the forms of novels, poems, cartoons and movies, and (auto)biographies. These worked to challenge the former government’s interest in maintaining historical amnesia, the post-colonial historiography of denying and forgetting embraced by Hassan II until shortly before his death in 1999. It needs to be examined in contrast to the Lebanese cases whether this strategy leads to a higher degree of social cohesion, as suggested by a number of recent secondary works (Catusse/Vairel 2003, Vermeren 2009).


This project is part of:


Transforming Memories: Cultural Production and Personal/Public Memory in Lebanon and Morocco

In Cooperation with UMAM D&R, Beirut
Sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft