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El Hamel points out longstanding continuities in North African perceptions of racial difference and hierarchy, so that despite the enslavement of many different groups, and the possibility for the child of a male master and an enslaved woman to inherit or attain a high social status, "blackness" came to be associated with servitude. At the same time, he discusses the existence of non-enslaved, autochtonous black communities in Morocco.

Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam

Part 2 considers the "diaspora" of sub-Saharan Africans in North Africa in the early modern and modern periods. It begins with a chapter that traces the medieval roots of the slave trade to Morocco. Sub-Saharan Africans constituted a distinct category of captives that increased in size with the intensification of North African ties to West Africa through trade, conquest, and religious networks.

The flow of captive West Africans into Morocco reached a peak with the conquest of the Songhay Empire at the end of the sixteenth century. Many of the Songhay captives were directed into the army of the ruling Sa'di dynasty and into southern Morocco's nascent sugar industry.

Présentation brève du document

This southern enslaved population would form the central pool for the 'Alawi dynasty's creation of a racialized army several generations later. The three chapters that follow use a variety of European travelers' accounts and unpublished Arabic manuscripts to narrate the creation, functioning, and eventual dissolution of Mawlay Isma'il's social and military project.

These chapters are the core of the book and its most original contribution. This conscription, which began in the s, was deeply controversial, in part because it often meant the enslavement of an established, non-slave Muslim population from within Morocco, and in part because it destabilized established relationships of clientage and servitude outside the royal circle.

El Hamel deftly traces the debate regarding the legality of Mawlay Isma'il's actions, which brought the sultan into conflict with many of the country's leading religious scholars and in some cases ended with black non-enslaved populations escaping conscription.

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Chapter 5 focuses on the everyday life of the conscripted population, with an emphasis on the self-reproducing, all-encompassing aspects of this institution during Mawlay Isma'il's reign. El Hamel vividly evokes the way in which this novel institution, inspired in part by the Ottoman Janissaries, constituted an internal military force dedicated to the suppression of the sultan's challengers.

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May 21, October 25, Chouki. Find on Amazon Articles:. Share this: Twitter Facebook.

New Texts Out Now: Chouki El Hamel, Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam

Like this: Like Loading By the time the Sultan died in , they had become a political force, making and unmaking rulers well into the nineteenth century. The emphasis on the political history of the black army is augmented by a close examination of the continuity of black Moroccan identity through the musical and cultural practices of the Gnawa. Table of Contents Introduction; Part I. Race, Gender, and Slavery in the Islamic Discourse: 1.

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The notion of slavery and the justification of concubinage as an institution of slavery in Islam; 2. The interplay between slavery, race, and color prejudice; Part II.

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The trans-Saharan diaspora; 4. The Black Army functions and the role of women; 6. The political history of the Black Army: between privilege and marginality; 7. The abolition of slavery in Morocco; 8.