Two previous NEH Summer Institutes serve as foundations for this proposal. The first in 2007, Berber North Africa: The Hidden Mediterranean Culture, shed light on the significance of pre-Arabic Berber culture in North African society today. Inspired by the first, the second institute in 2014, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia: Guiding Themes in Literature, Cinema and Other Arts since Independence, expanded the field of view beyond Berber culture to encompass the importance of artistic expressions across the Maghreb over the last six decades. Both institutes exposed a recurring question that the present proposal seeks to examine: why have North African women rarely been given the right to be heard since Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia gained national independence? This question, in its broadest dimensions, opens gateways to a number of disciplinary responses in the humanities.
We will meet five days per week, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, except for Week Two (four days because of the 4th of July holiday which falls on Tuesday). Typically, morning segments will open with a short lecture by guest speakers which will elucidate the weekly themes with reference to the assigned readings. The lecture will then be followed by general discussion so that participants can ask individual questions about the themes or the readings. The second part of the morning will consist of group activities designed by visiting scholars. Afternoons and some evenings will be left free for study and additional meetings with guest scholars to discuss curriculum development and research projects. On some evenings guest scholars will give short keynote addresses on aspects related to the Institute’s themes. In preparation for the unit on cinema, there will be screenings, in a couple of evenings, of acclaimed films from the Maghreb.
Participants will be sent several of the assigned readings prior to their arrival in order to prepare for the institute. General cultural background information and specific articles will also be made available through this website and the institute's Blackboard site. Read the Letter from the Directors (PDF) for more details about the program.