The socio-political contexts of Morocco’s “Arab Spring” (which some critics say wasn’t one), have been interestingly reflected in the press, literature and cinema in recent years. Even before the first demonstrations of the 20th of February Movement in early 2011, the cultural production of Morocco— whether in French or Arabic, artistically deemed high or low—acted as a mirror for a society that has been remaking itself in the new millennium. This presentation considers how cinema, literature, the press, and other forms of media invested in the current socio-cultural and political debates of the country have helped document the vestiges of past history and the never ending hurdles of present reality in Morocco. Morocco’s Arab Spring, while less violent than in other countries, has been no less poignant, yet its contours have been exceedingly different than elsewhere in the Arab world, leading some to claim that it is Moroccan exceptionalisme that has kept the country from unraveling.  

About the speaker:

Valérie K. Orlando is Professor of French & Francophone Literatures in the Department of French & Italian at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she also serves as Head. A graduate of GMU’s MA program in French, she is the author of six books: The Algerian New Novel: The Poetics of a Modern Nation, 1950-1979  (University of Virginia Press, 2017), New African Cinema (Rutger’s University Press, 2017), Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society (Ohio UP, 2011), Francophone Voices of the ‘New Morocco’ in Film and Print: (Re)presenting a Society in Transition (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), Of Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls: Seeking Subjecthood Through Madness in Francophone Women’s Writing of Africa and the Caribbean (Lexington Books, 2003) and Nomadic Voices of Exile: Feminine Identity in Francophone Literature of the Maghreb, (Ohio University Press, 1999). She published with Sandra M. Cypess the co-edited volume, Reimaging the Caribbean: Conversations among the Creole, English, French and Spanish Caribbean (Lexington Books, 2014). She has written numerous articles on Francophone writing from the African diaspora, African Cinema, and French literature and culture.  She is also Series Editor for After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France, Lexington books  https://rowman.com/Action/SERIES/LEX/ATE

Webpage: www.valeriekeyorlando.org

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