Moroccan nationalists attending the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly (New York, December 1952)
MY CURRENT PROJECT
My current book manuscript, Networking for Independence: The Moroccan Nationalist Movement’s Global Campaign Against Colonialism, examines how the activists of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party conducted a worldwide publicity campaign, which contributed to the abolishing of the French and Spanish Protectorates in 1956. Organized around propaganda offices in New York, Paris, and Cairo, the nationalists successfully created an international network of supporters that helped them present their case before world public opinion during the early Cold War era and convinced the UN to deal with the status of Morocco. I argue that the very structure of the nationalists' non-hierarchical and flexible propaganda network and their activities abroad helped them prevail in their struggle against the colonizers, but also enabled King Mohammed V to co-opt its central nodes after independence and transform the Istiqlal into an opposition party, thus laying the foundation for the pro-Western authoritarian monarchy that persists until today.
Various parts of my research have appeared in The Journal of North African Studies, Cold War History, and the Journal of Global History. Moreover, I am a contributor to Zamane, a Moroccan popular history magazine and one of the most widely circulated French-language publications in North Africa. I have also presented my research at several occasions, including the University of Cambridge, Hebrew University, UC Berkeley, and the annual meetings of both the Middle East Studies Association and the American Historical Association.
My research has been supported by the CLIR (Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources), the France-Berkley Fund, and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fund.
Following independence in 1956, King Mohamed V quickly
established himself as the authoritarian ruler of Morocco,
thus sidelining the former nationalists.
A delegation of Moroccan nationalists is received by King Faruq (Cairo, February 1946)
The members of Maktab al-Maghrib al-'Arabi (Office of the Arab Maghrib) in Cairo celebrate the escape of the legendary Berber rebel 'Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi (June 1947)
Mehdi Bennouna (center) networking on behalf of the Moroccan nationalist movement at the UN
(New York, Fall 1947)
Propaganda material disseminated by the Moroccan Office of Information and Documentation (MOID) in New York
Coca-Cola became an important advertiser in the nationalist al-'Alam newspaper... and its Casablanca-based manager served as the liason between the Moroccans and the CIA.