Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WAAL 2008: Adventures of the Roving Librarian: Morocco

Ripon College Librarian Valerie Viers talking about her trips to Morocco...

Language and gender issues

Cultural conflict between Arabists and Francophiles -- language use in higher education and elsewhere. Primary students learning both.

Coke and Sprite signs in Arabic

Colonial legacy very much in evidence in Moroccan schools -- French were there 130 years.

Independence movement meant many Arabs didn't want their kids to go to school.

Moroccan Arabic is very far from classical Arabic -- they weren't able to communicate effectively
with other Arabs. Arabist movement working to reverse.

Different languages: French (language of status, business, etc.), Arabic (language of religion and literature, Al-Jazeera), Berber -- each Berber has its own script, attempts to codify

Class differences become apparent in written culture.

Very high unemployment -- but people from Senegal come to Morocco looking for jobs.

Literacy rate among women: 11%
Some rural schools -- kids live up to 6 miles away, no motivation, especially for girls

Teaching academics along with trades make schools more acceptable.

6% of tribes don't have even basic rural schools.

Koranic schools -- where kids go to memorize the Koran. No critical thinking skills taught or encouraged.

Large numbers of people want to leave -- kids want to grow up and be emigres.

Al-Akhawayn University
Mohamed VI Library (named after king)
beautiful woodwork

Hand of Fatima: "don't touch my country" -- warding off terrorists

Moroccan scholars typically don't do leisure reading -- oral culture; they'd rather talk than read.

Fulla the Muslim Barbie -- with appropriate clothing

Bush Bin Laden game: Path Cra 911 (YouTube video)

Beyond the Veil
women going into public spaces causes chaos
concern about who sits next to whom
a woman's reputation is her most precious possession
avoid strange men

Food: really good organic, mint tea with lots of sugar, couscous on Friday

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