Becky L. Schulthies, "Channeling Moroccanness: Language and the Media of Sociality" (Fordham UP, 2020)


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What does it mean to connect as a people through mass media? This book approaches that question by exploring how Moroccans engage communicative failure as they seek to shape social and political relations in urban Fez. Over the last decade, laments of language and media failure in Fez have focused not just on social relations that used to be and have been lost but also on what ought to be and had yet to be realized. Such laments have transpired in a range of communication channels, from objects such as devotional prayer beads and remote controls; to interactional forms such as storytelling, dress styles, and orthography; to media platforms like television news, religious stations, or WhatsApp group chats.

Channeling Moroccanness: Language and the Media of Sociality (Fordham UP, 2020) examines these laments as ways of speaking that created Moroccanness, the feeling of participating in the ongoing formations of Moroccan relationality. Rather than furthering the discourse about Morocco’s conflict between liberal secularists and religious conservatives, this ethnography shows the subtle range of ideologies and practices evoked in Fassi homes to calibrate Moroccan sociality and political consciousness.

Dr. Becky Schulthies is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She is trained as a linguistic anthropologist, with areas of interest including Arabic language ideologies, graphic sensibilities, social media discourse, and, more recently, human- plant semiotic ideologies. She has previously coedited, with Donna Lee Bowen and Evelyn Early, the third edition of Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).

Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub.

Fatima Tariq co-hosted the episode. She is a masters' student in Near Eastern Studies at NYU. Fatima is interested in translation studies, Arabic pedagogy, and decolonial thought. She is an ambivalent linguistic anthropologist and an aspiring Arabic-English literary translator.

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