Applications are being accepted for a unique six-week opportunity for teachers to study the culture, history, and tradition of Morocco. The program consists of studying Arabic and traveling throughout Morocco, as well as an opportunity to be part of an important musical/cultural festival in the picturesque coastal town of Essaouira.
This project will explore the history and culture of the Gnawa and in examining Gnawa music survey the cultural preservation movements in Morocco.
Funded by the US Department of Education, UCLA’s Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad “Preserving Traditions: The Gnawa of Morocco”* will explore the Gnawa and Gnawa music as an explicitly visible African heritage of Morocco underscoring the importance of preservation of tradition in a rapidly globalizing world. Morocco’s unique location at the gateway to Africa and Europe amidst the Arab world allows a unique opportunity to explore how ideas and people continually stream east and west, north and south. Program participants will be challenged to rethink their notions of what is ‘indigenous’ and question their perceptions of Africa and Morocco. They will experience the juxtaposition of the ancient and contemporary in a manner that will challenge ideas such as ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ and the notion that Africa is the ‘dark continent’. The project will enable participants to examine the intersection of cultures and traditions in a society that has been at the crossroads of east and west for millennia.
Project participants will be able to participate in the Gnawa Music Festival in Essaouira. It’s a four day festival which provides a platform for exchanges and a meeting point of music and dialogue between international artists and Gnawa musicians. Site visits will include the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, imperial cities of Meknes and Fés, UNESCO World Heritage site Roman ruins at Volubilis, Merzouga, the doorway to the Sahara, and visits to cooperatives such as the Argon Women’s Cooperative. The project will also partner with The Africa Channel to film and broadcast the project participants experience on “First Time Africa” a reality based series.
*Pending funding by the US Department of Education
For more info please contact:
African Studies Center
Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2013