Reflections from Morocco on the Arab Spring

Publication Date: 
June 2011
Trajectories, Spring 2011, Vol. 22

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I have been ensconced this academic year in a small town nestled in the cedar forests of Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains finishing a book manuscript. The book explores how European colonial intervention remapped the political ecosystem of North Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries, expanding state control to an unprecedented extent and transforming the political, economic, and social context in which collective identity is imagined in the region. Since January, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution and the subsequent flowering of the “Arab Spring” have transformed the entire landscape about which I have been writing. Over the past four months, incumbent regimes from Morocco to Bahrain have been shaken by actual or potential mass protests for democratic reform. The current revolutionary wave threatens to reconfigure a state system consolidated in the wake of post-World War II de-colonization.