Research and Opportunities
The NAMES program at Al Akhawayn is ideally located in the Middle Atlas of Morocco, offering a wide variety of resources and opportunities for conducting research.
Resources, Libraries, and Archives for Research
Graduate students in NAMES benefit from the rich collection of both print and electronic Maghrib-related resources at Al Akhawayn’s Mohamed VI Library. Our collections of primary and secondary printed materials on the Maghrib region are extensive. Beyond the limits of the campus, the Middle Atlas and surrounding regions offer many nearby opportunities for graduate students conducting original research. These include institutional archives, private and public libraries and research institutes:
- Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (Rabat)
- Archives du Maroc (Rabat)
- Mohamed V University library and research communities (Rabat)
- The regional offices of UNDP, UNHRC, UNICEF, and a number of other international research organizations specializing in development, migration, and cultural preservation (Rabat, Casablanca, Tangiers)
- Numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the nearby medieval cities of Fes and Meknes
- Centre Jacques-Berque, research institute (Rabat)
- Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Rabat)
- Qarawiyin Library (Fes)
- The American Legation Museum [and archive] (Tangiers)
- Fondation du Roi Abdul-Aziz Al Saoud (Casablanca)
- Many regional family-owned or zawiya-associated manuscript libraries and archives
Potential Sites for Fieldwork
In addition to libraries and archives, the Middle Atlas region has a rich variety of sites for students to conduct fieldwork in specializations including anthropology, history, political science, geography, archaeology, migration studies, and gender studies. Potential field sites for research are found throughout the Middle Atlas region around Ifrane, offering opportunities for fieldwork in Arabic, Tamazight, French, and English. These include famous research sites like the town of Sefrou, where Clifford Geertz carried out his anthropological work in Morocco that later informed his Islam Observed (1971) and the village of Zawiya Ahansal, where Ernest Gellner did the fieldwork for his Saints of the Atlas (1969). The region also has easy access to research field sites for students in the pre-Sahara and Sahara and the medieval medinas of Fes and Meknes. At the same time, both major metropolitan centers and rural villages in the region also offer students opportunities to study topics as diverse as trans-saharan migrant communities, womens’ cooperatives, eco-tourism, French colonial architecture, and Sufi tariqas.
Finally, the town of Ifrane itself offers numerous opportunities for research. As NAMES-affiliated professor Dr. Eric Ross has written, the town, "is the product of the society and historical processes which created it. Ifrane is a colonial-hill station, a garden-city, an imperial city, a tourist resort, a provincial administrative center, and a US-style college-town".
(see his study of Ifrane here)