My research aimsto studya travel narrativeabout Morocco in the 19th century.
The bookI have chosen to work on is “Travels in the Atlas and southern Morocco: anarrative of exploration” by Thomson, Joseph, 1858-1895. Myresearch is going tobeconcentrated on chapters about the city ofTangierin particular which wasconsidered the “gate” of Morocco, a place of diversity and coexistence between peoplefrom different religions and ethnicities, and where trade markets first flourished.I shall study how certain aspects have been describedto the reader from theauthor’s perspective,includinglandscapes and architecturein different cornersof the city,from the first time he has stepped into the city to when hewaswandering through the roads and narrating the landscape, culture,architecture, and lifestyle of Moroccans; division of ethnic groups and howeach group was represented either positively or negatively and the contextbehind every representation; women representation and the author’s curiosityand areas of focus on women’s bodies of different groupscompared with menrepresentation and their attitudes. These aspects were talked about andpresented by the author in interesting ways yet with a typical mode of writingthat is of the typical Western travel writer of the 19th century.Eachaspect was described in an unrestrained yet careful manner,mostly dedicated fora specific type of reader to seek their attention and interest on “the other”. I shall studythe gaze and discourse of theWesternwriter to recognize howthe West viewedMorocco and its culture during his journey which coincidedwith an importanttime in the history of the country, which was the epitome of diversity andcoexistence, where compromises began to be made with the West, as well astribal wars and chaos within the country and the development of internationalaffairs. To get a properanalysisand understanding of the text, the historical background of both the West and Moroccowill be included in my study as a guide toposition oneself in the place of boththe writerand the subject in order tounveil the hidden messages, the writer’s ideologies,and type of discourse depending on what was the West’s view on Morocco.
Thus,myresearch aims to set light on the stereotypical and demeaning perception on theOrient that was common in the pre-colonial periodandclaimed to be accurate inthe Western world.The book I amworking on in my research was written as a personal narration of exploration asclaimed by the writer when he visited various regions to experience and discoverthe lifestyle and condition of people, the roads, and most importantlylandscapes. He was supported and well equipped with a guide and a friend toaccompany him in his journey. The book has a few illustrations to support thewriter’s narration and to bring the reader a closer look of the author’sdiscoveries and claim authenticity to his representation.
They are mostlyphotographs taken from a distance showing specific scenarios and places like”souk” or a landscape as a stage in a way to supporthis representation. Historical context: The book waswritten in 1889, a time when Morocco was independent, but also at a period whencolonialism was spread on parts of the world, especially in Africa. JosephThomsontraveled privately to Morocco aftercontributing in various geographicaldocumentation about parts of theAfrican continent1which was an important task, supported by the British government that began totake interest in Africa along with other powerful Western nations.Indeed, in the Westernworld, thescience of adventure was common since the 17thcenturyandencouraged by the state to explore “the Orient at large as a phantasmagoricland of eroticism and romance” butthat shifted to a more geographically preciseMiddle East.2However,a gap was constructed between the West and the East in the age of imperialismand further developed onward. In the book I shall study, the author traveled aroundMorocco, a country with a special geographical and cultural identity; hevisited specific regions that were known to the his audience as well as remoteplaces to raise the reader’s expectations and pique their interest.
He documentedhis journey as if he was searching for a confirmation of previous texts aboutthe promises of the Oriental world and itsmysteries.However, the 19thcentury was an interesting period in Morocco, it was a period of trade developmentwith Europe and the beginning of the European influencethat lead to theeconomic and political penetration of Morocco3these changesaffected the social and economic structures. Another change wasthe crisis of the internally generated modernization effort which resulted inthe dismantling of the old administrative structures and the launching of aprogram of reforms which failed and lead to internal opposition4.While in theWest, it was a case of important scientific discoveries, technological power,and industrial revolutions which shifted the meaning of travel from science tocommerce. People were encouraged to travel thanks to the newly developed waysof transportation that started changing the purpose of travels and from then,tourism emerged and became the leading power of commerce5.Theoretical framework:I am going touse theories and tools to decipher andanalyze thebook tostudy aspects of rhetoricaldiscourse and the context in which it has been used, in addition, the practiceof idealization and recognizing the language of power, and Orientaliststereotypes.
My study about the Tangier chapters will be sectioned into thefollowing categories in the same order the writer has examined and represented.1https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Thomson(accessed on Saturday, December 16th 2017 at 9:40 pm) 2Travel writing, Form, and Empire: the Poetics and Politics ofMobility. Ed: Julia Kuehnand Paul Smethursrt.
Rutledge. 20093Nevill Barbour. MOROCCO.
THAMES AND HUDSON LTD LONDON 1965. (Page:125) 4Edmund, Burke, III. Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco, PreclinicalProtest and Resistance, 1860-1912. 1976.
5http://www.teachushistory.org/detocqueville-visit-united-states/articles/historical-background-traveling-early-19th-century(accessed on Mon, December 19th, 2017 at 6.17 pm)