Anthropologists have studied cemeteries as sites where rituals of mourning take place without ignoring that they are also places where individuals and communities construct meaningful personal memories. In Morocco, Jewish cemeteries continue to be places that connect the Moroccan Jewish diaspora to its homeland. Jewish cemeteries and their shrines in rural and urban environments have enabled the state and local Muslim populations to build new relationships with Moroccan Jews. As the number of Jews in Morocco continues to decrease since the last decades of the 20th century, a generation of Moroccan Muslims has created a form of Jewish-Muslim cooperation as caretakers of cemeteries. Boum will explain how Moroccan authorities implemented conservation programs of Jewish heritage spaces and how Jewish-Muslim relations acquired new meanings grounded in Jewish history.
Aomar Boum (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. His anthropological research focuses on the social and cultural representation of and political discourse about religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. He is interested in the place of religious minorities such as Jews, Bahá’is, Shi‘a, and Christians in post-independence Middle Eastern and North African nation states.