Mirror of the Soul: Language, Islam, and Law in French Native Policy of Morocco (1912-1956)


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




French native policies in the Protectorate of Morocco (1912-1956) were debated, implemented, and reversed in part according to experiences in Algeria and West Africa. Policy was anchored in a distinction between two ethnolinguistic groups—Arab and Berber—with the former threatening and the latter potentially accommodating French interests. This project traces the development of native policy and its application in the rural customary courts that frustrated French attempts to dichotomize the Muslim population. It investigates French language ideologies—meaning beliefs about the inherent nature of language freighted with their political interests—to situate colonial administration in a comparative, global perspective.