Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


There are no prerequisites; however, students with a background in French will find ample opportunity for French language practice, while also learning both Moroccan and Modern Standard Arabic.

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Through the interdisciplinary coursework outlined below, students explore Moroccan society and culture, Arabic language, field research methodology, and independent research. The Multiculturalism and Human Rights in the Context of the Arab Spring course is divided into three components, each of which is coordinated by one or two scholars specialized in the field under question. Lecturers of renown as well as politicians and civil society activists are invited to talk to the students as part of this course. Intensive Arabic instruction is provided for students at many levels allowing all students to understand the culture more deeply. 
The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Multiculturalism and Human Rights in the Context of the Arab Spring - syllabus (PDF)
(AFRS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course aims to introduce students to the major current debates in Morocco on the question of multiculturalism and human rights. The course focuses on the new political, cultural, and transnational context in the wake of the Arab Spring. The social revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East have led the Moroccan state to accelerate the pace of reforms. In July 2011, in a constitutional referendum, the people approved a new constitution that acknowledges Morocco’s cultural diversity and institutionalizes the state’s commitment to the respect and promotion of human rights and individual liberties. 

The course engages students in debates with Moroccan academics, artists, civil society activists, and policy makers, on the development of a multicultural society in which Amazighi language and identity, Andalusian customs and traditions, sub-Saharan cultural roots and ethnicities, and Arab linguistic and religious mapping are equally celebrated in the public sphere. The course is divided into four main modules: History and Institutions of Human Rights in Morocco; Gender and Religion in Morocco, Post-Arab Spring; Multiculturalism and Social Movements; and Cultural Representations and the Arts.

The objective is to facilitate forums to present and discuss a diversity of approaches, artistic and aesthetic schools, intellectual backgrounds, and political positions involved in the construction of Moroccan cultural identity and politics. Areas to be covered tackle the dynamics of Moroccan culture and society through an examination of manifestations of nationality, power, ideology, gender, class, ethnicity, and development. Overall, the approach of this course is multi-disciplinary, giving priority to understanding the multifaceted complexity of the questions raised. Its aim is to allow both the speakers and the students the freedom to relate the issues at hand through not only the readings but also through individual experiences and stories encountered in daily life and the challenging learning process across cultural boundaries.

Intensive Language Study: Beginning Arabic - syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 1000 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Arabic - syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 2000 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Advanced Arabic - syllabus (PDF)
(ARAB 3000 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking, reading, and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, students are placed in intensive beginning or intermediate classes, with further language practice of spoken Moroccan Arabic (darija) in homestays, lectures, and field visits. Moroccan Arabic  and Arabic calligraphy are also part of the course.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course is designed to provide firsthand and experiential knowledge about the richness and challenges of conducting field study in Morocco. It provides the necessary conceptual and methodological thread that enables the student to learn from experience, to apply the knowledge and skills gained in language study and the thematic course, and to prepare the student to undertake field study in Morocco in strict observance of research procedure involving human subjects and the regulatory ethical norms defined by the Institutional Review Board. At the end of the course, the student should have the cultural understanding and the methodological tools to successfully complete their Independent Study Project. The course is also designed to answer specific concerns which the research on human rights generally raises. Multiculturalism and human rights involve minority groups, former political prisoners, families of victims of torture, policy makers, and international human rights organizations. The lectures address issues that pertain to research methods, confidentiality and anonymity of informants, data gathering and interviewing, and the safety and psychology of minority groups and victims of repressive systems. Individual meetings are scheduled throughout the course and aim to address research objectives and the expectations of each student.

Independent Study Project -syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Rabat or in another approved location appropriate to the project in Morocco. The Independent Study Project (ISP) offers students the opportunity to undertake significant, specific, and individualized independent study; students apply the concepts and skills of experience-based learning articulated and learned in all other program components. Although the ISP is largely conducted during the last four weeks of the program, considerable planning and preparation for the ISP is done throughout the term. The Research Methods and Ethics course addresses concepts and rationale, methods and techniques, and evaluation of field study, all designed to introduce the student to the general background of field study and to assist them with ISPs that will be of interest to them and relevant to the program theme. The actual fieldwork for the ISP begins with the ISP preparation sessions and individual sessions on resource search and identification of appropriate contacts and resources.

Sample topic areas include: international and local nongovernmental human rights organizations in Morocco: cooperation and activism; inheritance rights and Itjihad in Morocco’s modern society; childbirth in rural Morocco; Sufi poetry; the politics of expression among women in rural Morocco; the culture of volunteering in Muslim countries; code-switching and multilingualism in Moroccan music; fiction and the Moroccan Jewish community.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Rabat

Language Study: Arabic

Prerequisites: None; however, students with a background in French will have opportunities for French language practice while also learning Moroccan and Modern Standard Arabic. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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