Call for Papers

Performing Tangier 2008
Borders, Beats, and Beyond

Tangier, Morocco
Chellah Hotel
May 16, 17, 18, 19, 2008

Organized by

  • International Center for Performance Studies, Morocco
  • Research Group of Performance Studies, Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Morocco
  • University of London Institute in Paris
  • Middle East Center, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
  • Department of European Languages University of Wales, Aberysthwith, UK

The fourth international Tangier conference will focus on the city as a site of trans-cultural encounters in art, literature, music, and politics in all periods up through the present and projecting into the future. We especially invite papers and panels to investigate the dynamics of the city’s cultural, spatial, and performative interactions, past, present, and future, including issues of change, confrontation, and alterity. We also invite a continuation of panels and discussions begun in previous conferences – following the methods and techniques of Juan Goytisolo’s as well as Andrew Hussey’s creative deconstruction of the urban morphology of Paris – of how Tangier might be re-invented as one of the World capitals of the twenty-first century. In broad historical terms we invite continuing evaluation of specific writers and artists who have come to or out of Tangier, from Tahar Ben Jelloun, Mohamed Choukri, Mohammed Azeddine Tazi, Ahmed Beroho, Souad Bahechar, Moumen Smihi, Farida Belyazid, Anouar Majid, Jillali Farhati, Zobeir Ben Bouchta, to Mohammed Mrabet and including the oral tradition some of whose storytellers and artists who were translated by Paul Bowles, as well as modernist painters like Matisse, existentialist writers such as Bowles, dramatists of various stripes such as Jean Genet and the brilliant minimalist Samuel Beckett, “Beats” such as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, and others, as well as more general movements associated with the various African, Andalusian or Islamic influences on western music in general and more particularly on American jazz and blues like the outstanding collaborations of Dar Gnawa in Tangier with Jazz legend Randy Weston. Our perspectives and horizons are all-inclusive.

Papers may focus on particular figures, paintings, films, performances, fictional texts or non-fiction, salient theoretical concerns, or historical and cultural issues. Creative, performative responses to the topic are also welcome. From this starting point, further papers and panels are invited to investigate the dynamics of the city’s cultural, spatial and performative interactions from past, present, and future.

Two Panel Sessions proposed by Prof. Dr. Allen Hibbard

Middle East Center, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

Building on three previous conferences (“Writing Tangier,” “Voices of Tangier,” and “Performing/Picturing Tangier”), the proposed panels will explore the intriguing historical relationship between Beat figures and Tangier. Interest in the Beats has remained lively, both in the academy and the general public. The term “beat,” Jack Kerouac once noted, meant “characters of special spirituality who didn’t gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization.” One critic has recently described the term as characterizing “an alternative America during the civil rights and Asian war years, a counter to philistinism and paranoia and part of an ongoing inquiry into the construction of nationhood.” It’s not unusual to find among American youth today a kind of nostalgia for the Beats and their times.

While the importance of Tangier for many Beat figures has always been recognized, the nature of the city’s role has not been thoroughly understood and articulated. Paul Bowles who had taken up residence in Tangier soon after World War II ended, unwittingly attracted a number of Beat figures to the city, even though his aesthetic vision stands in contrast to that of most of the Beats. In Tangier William S. Burroughs (with the help of Allen Ginsberg) assembled his masterpiece Naked Lunch. Brion Gysin, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac and others associated with the Beats made appearances in the city. Tangier also was a magnet for “late beats” such as Ira Cohen, Marc Schleiffer, Irving Rosenthal, Charles Wright, and Alfred Chester.

Bringing a discussion of the Beats to Tangier will likely reorient our thinking about this literary/cultural phenomenon, opening fresh approaches, critiques, and insights. Among the topics that might productively be addressed in this context are: the effect of Beats on Tangier, the Beat legacy in Tangier, interaction between particular Moroccans and the Beats, the Beats within the context of Moroccan independence, Tangier and the Beats within the context of American politics in the 50s, women’s roles (or lack thereof), and the place of the Beats within a wider historical context of Moroccan-American-European relations. Papers may focus on particular figures or texts, salient theoretical concerns, or historical/cultural issues. Creative, more performative responses to the topic are also welcome. Papers are thus invited to investigate the limits of this paradigm in theoretical and real, experiential terms.

Languages: Arabic, Tamazight, French, Spanish, and English. Abstracts are due by 31 December 2007 and should be submitted via e-mail to the conveners of the conference. Final papers are due by 30 March 2008:

Committee Members:

  • Khalid Amine (Coordinator), Research Group of Performance Studies, Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Tétouan & International Center for Performance Studies, Morocco
  • Andrew Hussey, University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP),
  • Allen Hibard, Middle Tennessee State University, USA,
  • Barry Tharaud, San Diego State University, U.S.A. and Doğuş University, İstanbul,
  • José Manuel Goï Pérez, Department of European Languages, University of Wales, Aberystwyth,
  • Alfred Hackensberger, Poet, Germany/Morocco,
  • George F. Roberson, Geography Human Dimensions Research Group, University of MassachusettsAmherst, USA,

This annual international conference is organized in collaboration with The Embassy of The United States in Rabat, Instituto Cervantes (Tangier), La Ville de Tanger …

Registration Fee: $75 payable upon arrival. It includes 3 gala dinners, poster, and three books of published proceedings from the previous conferences.

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