The beginning (or end) of Moroccan history: Historiography, translation, and modernity in Ahmad B. Khalid Al-Nasiri and Clemente Cerdeira

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Abstract

This article analyzes two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859-60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context. The first text is Ahmad b. Khalid al-Nasiri's Kitab al-Istiqsa (1895), which explores the organization of the Spanish army in an effort to understand the military technology and state apparatus behind colonial domination. The second text, Clemente Cerdeira's Versión árabe de la Guerra de África (1917), is framed as an annotated Spanish translation of al-Nasiri's text, but Cerdeira suppresses key passages from al-Nasiri's account in order to undermine any hint that the Moroccan historian's thinking is reformist or modern. By comparing these two accounts of the same war, the article aims to situate al-Nasiri's text within the reform movements that spread through the Muslim Mediterranean in the 19th century and to use al-Nasiri's historical thinking as a model for theorizing Moroccan modernity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-420
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

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modernity
historiography
history
military engineering
reform movement
domination
military
historian
Muslim
organization
Modernity
Historiography
History
Colonies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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title = "The beginning (or end) of Moroccan history: Historiography, translation, and modernity in Ahmad B. Khalid Al-Nasiri and Clemente Cerdeira",
abstract = "This article analyzes two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859-60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context. The first text is Ahmad b. Khalid al-Nasiri's Kitab al-Istiqsa (1895), which explores the organization of the Spanish army in an effort to understand the military technology and state apparatus behind colonial domination. The second text, Clemente Cerdeira's Versi{\'o}n {\'a}rabe de la Guerra de {\'A}frica (1917), is framed as an annotated Spanish translation of al-Nasiri's text, but Cerdeira suppresses key passages from al-Nasiri's account in order to undermine any hint that the Moroccan historian's thinking is reformist or modern. By comparing these two accounts of the same war, the article aims to situate al-Nasiri's text within the reform movements that spread through the Muslim Mediterranean in the 19th century and to use al-Nasiri's historical thinking as a model for theorizing Moroccan modernity.",
author = "Eric Calderwood",
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