Amazigh Identity 101

In next month's show we'll discuss the identity, history and culture of the Berbers, an ethnic minority in North Africa. The Berbers, or Amazigh, as they prefer to be called, trace their origins back thousands of years. Throughout their long history, the Amazigh have alternately accepted and rejected new political regimes, religious beliefs, and cultural norms—all the while maintaining a coherent Amazigh identity.
If you'd like to do some homework before the next episode, here are some sources to get you started: — A quick primer on Berber culture and history.
Ben-Layashi, Samir. "Secularism in the Moroccan Amazigh Discourse." The Journal of North African Studies 12 (2007): 153-171.

Goodman, Jane E. "Writing Empire, Underwriting Nation: Discursive Histories of Kabyle Berber Oral Texts." American Ethnologist 29 (2002): 86-122.
Gross, Joan E. and David A. McMurray. "Berber Origins and the Politics of Ethnicity in Colonial North African Discourse." PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 16 (1993): 39-58.
Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce. The Berber Identity Movement and the Challenge to North African States. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.
Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce. "The Berber Awakening." The American Interest 6 (2011): 29-35.
Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce. "Ethno-politics and Globalization in North Africa: The Berber Culture Movement." The Journal of North African Studies 11 (2006): 71-83.

Shoshi Shmuluvitz

Diwaniyya Contributor

1 comment:

  1. It is indeed with great pleasure that I announce the forthcoming publication of my third book, on August 15th, 2011, titled “Tazz’unt, Ritual, Ecology and Social Order in the Tessawt Valley of the High Atlas of Morocco.” I designed the book which was produced by Xlibris with beautiful photography by French Moroccan architects Olivier and Anne Fougerat. In addition to documenting social structures, Tazz’unt depicts the everyday life of Imazighen in the High Atlas of Morocco, describing one of their major ritual, with an analysis of the meaning of this ritual and the help of poems collected in that valley.
    The book will be published both in hard and soft cover format. It is based on anthropological research spanning several decades of the history of Morocco, from the era of Protectorate Days (1912-1956) to the contemporary Amazigh movement of North Africa. I first conceived and wrote this book as a Spring paper for the Department of Anthropology of Stanford University in 1982; I recently updated and embellished it with the spectacular photography provided by two remarkable individuals who visited the Tessawt Valley in the spring of 1984, Olivier and Anne Fougerat. They traveled through the Atlas Mountains with an expedition led by one of their friends, who is one of the most prominent Amazigh militant personalities of our time, as well as a poet and an artist, Mr. Mahjoubi Aherdan. French Moroccan born Olivier Fougerat and his spouse Anne have themselves contributed enormously to the publication of Amazigh literature over the years in Morocco, through several reviews. It is a rare privilege and an honor indeed to combine an anthropological essay based on my own research with their extraordinary photographic record of Amazigh life in the High Atlas of Morocco, and, as an immigrant to America, to produce this book in the English language. It is a unique book and collaboration in the production of Amazigh literature in the U.S.
    Tazz’unt will be sold at the bookstore of, and made available to the public through the web site of In a few weeks, I will also introduce a new web site for the book. It can also be obtained by contacting me, the author, Helene E. Hagan, at I will autograph each copy that is requested from me. I strongly believe that this book belongs on the shelves of university and public libraries across the US. I encourage each one and all to recommend it to their favorite library, on or off campus, as well as to the bookstore(s) of their choice. I am looking forward to your comments on this latest effort on my part to disseminate aspects of the North African Amazigh culture in the English language. Do not hesitate to write to me.

    TITLE: TAZZ’UNT, Ritual, Ecology and Social order in the Tessawt Valley of the High Atlas of Morocco, Xlbris, 2011, 130 pages – web site:
    AUTHOR: Helene E. Hagan - President, Tazzla Institute , web site –
    Phone : (818) 953-9245 - e-mail: