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Identity and Belonging in Spanish-Moroccan Literature

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis examines literature written in Spanish by Moroccan authors and Spanish
authors with a Moroccan background. It includes the study of literature produced in
colonial and post-colonial Morocco, as well as that which was produced in Spain after
the first migration flux of the late 1980s. The thesis is in three parts. The first
considers the influence, impact and heritage left by the Spaniards during their time in
Spanish Morocco (1912-1956). It examines how the Protectorate cultivated in
Moroccans a sense of belonging in respect of the Hispanic world and how this is
reflected and eventually challenged in local literature. A central motif in this period is
Al-Andalús, which helped create an imaginary homeland for Moroccans that
transcended national borders. The second part turns its attention to matters of postcolonial
identity. Covering the period from the moment of Moroccan independence in
1956 until the present, it examines writers’ need to reclaim a specifically Arab
identity in the wake of their colonial past. In this context, we consider how writers
negotiate notions such as modernity and tradition, and how the sense of identity
which they convey in their work is informed by or defined against social, cultural and
political realities, especially in the treatment of sex and sexuality. The third and final
part of the thesis investigates the period from 1990 onwards, which corresponds to
possibly the most productive time for literature written by Moroccans in Spanish (or
indeed Catalan, since Catalonia was the destination for many migrants in the 1980s).
Considering the literature produced both by Moroccans who had settled in Spain and
those still writing from Morocco and from the Spanish enclaves, it explores the
dominant themes of the time, such as immigration, double identities, cultural betrayal
and belonging, with a view to understanding how writers assert their multiple identities through their work and against the background of misconceptions about
what it means to be Spanish or Moroccan or both.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date2018


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