Morocco’s colonial mutation of Arab Jewishness in the 20th century, the case of Elie Malka

David Guedj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research on Arab Jewishness in the Middle East has developed in recent years across the disciplines of cultural and intellectual history and cultural studies. In this article, I present a unique Arab Jewishness, as expressed in North-African Jewish communities during the colonial period, through the case of Elie Malka, ethnographer, interpreter, legal expert and lexicographer from Morocco. The article discusses Malka’s overall endeavour and shows the centrality of Arabic language and culture in it. Malka conducted linguistic, ethnographic and legal studies, translated Latin-language texts into Arabic and Judeo-Arabic and vice versa, edited French-Arabic dictionaries, and taught Arabic to certain Jewish community sectors. I posit that Malka’s Arab Jewishness was unlike the Arab Jewishness that developed organically in the Middle East, but rather constituted a mutation within the general colonial mutation that evolved in North Africa.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.


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