Remembrance of things past: Leila Abouzeid and Moroccan national history

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National history is a site in which the interpretation of past events is constantly negotiated. National history is often used by national elites to justify and reinforce existing gender and class relations. Feminist authors, as part of their struggle to transform women's roles in their societies, sometimes choose to challenge dominant versions of the history and offer alternative versions of the national past. In this article, I look at the novella The Year of the Elephant, by Moroccan novelist and journalist Leila Abouzeid, as an attempt to reread and rewrite Moroccan national history from the margins, and as an endeavor to promote a feminist agenda. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)388-406
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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