Tracing North African American Diaspora in California

Posted on October 1st, 2011 by Med Studies Staff in Uncategorized

As part of its Maghrebi Studies Initiative, the Mediterranean Studies Forum at Stanford University is pleased to support Dr. Marie-Pierre Ulloa’s research project, “California Dreamin’: Tracing North African American Diaspora in California since 1956”. Focusing on everyday life, cultural politics, social networks and social imaginaries, Dr. Ulloa unpacks diverse trajectories and experiences of migration from the Maghreb to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area since the independence of Morocco (1956), Tunisia (1956), and Algeria (1962). Approaching the case through a historical, ethnographic, political and literary lens, she explores the influence of Maghrebi governments, U.S immigration policies, economic and educational motives, and socio-political developments on the formation of a Maghrebi Californian identity (or identities). The project builds on ethnographic interviews with first, second, and third-generation Californians from North Africa, an analysis of statistical data (e.g. 2010 California Population Totals, American Community Survey) and also an in-depth evaluation of activities and publications of various Californian organizations (e.g. Algerian-American Association of Northern California, Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, Techwadi), newspapers (e.g. Al-Jadid), cable/satellite TV services and websites connecting members of the North African American diaspora with each other and with their country of origin or of transit (e.g. France, Canada).

In addition to supporting Dr. Ulloa’s research project, our Maghrebi Studies Initiative will bring prominent scholars and practitioners to Stanford campus to speak about history, culture, and politics of Maghreb. During the 2011-12 academic year, we are co-sponsoring an event series, Negotiating French, Maghreb-French and Jewish Identities Through Literature and History, which  aims to offer on a more inclusive, rich, and complex perspective on the unique interplay between Jewish, French and/or Maghreb identities. Confirmed speakers for the series include Maurice Samuels (Yale University), Emanuela Trevisan Semi (Ca’ Foscari University, Italy) and Denis Cohen-Tannoudji (Société d’Histoire des Juifs de Tunisie). In 2012 Spring Quarter, the Mediterranean Studies Forum will organize a roundtable discussion about the current state and future of the Maghrebi Studies.

For more information about the Maghrebi Studies Initiative, please contact the Mediterranean Studies Office by email at or by phone at (650) 736 8169.

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