Title of PhD project: “Imagined Marrakesh in the Postcolonial Transition: Space and Power in Western Expatriate Literature”
(hosted by: Elisabeth Bekers & Janine Hauthal)
Ezzahra Benlahoussine holds an MA in Cultural Studies and is currently a doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at Mohamed V University in Rabat, Morocco. Ezzahra has just arrived in Brussels where she will be a visiting PhD researcher at the VUB Doctoral School of Human Sciences (DSH). She is the recipient of an Erasmus+ scholarship for the second time; her first scholarship landed her at Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai (Romania), where she studied for one semester in the British Cultural Studies Master program. Ezzahra’s doctoral dissertation is entitled: “Imagined Marrakesh in the Postcolonial Transition: Space and Power in Western Expatriate Literature”. The project explores the fiction, narratives and essays of Western writers who, across different periods of time, attempted to write the Moroccan ‘city of God,’ Marrakech, as an “elsewhere”. Marrakesh, the land of god, eulogized and romanticized by many of its visitors, is long famed as a cosmopolitan city that has attracted numerous writers and artists from all over the world, including Juan Goytisolo, Elias Canetti, George Orwell, Esther Freud, Leonora Peets and Claude Ollier, to name but some. This project examines, from a postcolonial perspective, how these writings negotiate, represent and respond to the Marrakeshi cultural landscape. It delves into the thematic and formal particularities of the different authors’ literary imaginations of Marrakesh.