New Books Network

David Stenner

Globalizing Morocco

Transnational Activism and the Postcolonial State

Stanford University Press 2019

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & Society July 29, 2019 Zeb Larson

The story of Morocco’s independence struggle against France and Spain is a complicated one. Because it occurred around the same time of the long-running...

The story of Morocco’s independence struggle against France and Spain is a complicated one. Because it occurred around the same time of the long-running war for independence in Algeria, it has received greater scholarly attention. Moreover, Morocco’s continuing alignment with both the United States and France after 1956 has deemphasized Morocco’s importance, compared to more radical anti-colonial states such as Ghana, Guinea, or Tanzania. Lastly, the sultan’s own popularity within his country and the survival of the monarchy today meant that the independence struggle has often been understood through his personality specifically.

David Stenner’s Globalizing Morocco: Transnational Activism and the Postcolonial State (Stanford University Press, 2019) enriches our understanding of Morocco’s nationalist movement. Stenner examines a collection of previously poorly-studied activists whose work began in the international zone in Morocco and then filtered out into the Arab world, France, and to the United States. Stenner shows how this was accomplished, namely via a decentralized system of activists who worked to win over sympathizers and transform them into allies. One consequence of this was that it was highly effective: Morocco became a global issue for a time, even amidst the competing issues of the early Cold War. At the same time, this approach had a number of weaknesses. The fact that it was decentralized and had no hierarchies also made it relatively easy to co-opt, and many important activists found themselves sidelined in the period after independence.


Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to zeb.larson@gmail.com.