InterCcECT presents Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History, and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco

Through what processes of mediation, under what circumstances, down which paths of struggle, can colonialist iconography be appropriated for anti-colonial nationalism? What are the wages of the image for the work of sovereignty? Is photography trans-contextual?

InterCcECT is delighted to present Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco, a talk by Patricia Goldsworthy Bishop. Join us Thursday, 5 November, 7pm, at the arts & events space of our partners Sector 2237,2337 N Milwaukee Ave (Blue Line: California).

Talk Abstract:

Throughout the colonial era photographers such as Marcelin Flandrin, an Algerian pied-noir who settled in Morocco at the establishment of the protectorate, collaborated with the government and tourism boards to construct a European vision of North African society and history. Known as the photographer of Casablanca because of his heavy involvement with the Protectorate government, after independence Flandrin’s work was criticized for reproducing Orientalist stereotypes and supporting the colonizing mission. Since the 1980s, however, Moroccan cultural, educational, and financial institutions have reinterpreted Flandrin’s images in order to resituate the protectorate as a part of Moroccan, rather than French, history. This talk traces Flandrin’s transformation from an archetypal French colonial photographer to a part of Moroccan heritage through an analysis of Flandrin’s 1928 and 1956 publications on photographs of the city of Casablanca (Casablanca from 1889 to the Present) and their subsequent reprinting by Moroccan scholars in 1988 (Casablanca Retro). Through the reinterpretation of these images and the appropriation of Flandrin by Moroccans, we can see the process of writing, resisting, and revising history and the instrumental role played by imagery in this process in colonial and post-colonial Morocco.

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