Voices from the margins: genered images of 'Otherness' in colonial Morocco

Maria Dolors Garcia-Ramon, Abel Albet-Mas, Joan Nogue-Font, Lluís Riudor-Gorgas

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21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The main goal of this essay is to study a book - El Marroc sensual i fanatic - of travel writings writtem by a Catalan woman traveller, and to put it within the context of the recent scholarship that relates, on the one hand, travel narrative with orientalism and gender an, on the other, geography and colonialism. The contradictory nature of the contents of the book leads us to challenge the notion of simple 'Othering' as presented in Said's works where the heterogeneity of colonial power is neglected in a totalising dichotomy between the colonising Self and the colonising Other. The contemporary Spanish official discourse was indeed pro-colonial and paternalistic and often drew on notions of shared history and geographical proximity in order to legitimise on 'altrustic' colonial presence. The author's position is very difficult from this official discourse, but is deeply ambivalent. Her ambivalence arises from her gender which allows her to live the last Spanish colonial adventure as an outside, and also from the positioning in Spanish politics. The confrontation between different cultures and traditions is sharply delineated in her accounts on Moroccan women, the primary aim of her travel. The (cultural) impermeability of the Others, with whom she would like to identity deeply, yet with whom she cannot really communicate, forces her to construct her own vision of the identity of these Others, projecting her own view of (Western) feminism. The essay demonstrates the importance of focusing on narratives that come from the margins (and particularly from female authors). These provide new perspectives which can destablise established conceptions of the colonial relationship and, at the same time they can broaden the conceptual and factual history of our disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-240
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998

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