The Jewish quarter or mellah was the physical and symbolic center for Jewish life in Morocco for centuries. Historians, anthropologists, and architectural historians have closely studied the mellah and its people in an effort to understand the role of the Jewish quarter as a historical “stage” for Jewish survival practices in the face of dire existential threats. Prof. Miller will concentrate on the trajectory of the mellah in the early 20th century, when its inner structure unraveled under the twin pressures of a European-induced modernity and the imposition of harsh racialist policies under the fascist Vichy regime (1940-44).
Susan Gilson Miller is a historian of North African and Mediterranean history, with a special interest in Jewish history. Her undergraduate degree in Modern European history is from Wellesley College. She has an MA degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in Modern Middle Eastern and North African History from the University of Michigan. She has taught at Wellesley College, Brandeis University, and from 1990 until 2008, at Harvard University, where she headed the Program in North African Studies. She is working on a new book tentatively entitled: The Making of Modern Morocco: 1820-2000 (Cambridge University Press), a study of contemporary Moroccan history in its global context.
Moderator: Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA)