Landscape and Identity in Medieval Morocco


Landscape and Identity in Medieval Morocco   

In this podcast, Dr. Abbey Stockstill asks the question why does Marrakesh look the way that it does? The 'Red City' is the topic of her forthcoming book, in which she discusses the medieval city’s relationship with its founding dynasties, the local landscape, and Berber politics in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. As the notion of what it meant to be 'Berber' was being defined, the city of Marrakesh emerged as a metropolis that actively engaged the multivalent identities of Almoravids and Almohad dynasties. Rather than taking individual monuments in isolation, Dr. Stockstill’s work looks at how those monuments worked with each other and the local landscape to create a stage for these identities to be expressed. What emerges is a city that is both paradigmatic in its structure, yet innovative in its social and historical context.

Dr. Abbey Stockstill received her Ph.D. in the History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University (2018), and is currently an assistant professor of Islamic art and architecture at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She has contributed essays to academic journals such as Muqarnas and Hésperis-Tamuda, as well as to a number of edited volumes. She is also an assistant editor for the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, and serves on various committees within the International Center for Medieval Art and the Historians of Islamic Art Association


This episode was recorded on July 21st, 2022 at the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM)

Download the Podcast:  Feed iTunes / Podbean

Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Readings

Bennison, Amira K. 2016. The Almoravid and Almohad EmpiresEdinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Falahat, Somaiyeh. 2018. Cities and Metaphors: Beyond Imaginaries of Islamic Urban SpaceNew York: Routledge.

Ghouirgate , Mehdi. 2014.  L’Ordre Almohade (1120-1269). Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Midi.

Ramzi, Rouighi. 2019. "Inventing the Berbers: History and Ideology in the Maghrib". International Journal of Middle East Studies 53(4): 714-716.

Ruggles, D. F. 2008. Gardens, Landscape, & Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Stockstill, Abbey Parker. 2020. “From the Kutubiyya to Tinmal: The Sacred Direction in Mu’minid Performance," in A. Hilâl Ugurlu and Suzan Yalman, Eds. The Friday Mosque in the City: Liminality, Ritual, and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Stockstill, Abbey Parker. 2018. The Mountains, the Mosque, & the Red City: ʿAbd Al-Muʾmin and the Almohad Legacy in Marrakesh. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.