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Aomar Boum

Associate Professor & Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies

Contact Information

Email    aboum@anthro.ucla.edu
Office  311 Haines
Phone  310-825-9516
I am a socio-cultural anthropologist with a historical bent concerned with the social and cultural representation of and political discourse about religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa.

My ethnographic work engages many cultural, social, political and academic taboos in the Middle East and North Africa region including the place of religious minorities such as Jews, Baha’is, Shias and Christians in post-independence nation states.

My multi-disciplinary background and academic experience are at the intersections of Middle Eastern and North African studies, Islamic studies, Religious studies, African studies and Jewish studies. I have written on different topics such as Moroccan Jewish historiography, Islamic archives and manuscripts, education, music, youth, and sports among other things. Much of my work has focused on the anthropology of Jewish-Muslim relations in an age of communal violence especially generational Muslims’ memories of Moroccan Jews through ethnographic studying down and up strategies.

I am currently working on two ethnographic and historically grounded projects: The monarchy, Jews and Holocaust politics in Morocco, 1930s-Present and Virtual Jews: an Ethnography of Moroccan Jews Online.


Ph.D., University of Arizona (2006)


2013 Residential Fellowship, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Washington, District of Columbia.

2009 Awarded ‘Teach Morocco” Grant for Summer 2010 to take 15 school social studies teachers from Arizona and other states to travel to Morocco for curriculum design.

2007 (June-September) Residential Fellowship, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Washington, District of Columbia.

Selected Publications


2013 Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.



2014 Partners Against Anti-Semitism: Muslims and Jews Respond to Nazism in French North African Colonies, 1936-1940. The Journal of North African Studies 19(14):550-570.

2014 “The Virtual Genizah:” Emerging North African Jewish and Muslim Identities Online. International Journal of Middle East Studies 46(3):597-601.

2013 Shoot-outs for the Nation: Football and Politics in Post-Colonial Algerian-Moroccan Relations. Soccer and Society 14(4):548-564.

2012 The ‘Jewish Question’ in Postcolonial Moroccan Cinema.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44(3):421-442. (co-authored with Oren Kosansky).

2012 Festivalizing Dissent in Morocco. Middle East Report 263(summer): 22-25

2012 The Performance of ‘Convivencia’: Communities of Tolerance and the Reification of Toleration. Religion Compass 6(3):174-184.

2012 ‘Sacred Week’: Re-Experiencing Jewish-Muslim Co-existence in Urban Moroccan Space. In Sharing the Sacra: The Politics and Pragmatics of Inter-communal Relations around Holy Places, Glenn Bowman, ed. pp. 139-155. UK: Berghahn Books. 

2012 Youth, Political Activism and the Festivalization of Hip-hop Music in Morocco. In Contemporary Morocco: State, Politics and Society under Mohammed VI, Daniel Zisenwine and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, eds., pp. 161-177. London: Routledge.

2011 “Southern Moroccan Jewry between the Colonial Manufacture of Knowledge and the Postcolonial Historiographical Silence. In Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, Emily Gottreich and Daniel Schroeter, eds, pp. 73-92. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

2011 Saharan Jewry: History, Memory and Imagined Identity. The Journal of North African Studies 16(3): 325-341.

2010 The Plastic Eye: The Politics of Jewish Representation in Moroccan Museums. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 75(1):49-77.

2010 From ‘Little Jerusalems’ to the Promised Land: Zionism, Moroccan Nationalism and Rural Jewish Emigration. The Journal of North African Studies 15(1):51-69.

2010 Schooling in the Bled: Jewish Education and the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Southern Rural Morocco, 1830-1962. Journal of Jewish Identities 3(1):1-24.

2008  The Political Coherence of Educational Incoherence: The Consequences of Educational Specialization in a Southern Moroccan Community. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 39(2):205-223.


Ethnic and religious minorities; Islam; anthropology of religion, history, youth, and festival; sociology of Morocco; historiography; Morocco; North Africa; sub-Saharan Africa; Middle East