Susan Slyomovics


Susan Slyomovics

Distinguished Professor

Office: 312 Haines Hall


Phone: 310-206-3702

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Research Interests:

Gender; human rights; folklore and material culture; visual anthropology; Middle East and North Africa


Sociocultural Anthropology



Fatna ElBouih: Talk of Darkness, Human Rights in Morocco. A public reading and lecture at UCLA, March 10, 2009. watch video

A Thousand and One Nights: Oral Epic Performance The Tale of Anas al-Wujud and al-Ward fi-l-Akmam. An Oral Performance by Awadallah Abd al-Jalil Ali. watch video

A Thousand and One Nights: The Merchant of Art Supplementary media for the UCLA course: A Thousand and One Nights Alf Layla wa-Layla, taught by Prof. Susan Slyomovics. watch video


2022. Co-editor. Race, Place, Trace: Essays in Honour of Patrick Wolfe. London: Verso.

2019. Co-editor. L’inévitable prison / The Inevitable Prison, special issue of l’Année du Maghreb, vol. 20. Aix-en-Provence: MMSH.

2014. How to Accept German Reparations. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2013. Co-editor. Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millenium. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2010. Editor. Clifford Geertz in Morocco. Routledge.

2008. Co-editor. Waging War and Making Peace: Reparations and Human Rights. Left Coast Press.

2008. Co-translator (Arabic). Fatna El Bouih, Talk of Darkness. University of Texas Press.

2005. The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2001. Editor. The Living Medina in the Maghrib: The Walled Arab City in Literature, Architecture, and History. London: Frank Cass.

2001. Co-editor. Women and Power in the Middle East. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

1998. The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

1987. The Merchant of Art: An Egyptian Hilali Oral Epic Poet in Performance. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Selected Journal Articles and Chapters in Books

2021. The Algerian Jewish Woman (La Juive d’Alger): Charles Cordier and Ethnographic Sculpture. Hespéris-Tamuda, « Historical Essays in Honor of Mohamed Kenbib » vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 133-159.

2021. Repairing Colonial Symmetry: Algerian Archive Restitution as Reparation for Crimes of Colonialism? In Time for Reparations: A Global Perspective, edited by Jacqueline Bhabha, Margareta Matache, and Caroline Elkins.  Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, pp. 201-218.

2021. New Moroccan Publics: Prisons, Cemeteries and Human Remains. In Knowledge, Authority and Change in Muslim Societies: Studies in Honor of Dale F. Eickelman, edited by Nadav Samin and Alan Fromherz. Leiden: Brill, pp. 125-156.

2021. On the Wings of the Gallic Cockerel: Ahmed Benyahia and the Provenance of an Algerian Public Sculpture. In Reframing Postcolonial Studies: Concepts – Methodologies – Scholarly Activisms, edited by David D. Kim. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 69-92.

2020. al-Sirah al-Hilaliyyah. A Companion to World Literature, edited by Ken Seignurie, 6 vols. John Wiley & Sons, vol. 3:

2020. The Virgin Mary of Algeria: French Mediterraneans En Miroir. History and Anthropology 31: 22-42.

2020. Editor, special issue: “Historic Preservation in North Africa,” Journal of North African Studies, vol. 25, 5.

2019. Other Places of Confinement’: Bedeau Internment Camp for Algerian Jewish Soldiers. In The Holocaust and North Africa. Edited by Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, pp. 95-112.

2018. “The Ethnologist-Spy Was Hanged, At That Time We Were a Little Savage”: Anthropology in Algeria with Habib Tengour. b20: an online journal 3, no. 4:

2018. Praise of the Prophet and Praise of Self: Sirat Bani Hilal and Epic Narrative in Performance, Journal of Arabic Literature 49, no. 1-2: 50-77:

2016. Abraham Serfaty: Moroccan Jew and Conscious Pariah. Jews in Moroccan History and Historiography: Special Issue of Hespéris-Tamuda L1 (3): 113-138.

2016. The Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission: The Promises of a Human Rights Archive, Arab Studies Journal 24/1: 10-41. PDF

2015. The Moroccan Prison in Literature and Architecture. Special issue on prison literature in the Middle East, MERIP / Middle East Report 275/45: 26-31. PDF

2014. Algerian Women’s Būqūlah Poetry: Cultural Politics, Oral Literature and Anti-Colonial Resistance. Journal of Arabic Literature 45: 145-168. PDF

2014. Who and What is Native to Israel? On Marcel Janco’s Settler Art and Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff’s “Levantinism.” Settler Colonial Studies, 4/1: 27-47. LINK

2013. State of the State of the Art Studies: An Introduction to the Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa. In The Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millennium. Co-edited by Sherine Hafez and Susan Slyomovics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 3-22.

2012. Visual Ethnography, Stereotypes, and Photographing Algeria. In Orientalism Revisited: Art, Land, and Voyage. Edited by Ian Richard Netton. London: Routledge, 128-150.

2012. French Restitution, German Compensation: Algerian Jews and Vichy’s Financial Legacy. Journal of North African Studies 17/5: 881-901.

2012. Happiness, Human Rights and the Arab Spring. Vital Topics Forum “On Happiness,” edited by Barbara Rose Johnston. American Anthropologist, 114/1: 14-15.

2012. Fatna El Bouih and the Work of Memory, Gender, and Reparation in Morocco. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 8/1: 37-62.

2011. American “Blood Money” and a Question of Reparations. Middle East Report, 259: 44-46.

2009. Edward Said’s Nazareth. Framework: Journal of Cinema and Media, 50/1 & 2: 9-45.

2009. Perceptions, Not Illustrations, of Sefrou, Morocco: Paul Hyman’s Images and the Work of Ethnographic Photography. Journal of North African Studies, 14:3/4: 445-466.

2009. Morocco and Algeria: Financial Reparations, Blood Money, and Human Rights Witness Testimony. In Humanitarianism and Suffering: The Mobilization of Empathy. Edited by Richard A. Wilson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 265-284.

2008. Reparations in Morocco: The Symbolic Dirham. In Waging War and Making Peace: The Anthropology of Reparations. Co-edited by Barbara Rose Johnston and Susan Slyomovics. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 95-114.

2008. Palestinian Remembrance Days and Plans: Kufr Qasim, Fact and Echo (with Waleed Khleif). In Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Kishvar Rizvi and Sandy Eisenstadt. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 186-217.

2008. Témoignages écrits et silences: L’Instance Équité et Réconciliation (IER) marocaine et la reparation. Année du Maghreb. Paris: CNRS Editions, 123-148.

2007. The Rape of Qula, a Destroyed Palestinian Village. In Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory. Edited by Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod. New York: Columbia University Press, 27-51.

2005. The Argument from Silence: Morocco’s Truth Commission and Women Political Prisoners. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 1/3: 73-95.

2005. Morocco’s Justice and Reconciliation Commission. Middle East Report Online:

2005. Morocco: Self-Definition as Self-Determination. In Negotiating Self-Determination. Edited by Hurst Hannum and Eileen F. Babbitt. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 135-157.

2003. “Asig ma’bad” (The Passion of Ma’bad): The Epic Confronts Hilali History. Oriente Moderno 22 (83) n.s.: 335-346.

2003. No Buying Off the Past: Moroccan Indemnities and the Opposition. MERIP/Middle East Report 229: 34-37.

2002. Torture, Truth and Recovery in Morocco. In Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation (Platform 2_Documenta 11). Edited by Okwui Enwezor et al. Ostfildern-Ruit (Germany): Hatje Cantz Verlag, 213-230.

2001. Geographies of Jewish Tlemcen. Journal of North African Studies, 5/2: 81-96.

2001. A Truth Commission for Morocco. MERIP/Middle East Report, 218:18-21.

2001. Sex, Lies, and Television: Algerian and Moroccan Cartoons on the Gulf War. In Women and Power in the Middle East. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2-98.

1999. The Arab Epic Hero as Outcast, Trickster, and Confidence Man. In Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World. Edited by Margaret Beissinger, Jane Tylus, and Susanne Wofford. Berkeley: University of California Press, 54-68.

1998. Living Traditions: Arabic. In Teaching Oral Traditions. Edited by John Miles Foley. New York: The Modern Languages Association of America, 266-272.

1996. The Muslim World Day Parade and “Storefront” Mosques of New York City. In Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe. Edited by Barbara Daly Metcalf. Berkeley: University of California Press, 204-216.

1995. New York City’s Muslim World Day Parade. In Nation and Migration: The Politics of Space in the South Asian Diaspora. Edited by Peter Van Der Veer. Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 157-177.

1995. Algeria Elsewhere: The Pilgrimage of the Virgin of Santa Cruz in Oran, Algeria and Nimes, France. In Folklore Interpreted: Essays in Honor of Alan Dundes. Edited by Regina Bendix and Rosemary Levy Zumwalt, New York: Garland Press, 337-354.

1997. “Hassiba Benbouali, If You Could See Our Algeria…”: Women and Public Space in Algeria. MERIP / Middle East Report 192 (1995): 8-13. Reprinted In Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report. Edited by Joel Beinin. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 211-219; reprinted in Arab Women: Between Defiance and Restraint. Edited by Suha Sabbagh. Northampton, MA: Interlink, 1996, 211-220.

1994. The Memory of Place: Rebuilding the Pre-1948 Palestinian Village. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 3/2: 157-168.

1994. Performing A Thousand and One Nights in Egypt. Oral Tradition, 9/2: 90-419.

1993. Cartoon Commentary: Algerian and Moroccan Caricatures from the Gulf War. MERIP / Middle East Report Jan/Feb: 21-24.

1993. Discourses on the Pre-1948 Palestinian Village: The Case of Ein Hod / Ein Houd. Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, 4/11: 27-38.

1993. The Body in Water: American Women and Spa Culture. In Bodylore. Edited by Katherine Young. Knoxville. Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 35-56.

1993. Rebbele Mordkhele’s Pilgrimage in New York City, Tel Aviv and Carpathian Ruthenia.In Yivo Annual, Going Home. Edited by Jack Kugelmass. Evanston: Northwestern University Press and Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 369-394. Excerpted and reprinted in Carpatho-Rusyn American: A Forum for Carpatho-Rusyn Ethnic Heritage.

1992. Algeria Caricatures the Gulf War. Public Culture 4: 93-101.

1991. “To Put One’s Fingers in the Bleeding Wound”: Palestinian Theatre Under Israeli Censorship. The Drama Review T130: 18-38. Reprinted in Ad-Dad: A Journal of Arabic Literature, 3 (1992): 1-11; reprinted in Arab-Israeli Relations: A Collection of Contending Perspectives and Recent Research, 10 volumes. Edited by Ian Lustick. New York: Garland Press, 1993, 5: 282-303

1990. A Woman’s Life on the Algiers Stage. MERIP / Middle East Report Sept/Oct.

1990. Ritual Grievance: The Language of Woman? Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 5/1: 53-60

1989. Cross-Cultural Dress and Tourist Performance in Egypt. Performing Arts Journal Special issue on Interculturalism 33/34: 139-150.

1987. The Death-song of Amir Khafaji: Puns in an Oral and Printed Episode of Sirat Bani Hilal. Journal of Arabic Literature 18: 62-78

1987. Methodes de transcription et traduction d’une performance de geste orale arabe. In Le Conte. Edited by Pierre Lyon and Paul Perron. Montreal: Didier, 127-139.

1986. Arabic Folk Literature and Political Expression. Arab Studies Quarterly 8/2: 178-185.


2021. Menouar Merabtene, “Beginnings, the Life & Times of “Slim” aka Menouar Merabtene,” The Markaz Review (August 15):

2021. Nadjib Berber, “The Excellent Journey of Algerian Cartoonist Nadjib Berber,” The Markaz Review (August 15):

2021. Co-translator. Danièle Djamila Amrane-Minne, “Boqala,” Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation, 16, no. 2:

2019. Amina Mekahli, Nomade Bûlant (excerpt). ArabLit Quarterly, 2, no. 1: 63-65.

2014. “The Vagabond” by Leila Sebbar (with Kathleen Micham). Jadaliyya, March 27.

2008. Talk of Darkness by Fatna El Bouih (with Mustafa Kamal). Austin: University of Texas Press.

2003. “Arabic: The Silenced Father-Tongue” by Leila Sebbar and “Writing in the Language of the Other” by Assia Djebar (with Isabelle de Courtivron). In In Other Words: Writers on Bilingualism, Creativity and Identity. Edited by Isabelle de Courtivron. New York: St. Martins Press, 19-27 and 101-109.

2002. “The Bridegroom,” (Al-Aris) by Salah El Ouadie: Prison Literature and Human Rights,” Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East. Edited by Donna Lee Bowen and Evelyn Early. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 360-365.

2000. “The Flower Bed,” by Abdelfettah Kilito. Mediterraneans 11:37-41.

1997-98. “Three Poems by Waleed Khleif,” Jusoor, 9/10: 508-512.

1997. “The Epic of the Bani Hilal Narrated by Awadallah Abd al-Jalil Ali,” In Oral Epics from Africa: Vibrant Voices from a Vast Continent. Edited by John William Johnson, Thomas A. Hale, and Stephen Belcher. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 240-251.

1995. “Women’s Laments for Children Who Have Died” (with Suzanne Qualls). In Children in the Muslim Middle East. Edited by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 223-225.

1989. “Muhammad Afifi Matar: Poem,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 20. 1988. Poems of Anna Margolin and Bertha Kling, Der Paken-treger (The Book Peddler), 9-10: 55. 1986. “The Poetry of Abderrahman Abnoudy,” Seneca Review, 16/1: 81-90.

Awards & Grants

Fellow TALIM (Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies) (2020)

Fellowship IMéRA Aix-Marseilles University IAS (Fall 2019)

Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association, Distinguished Senior Scholar Award (2014)

Radcliffe Institute/Bunting Fellowship (2002-03)

Elected Fellow, American Folklore Society (2001)

Albert Hourani Book Award by Middles East Studies Association for The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village (1999)

Chicago Folklore Prize book award for The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village (1999)

Guggenheim Grant (1995-96)

Second Prize in Translation, Yiddish Women Poets from Yiddish National Book Center (1987)

Malcolm H. Kerr Award for Best Dissertation by the Middle East Studies Association (1985)


Ph.D., University of California Berkeley (1985)