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Title:Rapping feminism, rapping the family: hip hop, the Mudawwana, and the monarchy in Morocco
Author(s):Brege, Casey Jo
Advisor(s):Buchanan, Donna A.
Contributor(s):Solis, Gabriel
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Hip hop
Abstract:Since the 1999 coronation of King Muhammed VI, Morocco has undergone large-scale changes in terms of legal reform via the nation’s Islamic family and personal status laws (the Mudawwana), gendered social roles and gender equality, and accepted modes of feminist political engagement in public space. This rapidly shifting sociopolitical landscape has raised questions among Moroccan and international observers alike as to the efficacy of the nation’s protest culture in light of the regime’s cooptive power. This thesis looks to contemporary hip hop in the music of Fnaire and MC Soultana to present a more cohesive picture of Moroccan feminism, political dissent, and engagement with the regime in the early twenty-first century. I frame my analysis in the work of cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who proposes that expressions of popular culture should not be considered monolithic entities of resistance or compliance, but as a landscape on which these concepts are explored and contested (Hall 1981, 227). Examined in this light, the sometimes contradictory messages and behaviors that have marked much contemporary Moroccan political engagement and oppositional expression in recent years can be understood as a lens through which to view larger ideas about state engagement, feminism, and the construction of gendered social space. I do not understand hip hop musicians as part of a singular collective whose music and artistic output can be analyzed as either expressions of popular dissent unendorsed by the regime and thus valued as genuinely oppositional, or as the monarchically endorsed voice of regime cooptation. Instead, drawing on the work of ethnomusicologist Cristina Moreno Almeida (2013), I examine hip hop groups and emcees as socially and politically active individuals whose music, lyrics, and music videos reflect their own creative agency as well as larger sociopolitical forces (Almeida 2013, 320). By examining the output of two popular artists deeply engaged with gendered political expression, I demonstrate the ways that musicians work within and reflect the contemporary landscape of Moroccan feminism, political resistance, and reconstructions of gendered identities, all while working with, through, and around the regime’s cooptive power.
Issue Date:2015-05-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Casey Brege
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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