About us

Laura Menin

Laura  Menin

Laura Menin studied social and cultural anthropology at the University of Milano Bicocca (Italy), where she completed her PhD thesis on love, friendship and intimacy in a Moroccan town in 2013. Between 2008 and 2011, she was a visiting doctoral student at the University of Sussex (UK). Previously, she worked with young Muslim women born and brought up in Italy (2005-2007), exploring their religious performances and gendered subjectivities, and on migrants’ political participation and their associative networks in the province of Milan (2007). Between January 2012 and March 2014, she was a Research Fellow (staff) at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany. Her project focused on political violence, testimony and cultural production emerging from the “Years of Lead” in Morocco (1961-1999) against the backdrop of the processes of reconciliation initiated with the Truth and Equity Commission in 2004. Since January 2013, she has been a research associate in the project (PRIN 2010-2011) “State, Conflict, Plurality in Africa.” Currently, she is a SWAB post-doctoral fellow. Her project investigates the everyday practices, politics and aesthetics surrounding “race” and the legacy of slavery in Morocco.





Research project: “Race in Morocco: A Historical-Anthropological Inquiry.”

Like elsewhere in North Africa, in Morocco discussions of ‘race’ are often surrounded by embarrassment, omissions and silences. Yet, ‘race’ shapes the social practices and vocabularies  with which the boundaries between social groups are drawn, spouses are selected, and visions of beauty, which are implicitly associated with ‘whiteness’, are embodied and performed. Furthermore, ‘race’ powerfully emerges in the racist attitudes towards Sub-Saharan students, migrants and refugees who live in Morocco or find themselves stuck there in an attempt to reach Europe. By tracing the historical dynamics of the ‘racialization of slavery’ and the formation of a racial thought since the 17th century—when ‘slavery’ overlapped indelibly with ‘blackness’— up to the present, this project  contributes to the study of the forms of social inequality, marginalization and racial discrimination that followed the encounter with the European imperialism and explores their shadows in contemporary Morocco. Instead of providing an a priori definition of ‘race’, it takes it as a theoretical issue and interrogates the everyday practices, politics and aesthetics that bring ‘race’ into being.