Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Moral Matter: Property, Piety, and the Politics of Repair in Protectorate-Era Casablanca

February 7 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Professor Daniel Williford

Daniel Williford, Assistant Professor of History
at UW Madison will give an online lecture entitled:

Moral Matter: Property, Piety, and the Politics of Repair in Protectorate-Era Casablanca

This talk will examine conflicts over rent, repair, and the proper use of property that erupted between Moroccan inhabitants of Casablanca and French municipal officials during the 1930s. This critical period in the county’s colonial history witnessed the dramatic emergence of an urban nationalist movement on the one hand, the gradual consolidation of colonial real estate capital on the other. In the spring of 1934, these two processes intersected in the form of a rent strike led by Moroccan residents of Casablanca. This movement took aim at the management of religious endowments (ḥubūs or awqāf) in the city—raising questions about property, piety, and the material affordances of the built environment. This talk will consider how urban activists in 1930s Casablanca linked morality to materiality through critiques that politicized rent and repair under colonial rule. In the process, they articulated a vision for a more just distribution of urban resources that would remain a powerful pole for anti-colonial movements in the country.   

Daniel Williford is a historian of technology with a focus on twentieth-century North Africa and the Middle East. His work explores the links between colonial modernization projects, the construction of racialized technical hierarchies, local forms of political contestation and technological labor, and the remaking of urban environments in the region. His research interests include the history of disaster, infrastructures and the environment, the politics of expertise, financial technologies and the prehistory of neoliberalism, and practices of repair, demolition, and maintenance. Daniel Williford teaches courses in the history of technology, environmental history, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and the history of the modern Middle East and North Africa. 




February 7
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Event Categories:
, , ,


Middle East Studies Program


Ingraham 206
1155 Observatory Dr
Madison, WI 53706 United States
+ Google Map