Forgotten Saints: History, Power, and Politics in the Making of Modern Morocco by Sahar Bazzaz (CMES PhD '02), is the latest title in CMES's Harvard Middle Eastern Monograph series. The book is available for purchase through Harvard University Press.
About Forgotten Saints:
In 1894, on the eve of the French conquest of Morocco, a young Muslim mystic named Muhammad al-Kattani decided to abandon his life of asceticism to preach Islamic revival and jihad against the French. Ten years later, al-Kattani mobilized a socially diverse coalition of Moroccans who called for resistance against French colonization.
In 1909, he met a violent death at the hands of the same Moroccan anti-colonialists he had empowered through his activism. Today, the government of Morocco regards al-Kattani’s story as subversive, and he has virtually disappeared from the narratives of the early Moroccan anti-colonialism and nationalism. Despite this silencing, al-Kattani’s remarkable personal transformation and sacrifice is at the heart of the events that, although ultimately failing to prevent French rule, gave birth to Moroccan nationalism and to modern concepts of Moroccan political power and authority.
Forgotten Saints draws on a diverse collection of previously unknown primary sources to narrate the vivid story of al-Kattani and his virtual disappearance from accounts of modern Moroccan history.
Sahar Bazzaz is Associate Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross. She is also Associate in Comparative Cultural Studies at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University, and founding member of the Harvard-Olympia Summer Program in Comparative Cultural Studies.