Interpreting and reinterpreting the work of Driss Chraïbi

International colloquium organized under the auspices of the Hassan II University of Casablanca (Faculty of Arts and Humanities Ben M’sik, Faculty of Arts and Humanities Aïn Chock and Ecole Normale Supérieure of Casablanca) from 11th  to 14th  April 2017 in Casablanca, Morocco.

Responsible: Kacem BASFAO (Hassan II University of Casablanca)

Considered to be the father of the modern Moroccan novel, Driss Chraibi is an author without precedent in the literature of the Maghreb. He was one of its greatest writers, a predecessor and a forerunner, constantly innovating in theme and genre. He was one of those whose work has withstood the test of time. It has resisted the changes of context, thus revealing its visionary relevance. Successive generations of readers can all find material  therein to access theirown past and present, to formulate their questions, to find the echoes of their experience, to sound out their expectations, to confront themselves with the truth of being and self-knowledge, to recognize the essential foundation of life and try to give it a sense, beyond tangible assets and external signs of social respectability that merely delude and entertain. The legacy of Driss Chraïbi will certainly be long-lasting.

In recent years, the paperback edition of most of his novels has given a new lease of life to his literary production and made it available to a wider reading public. This has aroused, and coincides with, a renewed interest in the discovery of unknown facets of his work (those which  had little echo in the Maghreb when first published because of the themes dealt with: such as L’Âne, La Foule, Un ami viendra vous voir, Mort au Canada) and the rediscovery of some of his texts that have become the object of school or university studies (notably: La Civilisation, ma Mère !.., Les Boucs, La Mère du printemps, Le Passé simple). His novels have been  translated into numerous languages, including nine books available in English.

This symposium will be an occasion to revisit the texts of the author, even those which seem the most well-known: not only by recalling and contextualizing the interpretations that have been made, but also by discussing and enriching them with current reinterpretations.

His novel Le Passé simple (1954), opened the Maghrebian intellectuals to a new vision of their world, of themselves and of the world at large. With this masterpiece, Chraïbi inaugurated modern North African literature. It is a powerful, bitter, ironic cry of revolt against oppressive traditionalism.

Chraibi is a writer of many dimensions. Contrary to appearances, several  are still largely unknown and research is just beginning to focus on them; especially his very important work for French radio: producing cultural mediation programs, bringing Arab-Muslim culture to a wider audience and, above all, adapting works of fiction (his own and those of other authors, famous or less well-known, coming from all horizons: Africa, America, England, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, etc.). The thrillers and the children books of Driss Chraïbi have scarcely been tackled; not to mention the columnist and the memorialist.

This commemoration will thus be the opportunity to take stock of an authorial research field, composed by the studies carried out by researchers  of all horizons, and to establish it on a firm basis, in order to compile its contributions and open it up to further interpretations.

  • 1st AXIS / INTERPRETINGS OF DRISS CHRAÏBI’S WORKS: Inventory of research.

Articles, dissertations and theses on the writer’s work are uncountable, it is time to make an inventory of the critical review of the main achievements of the chraibian research (will be concerned by this axis, the researchers having devoted their doctoral thesis to such an interest).

  • 2nd AXIS / REINTERPRETINGS OF DRISS CHRAÏBI’S WORKS: Actuality of the novels.

New research tracks and new approaches (confirmed researchers, young researchers and PhD students are invited to send us their proposal).


Some translators of the writer’s productions will be asked to communicate and exchange with each other about their translation experience.


Moroccan writers, painters, filmmakers and actors, interested in the work or the man, will be invited to enrich the colloquium by their testimony of creators (reading experience, contribution to or accompanying of their work, adaptations carried out or planned, and so on and so forth).

We have not declined the argument of the symposium in sub-axes to give, in particular, more freedom to the speakers of the second, third and fourth axes as far as their thematic choice is concerned so as to innovate and to astonish us by their new reading biases of the chraïbian work.

Proposals should be sent by e-mail in Word format, to Pr Kacem BASFAO before January 30th, 2017. They should include a title, a brief presentation of the content, in the order of a ½ page (± 1700 – 2000 characters, including spaces), and a biobibliographical record of about ten to fifteen lines (± 850 – 1250 characters, including spaces).

The scientific committee will give a feedback to the contributors in mid-February 2017. 

The proceedings will be published.utors Final deadline for submission of papers for publication is the 15th August 2017.

Organizing Committee (Hassan II University of Casablanca): Abderrahim AMEUR (Director MFMH2); Ibtihal ABYABA (PhD Student); Houssine AZEDDOUG (Director ENS); Mohamed BARKAOUI  (Secretary General FMH2) ; Kacem BASFAO (Seminar Leader, FLSH-AC); Rachid EL-HADARI (Vice-Dean, FLSH-BM); Abdelkader GONEGAÏ (Dean FLSH-BM); Chouaib HALIFI (Laboratory Director LLC, FLSH-BM); Mourad MAWHOUB (Dean FLSH-AC); Lahcen OUASMI (Laboratory Director LLC, FLSH-BM); Malika RAFIQ (ENS); Youssef SEFRI (FLSH-BM).

International Scientific Committee : Evelyne ACCAD (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Lebanese American University, Beyrut), Kacem BASFAO (Hassan II University of Casablanca), Mustapha BENCHEIKH (International University of Rabat), Charles BONN (Lumière University Lyon 2), M’hamed DAHI (Mohamed V University, Rabat), Samira DOUIDER (Hassan II University of Casablanca), Marc GONTARD (University of Rennes 2), Chouaib HALIFI (University of Casablanca), Driss C. JAYDANE (writer, philosopher, Casablanca), Regina KEIL-SAGAWE (Weltlesebühne e.V. , Heidelberg), Fouad LAROUI (University of Amsterdam, writer), Abdelouahed MABROUR (Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida), Danielle MARX-SCOURAS (Ohio State University, Columbus), Abdallah ALAOUI-MDARHRI (Mohamed V University, Rabat), Leonor MERINO-GARCIA (Autonomous University of Madrid, translator), Mildred MORTIMER (University of Colorado, Boulder), Lahcen OUASMI (University of Casablanca), Abdelhak SERHANE (University of Louisiana, Lafayette, writer), Edwige TAMALET TALBAYEV (Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana).

In parallel to the symposium, several cultural events dedicated to Driss Chraïbi are planned as well as the setting up with the participants of an international association of readers and critics of Driss Chraïbi. And a Review of Chraïbian studies.

Working language: French



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