In March 2005, the Ann Arbor District Library invited me to talk about my adventures in Morocco and the creation of this website.
Outline and Slides from my Talk:
March 10 2005:
Pioneer High School Schreiber Auditorium 601 West Stadium Ann Arbor 48103 7:00 to 8:45 pm
As she leads
the audience in a recap of her travels, she will compare Morocco in the
time of Leo Africanus with Morocco today. She will also discuss Leo Africanus,
the man - as well as the process of undertaking such a project as the
Leo Africanus website. Through discussion and using a selection of pictures,
and excerpts from Leo's text (each being a building block of his life
and world) Cristel de Rouvray will examine: Leo Africanus' writings, the
life of Leo Africanus, Morocco in the 16th century and Morocco today,
and the importance of putting historical fact in context and turning it
into living knowledge.
holds a Bachelors in Economics and a Masters in International Policy Studies
from Stanford University; she is currently finishing her PhD at the London
School of Economics. She is half French, half American - and has lived
in Paris, San Francisco, Rabat and London.
If you have
read the novel, "Leo Africanus," this is a unique chance to see the world
of the book come visually to life. It is also a chance to become more
familiar with this excellent website, which can be a valuable companion
tool when reading the book. Copies of the book are available at all Ann
Arbor District Library sites and at area bookstores. Using virtual travel,
the website encourages readers to learn about the exceptional 16th century
Mediterranean: an epoch that saw the constitution of many of the elements
of our contemporary political, geographical and cultural identities; just
as it uses Leo Africanus' adventurous life and unlikely destiny to awaken
our modern minds to the desire for travel and exploration. The research
and travel underlying the website were supported by a Fulbright Grant.
is a person of many voices. His world was one of a tremendous melting
pot. He came from many countries (Spain, Morocco, Italy); many ethnicities
(Berber, Arab) and many religions (Muslim, Christian and shades of Berber
mysticism) and his text is constantly torn among these various perspectives.
His description of Morocco is deeply marked by all these views. ANN ARBOR/YPSILANTI
READS The 2005 Read program encourages readers of all ages to explore
the Cultural Treasures of the Middle East - its many shared and diverse
histories, memories and traditions of creative expressions.
A selection committee of community leaders, students and educators in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area chose Amin Maalouf's "Leo Africanus," translated by Peter Sluglett, as the focus of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2005. This is the first time a work of fiction has been chosen for the Read. Written in the form of a memoir, Leo Africanus explores Islam and Christendom through the fictional adventures of a real-life Arab traveler and geographer.
Reads has been coordinated by several area organizations, including the
Ann Arbor District Library, the Ypsilanti District Library, the University
of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Public Schools, the Ann Arbor News, Barnes
and Noble Bookstores, Borders Books and Music, Community Television Network,
Eastern Michigan University, The Jewish Community Center of Washtenaw
County, Nicola's Books: A Little Professor Store, Shaman Drum Bookstore,
the University Musical Society, Washtenaw Community College and many others.