He was a member of the angry young generation of the s whose works initially challenged many tenets on which the newly independent countries of the Maghrib were basing their social and political norms. Khatibi completed his secondary education in Morocco and pursued a degree in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris. His study on the novel raised the question of how the committed writer can avoid becoming a propagandist, especially in a postrevolutionary society. Khatibi argued for the need to create on the cultural level of the educated masses, avoiding popular demagoguery.
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Olivia C. In one of his first poems published in the journal, Khatibi captures this fraught atmosphere through an oblique reference to the bloody repression of student protests in Casablanca in March The street is invincible, all revolt is an avalanche of rocks […] Standing, in the violent street man is the first to speak. Although he later distanced himself from the radically political turn Souffles Anfas took at the end of the s, Khatibi still played a major role in the intellectual effervescence of the period.
Our challenge lies in knowing how to debunk this tradition, how to demystify it, how to find new ways to appropriately express our reality and embody our deepest desires. In Plural Maghreb, Khatibi draws on Derridean deconstruction to develop a model of critical thinking in the North African context. As suggested by the subtitle of the English translation, the volume is a collection of essays on various postcolonial questions related to sociology, language, sexuality, and art.
The opening essay in the volume, an early version of which was published in a special issue of Les Temps modernes dedicated to the Maghreb, serves as a theoretical framework for the rest.
In , he moved to Paris to study sociology at the Sorbonne, where he sat in the classes of eminent intellectuals such as Raymond Aron, Henri Lefebvre, and Georges Gurvitch. During the same period, his first travels, especially to northern Europe, deeply influenced his transdisciplinary thought, initiating the transnational perspective he would later develop in his works.
The essay also provides a thoughtful discussion of the hierarchical orders of precolonial Maghrebi society. Khatibi conducts a critical dialogue with Marxism, functionalist anthropology, and the foundational work of Ibn Khaldun, laying bare their respective limitations and emphasizing the necessity of rethinking the dynamism and instability of North African social structures. The essay consequently investigates questions of naming, seduction, and procreation in the Adamic, the Abrahamic, and the Joseph narratives, respectively.
In Plural Maghreb, this method is manifest not only in his thought-provoking engagement with Derrida, Foucault, and Blanchot, among others, but also in his stylistic choices, such as the use of exergues, interludes, and figures to organize or support his arguments, the inclusion of a fictional dialogue, and the close reading of surnames. The two thinkers first met in Paris in the mids and afterward regularly exchanged and read their respective publications.
Burcu Yalim, who seems at times to struggle with the highly challenging and multifaceted language of Plural Maghreb. One way that Khatibi does this is by turning to art as a space for creative thinking and intellectual engagement. The final essay in Plural Maghreb, for instance, offers an original reading of the work of Moroccan painter Ahmed Cherkaoui in relation to the question of identity. To read Khatibi is to navigate through his works with and as a professional stranger, by always opening the self, beyond generic boundaries and restrictive categories, to the empowering experience of dialogic and plural thinking.
Morreu escritor marroquino Abdelkébir Khatibi
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