Publication Date



32 p. ; This student paper has been awarded the 2003-2004 Helen S. Carter Prize.


Although the Haratin live throughout North Africa, this paper focuses specifically upon the Haratin of the Tafilalt Oasis region of southern Morocco. Section one is devoted to the social history of the Haratin in order to 'locate' their position in modem Moroccan society. In particular, this section examines the multi-dimensional aspects of their identity, including the process of naming, and the exclusion of their indigenous identity by the majority of Moroccans. This section also scrutinizes the affect of race and class on the formation of Haratin identity. Section II discusses the Ait 'Atta Berber tribe's customary law and their political relationship with the local Arab Shurfas. Particular attention is paid to land tenure laws of the Berber tribes from pre-French Protectorate, through occupation, to post-colonial state. An examination of 'Atta governance focuses on pre-protectorate through 1956, the seminal year in Moroccan history that ended the formal protectorate relationship with France. Section III focuses on the Haratin formation and expression of their internal customary law. I attempt to identify a space where Haratin people create their own laws and customs outside the reaches of the dominant Berber and Arab populations. Land regulation and production, labor management, and ecological knowledge are discussed. Section IV concludes with a reflection on theories and lenses of analysis presented and their meaning in writing as an outsider about internal law.


University of New Mexico School of Law

Document Type

Student Paper



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