Honors in Morocco

Music, Literature and Identity in Morocco

August 20 - September 11, 2012
Variation of credits may be available per preapproval with your department

All UW students are welcome to apply, priority given to College/Interdisciplinary Honors students and Departmental Honors

This program will satisfy the following 10 credits of Honors core requirements:
Course Credits Credit Type
Honors 210 5 Honors Arts and Humanities (taken in spring before departure)
Honors 391 5 Honors Interdisciplinary (taken while on Exploration seminar abroad )

  • Tuesday, Feb 7th at 4pm in MGH 211 E

In this Exploration Seminar, led by native Moroccan and UW lecturer in Near Eastern Studies, Adil Ait Hamd, and Honors Writer in Residence Frances McCue, we will travel to the great cities of Fez and Marrakesh, to Berber villages in the Atlas and to the famous seaside town of Essouaria. Along the way, we'll experience a variety of music, art and literature. Guest speakers will address themes such as: cultural identity and artistic expression, politics in North Africa, current influences of globalization, women's rights and linguistics.

As we travel, we will immerse ourselves in literature and music. We'll write creative nonfiction (memoirs/essays) about our research and out travels, extending these into vignettes that we post to blogs. In Fez, students will engage with several writers and intellectuals who will discuss women's issues, current issues of politics and globalization and the arts and music. Marrakesh will be the setting for reading American and Moroccan artistic perspectives and to experience music. In the desert, we'll also get to hear music, and in Berber villages we'll learn about Argan oil production. Students will be able to see the influence of these ancient settlements upon Moroccan literature and culture. By mapping the texts back onto the places, we'll be able to pry open the imaginative terrain between actual sites and artistic agency.

To prepare for our travel to Morocco, students are required to enroll in the Honors Spring Course "Music, Literature and Identity in Morocco" which will offer the opportunity to read novels, stories, poems and essays that have their roots in North African cultures.

Students will receive 10 credits total (5 credits at UW during spring quarter and 5 in Marrakesh). Credits will fulfill Honors Core requirements, 5 Honors Humanities and 5 Honors Interdisciplinary.

Other credits may be applicable depending on individual research projects. (Alternative credit may be available to students; this must be arranged in advance with your departmental advisers)

(5 credits on-site in Morocco, Honors 391, 5 credits spring course, Honors 210)

The program will bring together writing, reading, listening and traveling. Students will read texts about Morocco and by Moroccans. Along with literature, students will experience different forms of music that are prevalent in Morocco and consider how Moroccan writers and musicians "see" their own culture, in contrast to how it is presented by writers who are not native to Morocco. By writing travel memoirs, students will blend reading with real-life observations, enhancing perceptions of people and place.

The program, "Music, Literature and Identity in Morocco," uses writing as a method of inquiry and as a way of expressing what one has learned. Music, too, becomes a cultural lens through which to explore how cultural identities are a collage of forms. Both writing and music become documenting and research tool. It is also a kind of thinking that shifts and changes within genre and stage of revision. Writing becomes a version of reading, a way of understanding cross-cultural literary texts, music genres and actual encounters with people and places.

"Music, Literature and Identity in Morocco"

  1. Presents a safe structure in which to take academic risks;
  2. Brings the complex world of the Maghreb into greater focus, allowing a direct experience of a frozen-in-time world that has been the same for centuries and a fast-paced developing nation greatly aspiring to lifestyles in the west;
  3. Enhances and challenges writing skills, methods of written expression and sophistication of content;
  4. Instigates an opportunity to travel, write, research and make new friends from different backgrounds;
  5. Fosters interdisciplinary modes of inquiry and expression.

Spring Quarter - 5 credits

The first stage of this study abroad program involves a mandatory 5-credit Honors course (dates to be determined) during spring quarter 2012. This course will provide students with the background needed to embark on the journey. During the spring, students will read novels, essays and poems, along with text of cultural theory, and study music from the region. Students will also receive an introduction to Moroccan Arabic.

The academic goals of the course include:

  1. imagining, and then experiencing, the physical terrain of the Atlas, the cities of Fez and Marrakesh, a Berber village, the Sahara and the seaside town of Essaouira;
  2. learning to write travel essays while in the process of traveling;
  3. being able to describe the traits of different kinds of music in the region and
  4. using cites from the reading to enhance actual experiences;
  5. cross-cultural exchanges;
  6. exploring texts about cultural globalization, identity and the challenges in contemporary Morocco.


Dr. Frances McCue is a writer, lecturer and former Fulbright scholar in Morocco. She is intimately familiar with Marrakesh and the general region. Frances lived in Marrakech for a year during her Fulbright grant and taught at Cadi Ayyad University. She has worked with and taught many students from a range of disciplines during her tenure at UW. She received her doctorate from Columbia University (English Education) and was co-founder of the Richard Hugo House, the largest literary center west of the Mississippi. Read More about Frances McCue »

Adil Ait Hamd, Near Eastern Languages and Literature, a lecturer in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. He teaches Arabic and Current events in Arab media. Originally from Fez, he worked in a study-abroad setting in Morocco for six years. Adil was the founder of the band Boohalee, which performed contemporary fusion music. Adil directed an eight-week UW study abroad program in the summer of 2011. The program was based in Fez, Morocco.

This program will cost approximately $3,500 per student. Course costs include accommodations, in-city transportation, field trips and most excursions, admission fees to museums and exhibits, and some group meals.

Course fee does not include an IP&E concurrent enrollment fee ($275); airfare ($1,400-$1,600 roundtrip, depending on when and where you buy your ticket); food (about $30 per day), and personal spending money.

Payment Schedule

(under development)

IP&E will automatically charge student accounts for all program payments and fees.

Students may use their regular financial aid and scholarship funds for study abroad. The exception is any scholarship in the form of a tuition waiver. Tuition waivers cannot be used to pay study abroad program fees. You may want to check with the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall for more information.

There are funding opportunities through the Global Opportunities Program, and the Office of International Programs and Exchanges also maintains a funding opportunities list.

Refund Policy

A $350 deposit is required at the time of acceptance. This $350 deposit is non-refundable. Any student withdrawing from the program within 4 months of the program start date will be responsible for a minimum of 25% of the total program fee. In addition, there may be other unrecoverable fixed program costs. Any student withdrawing from the program within 2 months of the program start date will be responsible for 50% of the total program fee. Any student withdrawing from the program within 1 month of the program start date will be responsible for 75% of the total program fee. Withdrawal after a program begins involves the loss of the entire program fee.

Once accepted to the program in order to formally withdraw you must do the following, in writing:

  • Contact the program directors.
  • Submit a signed IPE Withdrawal Form to the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.
  • Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.
  • Your withdrawal date is considered the date (business day) your withdrawal paperwork is received by the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.

To Marrakesh

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from Marrakesh. You may wish to explore budget fares offered on websites such as Travelocity and Expedia, as well as STA and Council Travel in the University district.

In Marrakesh

Students and instructors will be making several day-excursions and several overnight excursions.

All participants must have a passport valid for the duration of the program. It may take as long as six weeks (or longer) to obtain or renew a passport. The range of places that we will visit offers a sophisticated tour of the country while giving students the chance to actually experience places that were once references in texts or music. As often as possible, we'll be housing students with host families.

Selection to the program is competitive and acceptance into the program will be decided based on application materials, interviews, and student's demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work both individually and in groups. All UW students are welcome to apply, but priority may be given to College/Interdisciplinary Honors students and Departmental Honors students.

For more information, please contact: