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Spanish Colonial Ethnography in the Rural and Tribal Northern Zone of Morocco, 1912-56: An Overview and an Appraisal

There has to date been very little recent scholarly research on the northern Spanish protectorate of Morocco, particularly by comparison with the now very considerable literature on the corresponding French Moroccan protectorate, its very much larger neighbour to the south. To the best of our knowledge, all there is, barring a resume produced by one of its principal Spanish administrative functionaries and actors in its drama the year after it ended (Garcia Figueras 1957), is just one single important general study by Morales Lezcano (1984), plus our own much shorter assessment of the protectorate's role and function as seen through the career and the ethnographic output of one of its most gifted tribal administrators, to which the assessment in question acts as an introduction (Hart 1958; Hart and Blanco Izaga 1975 Vol. I pp.I-44). One good reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is that as of the date of writing (1995), the bulk of the Spanish Protectorate archives (currently housed in the Archivo de la Administracion in Alcala de Henares outside Madrid) has not yet even been classified and catalogued, let alone declared open to researchers for inspection. This article attempts to fill the gap only insofar as the published ethnological and ethnographic record for the rural and tribal areas of the Spanish Zone are concerned, although attention is occasionally drawn to certain historical works of significance as well as to unpublished works or reports if these are accessible. However, before examining any of this literature, which is both widely scattered and highly disparate in quality, it behoves us first to consider a number of points of a more general nature which have a direct bearing on the matter at hand.