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June 11–July 27, 2018

Morocco possesses a wealth of cultural, sociological, and historical facets that are clearly visible in its beautiful and distinctly different cities.

While they all have many common features such as traditional medinas, suburbs that carry the markers of Morocco’s colonial past, as well as modern industrial areas, they still bear very individual traits that pay homage to their ethic differences, climatically widely varied circumstances, preserve their historical heritages — not only in architecture and cityscape, but also in the languages that are spoken predominantly and even in the everyday lifestyle. This may be the reason that Morocco is considered to be one of the most liberal and free-spirited Arab countries.

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Program participants will have the choice to receive credit for either language or culture courses — or a combination thereof. There will be the possibility to sign up for the following classes:

  • ARAB 101/102 Elementary Arabic
  • ARAB 201/202 Intermediate Arabic
  • ARAB 301/302 Advanced Arabic
  • LLC 397 Islam, Gender and Politics
  • LLC 397 Racialization of Muslims and its Moorish Roots

All participants will also enroll in a specially designed course, “Survival Arabic: Darija” that carries no credit and is designed to help all students to interact with the people on the streets and in the markets on the most basic level.

Since the program will be offered to students from different institutions and because we discern best what we know of, the program will start in Casablanca where the group will congregate and adjust to life in Morocco. A few days of getting to know each other as well as the daily life in Morocco will lay the groundwork for the trip ahead. Then, while on the trip that constitutes the first half of the program, we will gain knowledge “in the field,” through projects and concrete work rather than just through work in the classrooms. This will be true for language as well as content course students.

The courses are structured around participation in six weeks abroad in Morocco. In order to earn credit for the courses, students are required to attend lectures and tours, prepare daily readings, participate in all activities, field trips, and discussions and submit written reflections and analytical work in a timely manner.

LLC 397 Islam, Gender and Politics

This class investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life while looking at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures. Topics include Qur’anic revelations concerning women; the early life of the Muslim community; the “formation of the core discourses of Islam,” especially jurisprudence and Qur’an commentary; the ideals and realities of veiling and seclusion for women in various contexts; contradictory portraits of “Muslim women’s status” in struggles over colonialism and nationalism; debates over gender and law in “Islamicized” Iran vs. a more secular Morocco and Tunisia. We will also be looking at women’s exegesis and female religious innovative hermeneutic strategies not just in the Middle East but also among American Muslims. Can there be a compelling egalitarian interpretation of the Qur’an? Are Western feminist theories adequate to account for the variety of gendered experiences of life and religion? Are the presuppositions of much scholarship — that egalitarianism is desirable, that resistance to patriarchy is praiseworthy — relevant to (all) Muslim women’s lives?

LLC 397 Racialization of Muslims and its Moorish Roots

The fastest growing religious population in the United States, Muslims are ethnically, nationally, and racially diverse—representing more than 77 countries and racially identifying as white, black, Asian, and “other.” The majority of Muslims prefer to “adopt American customs and ways of life,” have educational, income, and occupational levels on par with average Americans, and share similar concerns over Islamic extremism as the general U.S. population. But polls show that they see, being marked as “Muslim,” a liability. Traditionally, scholars have used the frameworks of Orientalism and Islamophobia to explain the unique forms of anti-Islamic prejudice. This course will talk about Orientalism and Islamophobia in the context of the master category of race. Using a racialization framework, our readings will expand on specific historical moments whereby “cultural racism” became further integrated into the social fabric of the US. Cultural racism is the process of othering that constructs perceived cultural (e.g. Arab), religious (e.g. Muslim), or civilizational (e.g. Arab and/or Muslim) differences as natural and immutable. Of these historical moments, the most prominent concern incidents in Moorish Spain. A space of sustained Muslim presence for more than seven centuries, Moorish Spain becomes an interesting backdrop for a genealogical study of current cultural racism against Muslims. Let’s see if we can’t also make a short excursion to Granada.

What's Included
  • Two units of UR credit
  • Pick-up service from airport (Casablanca)
  • On-site orientation and constant attention from UR staff
  • Transportation to Essaouira, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Merzouga, Fes Tetouan, Tangier, Rabat
  • Stays in traditional Riyadhs in many of those cities; in a desert camp in Merzouga
  • On-site teaching during the first three weeks of the program
  • Home stay with families in Rabat
  • Faculty-led field trips and excursions en-route
  • On-site supervision by program director
Not Included
  • Roundtrip flight to Morocco
  • Most meals
  • Texts
Activities & Excursions

Study trips to within Rabat and its environs as well as to Meknès

Application, Timeline & Fees

Application & Deposit: $300 nonrefundable deposit with application

  • Application DeadlineExtended to Friday, February 23, 2018!
  • 1st Payment: March 16
  • Final Payment: April 16

Cost: $5,900

Scholarship: UR students are eligible to apply for the Holt Summer Study Abroad Scholarship. Selected recipients will receive approximately $2,000 toward the cost of an approved UR Summer Study Abroad program.


Banafsheh Madaninejad, Assistant Professor, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas

Director, Arabic Language Program
Arabic Language and Culture
Application Information

All interested students, both UR and non-Richmond, may apply online using Gateway Abroad, the same online application system used for semester- and year-long study abroad programs.

Follow this link to begin your online application:

  1. Select the Apply Now button/link
  2. UR students may log into the system using your UR netID and password
  3. Non-UR students should review the Non-Richmond Students instructions
  4. complete the online application and select your program

Contact Us

Office of Summer Studies
Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building
28 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173

Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8138

Monday-Friday: 8:30am–5pm
Closed for University holidays