Theme 4 - Berber Studies

Contributors: Malika Assam, Salem Chaker, Jamal Ouassou
PhD Students: Lahcen Addichane, Khalid Bouyaala
Associate Researchers: Valeria ArgiolasMalek Boudjellal, Abdallah El MountassirIntissar Sfaxi

Spread out across a vast and diverse territory, splintered in both geographic and geopolitical terms, the Berber world is distinctive in that it is traversed by diverse and multiple dynamics. A multidisciplinary approach must be adopted for this rapidly reshaping and ever-moving object of study. The Berber Studies section is based around two principal sites of exchange :

The Berber Encyclopaedia: A multidisciplinary publication that receives the active collaboration of all Aix researchers working on Berber studies, the Berber Encyclopaedia is a space for mutual exchange and exploration, bringing together a broad, international network of collaborators (37 volumes published since 1984, 3 forthcoming).

The Research Seminar “Amazighs - Tamazight/Berber(s) (Mediterranean – Sahara – Sahel – Emigrations) Interdisciplinary Research” gives central importance to sociolinguistic questions, and attracts many PhD students and Berber studies researchers from Algeria (Universities of Tizi-Ouzou, Bejaia, Bouira, CNRPAH) and Morocco (IRCAM, University of Agadir) as well as advanced students from Aix-Marseille University and other French and European universities.

Around these two exchange sites, several more specialized projects have developed : exploiting and promoting the Arsène Roux Berber archive (with IRCAM and the INALCO) ; exploiting and promoting Marceau Gast’s photographic archive (Sahara-North Africa) ; developing The Berber Encyclopaedia website (OpenEditions, formerly ; the Program “Berber Speech : Isolated, Endangered and/or Under-Documented” ; and translating reference, scientific, literary and historical documents to and from Tamazight. Through annual multidisciplinary workshops, the section also works closely with the Berber studies team at the INALCO (LACNAD, EA 4092), as well as Berber studies researchers at the University of Naples (L’Orientale), Leiden, Cádiz, Rabat (IRCAM), Agadir, Algiers, Tizi-Ouzou, Béjaïa, Bouira, Batna, Prague, and Gerona.