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Farouk El Maarouf

About me

Freshly graduated from the Center of Moroccan Cultural Studies at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, El Maarouf Farouk was awarded a fellowship at MECAM-Fellowships for the IFG "Aesthetics & Cultural Practice" (Philipps Marburg University). Currently, El Maarouf is a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen University.


Dissertation working title: The Aesthetics of the Margin: Vernacular Art Communities, Curious Dealers, Unorthodox Art Consumers, and Alternative Perceptions in Contemporary Morocco.


My research project revolves around visual art and art communities in contemporary Morocco. It is about communities (artists, artisans, art dealers, middlemen, collectors, experts, passionate art savourers) that, unlike the typical top-notch, upscale, wealthy fine art connoisseurs, live under the line of poverty and hardly make ends meet. By focusing on the marginalized, poverty-ridden communities that dwell in hidden unsightly Moroccan markets, weekly souks, café bazaars, informal transaction locations, I attempt to come to an understanding of how such communities conceive of art in the absence of the most basic forms of decent living. Hence, my research project departs from the contemporary cultural, social and political history of Morocco to generate an adequate discussion on the meanings and implications of seeing (visualizing) in the domain of art and culture.


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens


ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0839-453X


  • Al-kamahiyatiya (Asitism): the Politics of Waiting and not Waiting for Change (2024). Journal of Critical African Studies. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.                                                                                                                                                         Co-authors: Moulay Driss El Maarouf and Taieb Belghazi. DOI:10.1080/21681392.2024.2310809

  • Farah Nuruddin. North of Dawn: Between Movement and Disrupted Identities (Book review) (2024). Volume 7 of International University of Rabat’s «Afriques en Mouvement» Journal.
  • Plagues and Religion in Morocco: A Historial Perspective (2023). Al Misbahia – Revue de la Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines Sais - Fes
    Co-authors: Samir Bouzouita and Moulay Driss El Maarouf 
  • Shikhat, Nashat and (Un)serious Theory (2023). Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 16. Brill.                                       Co-authors: Moulay Driss El Maarouf and Taieb Belghazi. DOI:10.1163/18739865-01603002

  • Treasure Hunting in Morocco and the Rise of the Echonomy (2023). Journal of Anthropological Research, University of Chicago Press for the University of University of New Mexico.

    Co-author: Moulay Driss El Maarouf.

  • Street art, festivity, and the politics of possession in the Moroccan urban space. Hg. von Merian Centre for Advanced Study in the Maghreb (MECAM), Tunis, MECAM Papers (2022). (Translated into Arabic and French).

  • Coming to Terms with Marginal Art(ists) in Morocco (2022). Trafo Blog for Transregional Research. MECAM.          

  • Game Without Game: (un)timely Teen Politics in Morocco (2021). Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Brill

    Co-authors: Moulay Driss El Maarouf and Taieb Belghazi. DOI:10.1163/18739865-01403006

  • The Chromatic Performance of Yassine Balbzioui (2021). Book contribution by Iwalewahaus:  Universität Bayreuth

    Book title: Yassine Balbzioui: Identity to Rent                                

    ISBN: 978-3-947902-02-6

  • City as Canvas: Street Art(ists), Walls and the City between State Patronage and Artistic Transformation (2020). Journal of Matatu, 51. Brill

    Co-author: Moulay Driss El Maarouf. DOI: 10.1163/18757421-05101009

  • Covid-19: A Critical Ontology of the Present (2020). Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

    Co-authors: Moulay Driss El Maarouf and Taieb Belghazi. DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2020.1757426


  • Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Organised in Montreal from 2 to 5 November 2023. Panel name: Time Frames: Art as an Embodied Practice of Time from an Anthropological Perspective. 
    Presentation title: Al-‘Atara as a Marginal Community: Negotiating Art and its Practices from Below
  • Annual conference of the African Multiple Cluster of Excellence: Reconfiguring African Studies Through Spatialities. University of Bayreuth. Organised in Bayreuth from 11 to 14 October 2023. Panel name: “Knowledge and Location”.
    Presentation title: Treasure Hunting and the Dynamics of the Soil.
  • MECAM conference « Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity » organised in Tunis from 17 to 19 March 2023. Panel name: "Aesthetics & Cultural Practice": Disparity and Future Models in Arab Literature and Arts.
     Presentation title: Waiting, Art Practitioners, Hope, and Never-Ending Queues.
  • Presentation at the SeSaMo (2022) conference at University of Naples L'Orientale, Italy. Panel 29: Class, a Useful Category for Ethnography? Case Studies from Egypt and Morocco. Presentation title: The Task of the Ethnographer: Waiting and Vernacular Art Communities as a Precarious Social category.

  • Talk that was part of the activities of the research group “Figures of Thought, Turning Points” (DFG, Leibniz), CNMS, University of Marburg, Germany (2022).  Talk title: Traveling optics of the weak:  invisible art practitioners and the pursuit of beauty in Morocco.

  • Presentation and workshop at Tunis University (2022). Presentation title: Street Art, Festivity and The Politics of Possession in The Moroccan Urban Space.

  • Presentation at Marburg University (2021). Presentation title: The Aesthetics of the Margin: Vernacular Art Communities in Morocco

  • "A New Covid-Reality?: Philosophy's Voice In and For the Crisis" By COCO I (2021). Paper name: COVID-19: Knowing our Disasters Through Memesis.

  • Land Conference at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (2019). Paper name: When Archeology Meets its Arc: The Soil and Its Diggers in Times of Precariousness.
Research Interests

  • Cultural Studies
  • Ethnography
  • Youth Activism
  • Diaspora
  • Literature