Kaoutar Ghilani


Lady Margaret Hall


DPhil in Oriental Studies (Modern Middle Eastern Studies)



Educational Background:

2015-2017 Research Master's in Political Science - Political Theory at the Doctoral School of Sciences Po Paris — Paris, France
                      Cum Laude Distinction

2012-2015 Bachelor's in Social Sciences and Middle Eastern Studies at Sciences Po Paris (the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Undergraduate College) — Menton, France

                     Cum Laude Distinction

Research Interests:

My DPhil research studies language politics and nation-building in Morocco. It examines the discourses on Arabisation, the major language policy adopted after independence consisting in the replacement of French by Standard Arabic in schools, administrations, and courts. The thesis writes the history of the discourse on the failure of Arabisation by identifying historically the emergence of the idea of the failure of Arabisation and analysing the political, cultural, economic, and social reasons that allowed this discourse to move from a marginal to a dominant position in the Moroccan public sphere. Other research interests include modernity, genealogy, knowledge production, postcolonialism, and legitimacy.

Recent Publications:

Ghilani, Kaoutar (2020). “‘The Legitimate’ after the Uprisings: Justice, Equity, and Language Politics in Morocco.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. DOI: 10.1080/13530194.2020.1863772.

Ghilani, Kaoutar (2021). Review of The Moroccan Soul: French Education, Colonial Ethnology, and Muslim Resistance, 1912-1956 by Spencer D. Segalla. Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies, 12(1), 15-16. ISSN 2044-4109.

Ghilani, Kaoutar (2019). Review of Algérie, les écrivains dans la décennie noire by Tristan Leperlier. Review of Middle East Studies, 53(2), 397-400. DOI:10.1017/rms.2019.66.

Ghilani, Kaoutar (2019). Review of Les revendications amazighes dans la tourmente des “printemps arabes” : trajectoires historiques et évolutions récentes des mouvements identitaires en Afrique du Nord by Mohand Timatine and Thierry Desrues . The Journal of North African Studies, 25(4), 673-676. DOI:10.1080/13629387.2019.1638641.



University of Cambridge, Cambridge (June 2019)—University of Cambridge Nationalisms & Identities Research Group, ‘Through the Nation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Identities and Space’

                     Paper presented: “Approaching the Nation in Morocco: Language Politics as a Lens”


University of Cambridge, Cambridge (June 2019)—Cambridge Graduate Middle East Conference 2019, ‘Languages of Legitimation in the Middle East’
                    Paper presented: “Languages Standing for Justice: Approaching ‘the Legitimate’ through Discourses on Language after 2011 in Morocco”


University of Oxford, Oxford (May 2019)—Modern Maghreb Research Workshop, Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College
                    Paper presented: “Contested Definitions of a Consensual Idea: Arabisation in Post-Colonial Morocco”


Centre Jacques-Berque, Rabat (April 2019)
                    Paper presented: « Politique des Langues au Maroc : Apports d’une approche de théorie politique » (Language Politics in Morocco: the Benefits of a Political Theory Appproach)


King's College London, London (June 2018)—British Society for Middle Eastern Studies 2018 Annual Conference (June 2018), ‘New Approaches to Studying the Middle East’
                    Paper presented: “Approaching the Nation in the Maghreb: Language Politics as a Lens”


King's College London, London (June 2018)—Languages Memory Conference, organised by the AHRC-funded project ‘Language Acts and Worldmaking’
                    Paper presented: “Questioning the Coloniality of a Language: The Case of French in Contemporary Morocco”


University of Cambridge, Cambridge (April 2018)—‘Who’s Who: Contested Identities and Conflicting Alliances in the Shadow of the Arab Uprisings’
                    Paper presented: “Languages Standing for Justice: Approaching ‘the Legitimate’ through Discourses on Language after 2011 in Morocco”


University of Al-Akhawayn, Ifrane (April 2018)—Graduate Student Workshop at Al-Akhawayn University
                    Paper presented:  “Languages Standing for Justice: Approaching ‘the Legitimate’ through Discourses on Language after 2011 in Morocco”


University of Oxford, Oxford (February 2018)— Ertegun House, ‘Language and Politics in the Maghreb’
                    Roundtable with Abdellatif Laâbi, Moroccan poet, and James McDougal,l modern and contemporary historian of North Africa, chaired by Khalid Lyamlahy


Kaoutar Ghilani