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Crafting an Identity: Landscape and Urbanism in Almohad Marrakesh

Abbey Stockstill, Harvard University, Tyler Fellow 2016–2018

I spent my first year developing the “urban” chapter of my dissertation, which focuses on the organization of the twelfth-century royal district in Marrakesh under the first Almohad caliph. This research centered on an examination of the historical and archaeological records of a large garden complex known as the Agdal and a public square, or raḥba. The second year I spent in Paris, where I worked at the Bibliothèque nationale de France to complete my dissertation, focusing on the landscape of the Atlas Mountains and its relationship with a local pilgrimage site as embodying the complex ethnic and sectarian identity of the Almohad dynasty. I also visited medieval sites in and around Europe that helped to broaden my knowledge of the architectural dialogue of the Mediterranean basin, a key element in my intellectual methodology.