Michael A. Toler has been the Archnet Content Manager since September 2012. He also served as Interim Program Head of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (AKDC@MIT) from July 2018 to April 2020.
Michael has been involved in the digital humanities since the mid-1990s. From 2001-2010 he served as the Program Director for the Al Musharaka Initiative of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education. Michael was responsible for the development of content for the Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource, and for coordinating inter-institutional, collaborative endeavors of faculty, librarians, and technologists using technology to enhance teaching and research on topics relating to Islam, the Middle East, and North Africa. Michael has contributed more than 3,500 images to Archnet, and creates most of the help videos and user guides. He is particularly proud of collaborations with the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) and other institutions, including Wellesley College and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress to bring online the glass negatives from TALIM's collection showing Tangier, Morocco, Algeria, Spain, and Frace in the period from roughly 1890 to 1930, and the nearly 70 hours of Moroccan music recorded in 1959 by Paul Bowles.
Michael received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in Translation Studies from Binghamton University (SUNY), after teaching in Morocco at L'Ecole Supérieure Roi Fahd de Traduction and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. He also holds an MA and BA in English from New York University and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. He has published and lectured extensively on digital pedagogy and scholarship, as well as the literature, history, cinema, music, and cyberspace of the Maghreb, and the Middle East more widely.
Michael is Secretary of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), and serves on the board or advisory groups of numerous academic societies and cultural institutions.
"Hamadi ben Boyout was obviously not of the same racial antecedents as all but one of the girls; he was a Negro, while they were of Arab and Arabo-Be rber extraction. Souqaina; whose drumming can be heard on Reel 7B, turned out to be better as a dancer than as a drummer. The woman named Mahjouba (these names the women use are not necessarily their true names; as "artistes" they have the right to pseudonyms) ) was the racial exception; she too was of Negro extraction. Her sung duet with ben Boyout in number 1 on this reel is proof that they shared the same vocal tradition. Unhappily she refused to remove the voluminous veils which covered her mouth and most of her face, so that it was difficult to catch her singing, and she did not like the idea of having the microphone held in front of her. The drum used by ben Boyout was unique in my experienqe. Shaped like a cooking pot, it measured about thirty inches in diameter and stood a foot high, with brilliantly colored designs painted on the membrane. Its volume was excessive for indoor use, and for this reason in the recordings its sound somewhat covers the voices and hand-clapping. I think this defect could have been obviated partially, had we been able to have the performers out-of-doors, but this did not appear to be possible. And it might have been just as overpowering outside as it was in." Source:
The Paul Bowles Moroccan Music Collection (AFC 1960/001), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Courtesy of the Paul Bowles Estate and Irene Hermann / Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies