Michael A. Toler has been the Archnet Content Manager since September 2012. Since July 2018 he has been Interim Program Head of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (AKDC@MIT). Prior to that he served as the program Director for the Al Musharaka Initiative of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education. Michael was responsible for 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 received a PhD 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 Board Member and Secretary of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies.
“In El Baz Ouchen, a folk baliad about a jackal, Rais Ahmed was at his most engaging. He had arranged his men on a rug under a tamarisk tree; at one point he clapped his hands for tea to be brought for them, and at that point he announced his intention of singing this particular piece. When it was played back to him, he had a fit of laughter which so affected him that he fell over backwards and had to be helped back into a sitting position by the other musicians. The entire courtyard of soldiers also found it highly amusing. No one volunteered, however, to translate the Chleuh* text into Arabic for us.
“El Maya dial Chtah is a traditional dance number, indistinguishable from those which can be heard in the Djemâa el Fna of Marrakech late in the afternoon when the troupes of Chleuh boys assemble and put on their daily show of dance and song.
* Or more correctly: Tachelhit
Bowles, Paul F. "Tiznit." in Folk, Popular, and Art Music of Morocco. The Paul Bowles Moroccan Music Collection. Washington, DC: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 1959-1962.
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.