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.
3A. Moha ben Driss and Ensemble. (El Hajeb, Middle Atlas, Beni Mitr Tribe) Amimmi
Recorded in Aïn
Diab, Morocco on August 1, 1959 by Paul Bowles
antiphonal nature of this piece is difficult to hear, since
sing the same notes in the same register.
The Ain ed Diab
two excessively hot sultry days, and the tent in which they took place,
although open to
was low-ceiling and made of a heavy, soft material, so that the air inside was
stifling. Both spectators and performers
were crowded tightly together among divans and piles of cushions, and there
the strenuous dancing which took place.
Blocking the entrance was an unmoving mob trying to peer into the tent . Perhaps because of
all t his, my
general impression of the sessions was that everything would have been better if
been a little air
breathe. The music itself seem to
muffled and lifeless sonority, an impression I cannot guarantee, of course, to
be entirely objective."
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