About & contact info

At the Agdal Gardens in Marrakech

I am a Professor of Geography at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, where I have been teaching since 1998. I was born in Turkey. I hold a BSc and an MSc in Geography from Université du Québec à Montréal and a PhD in Islamic Studies from McGill University (1996).

I am a cultural and urban geographer with an interest in the Muslim world, and in Muslim Africa in particular. Most of my research has focused on contemporary urban processes in Senegal, and especially on the Murid holy city of Touba. I have also studied cultural heritage, tourism, and urban planning in Morocco. I publish in both English and French. Much of my research involves cartographic analysis at a variety of scales, so my publications usually include maps and site plans which I have drawn. In addition, I occasionally supply maps for other people’s scholarly publications, and I translate academic texts from French to English.

At Al Akhawayn University, I teach a range of geography courses as well as courses in research methodologies. Many of these courses require field trips. Some of these are in and around Ifrane, in the Middle Atlas Mountains, which is centrally located in Morocco. Other trips are further afield. These include the cities of Fez, Meknes, Marrakech and Rabat, as well as the archeological site of Volubilis and the Tafilalet Oasis.

When I am not in the field with groups of students I like to travel across Morocco and abroad for personal pleasure. Apart from extended bouts of field work conducted in Senegal and Morocco, I have visited Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. While traveling I am especially prone to do “urban trekking,” exploring historic cities (Fez, Marrakech, Istanbul, Bursa, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, etc.) as well as some very modern ones (such as Casablanca and Dubai). I am also keen on visiting shrines wherever I go.

Contact information

Eric Ross
P.O. Box 1889, Al Akhawayn University
104 Avenue Hassan II
Ifrane, 53 000, Morocco
tel.: (+212) 535 86 24 81
fax: (+212) 535 86 29 77

15 Responses to About & contact info

  1. Patrick Berger says:

    Pas mal le blog!!!

  2. celine malkhasyan says:

    very nice blog!

  3. ousmane ndiaye says:

    hi,i appreciate the work you do on the tariqa tijinnyah,i am a disciple of SHEIKH IBRAHIM NIASS aka BAYE NIASS FROM KAOLACK CITY.I just finished writing a guide book on : “MEDINA BAYE NIASS :A UNIVERSAL RELIGIOUS CITY”
    In that book i talk about the tijannyah,the fayda and the integration that SHEIKH IBRAHIM MADE AMONG THE african countries.

  4. Matt Chanoff says:

    Thanks for your blog. I’ve just returned from Pire Gouray, north of Thies in Senegal, where my son is living for a year. We visited the Koranic school, and also a shrine across the street, on the grounds of the relatively new mosque. The shrine is a small enclosure around a piece of wood that may be the remains of a small tree stump or a just a buried stick. It’s looks like a piece of driftwood, since it’s been worn smooth by people touching it, and is about half a meter high and 30 centimeters around, shaped a little bit like a snake or a dolphin.

    The story they told us about the shrine was that “400 or 600 years ago,” the town and the religious school were attacked by white people, and the clerics buried their Korans under the stump before fleeing, and were able to return and retrieve them later and reestablish the school.

    I’m wondering whether the event was really in the 1860s. I’d appreciate hearing if you know anything about it.

    • Dear Matt,

      Thanks for sharing you field observations.Local memory often contradicts documented history, and not just in Pire Gouray. Muslim clerics are not likely to leave their Korans behind if they have to flee a conflict. Trees (rather than buildings) often harbored Koranic schools so I suspect this weathered tree stump shrine represents that (rather than buried Korans). The traditions of Pire maintain that the place remained inviolate in war from the time it was founded (17th cent.) until the French destroyed it in the 1860s. I bought a very good history book about Pire in Dakar. I can send you the reference if you would like.


  5. Bernard Delgado says:

    puis-je faire une remarque en français ?
    Tout d’abord, bravo pour votre panorama. Pour avoir travaillé sur l’urbanisme et l’architecture à Casablanca, je souhaite rectifié une erreur couramment commise qui attribue la réalisation du quartier des Habous de Casablanca à Albert Laprade. Si c’est bien lui qui a été pressenti dans un premier temps, il a très vite quitté Casablanca et le Maroc et ce sont deux autres architectes qui ont conçu et réalisé ce quartier : Auguste Cadet et Edmond Brion ensemble de 1918 à 1935, puis Auguste Cadet a continué seul jusqu’en 1953. On lui doit également et vous en parlez très bien, la Mahkama du Pacha dans ce même quartier.
    Très cordialement,
    Bernard Delgado (bernard.delgado@gmail.com)

    • Bonjour Bernard,
      Merci pour l’exactitude de votre contribution. Je l’ai copié en “comments” à la fin de l’article sur l’architecture de Casablanca, et j’ai rectifié le texte. Aussi, avec un collègue, je travail actuellement à cartographier trois “cités ouvrières” (Lafarge, Socica & Cosuma) déssinées par Edmond Brion. Quand cette recherche sera publiée je compte afficher ces cartes sur mon blog.

      • Bernard Delgado says:

        ma compagne, Gislhaine Meffre, est la petite-fille de Edmond Brion et nous avons réalisé ensemble une biographie de son grand-père (et de son associé, Auguste Cadet). Une bonne partie de ce travail évoque les cités ouvrières de Brion et votre travail nous intéresse au plus haut point.
        Notre contribution : “Architecture marocaine du XXè siècle : Edmond Brion et Auguste Cadet” aux éditions Senso Unica – Mohammedia – déc. 2009.
        Si nous pouvons vous être d’une quelconque utilité, n’hésitez pas à nous solliciter.
        Très cordialement, Bernard

  6. Dear Mr Ross, Thank you for your insightful blog, I have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award. Bloggers can show each other appreciation by giving awards out. Have a look: https://bellaelhasan.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/real-neat-blog-award/

  7. smilebak2004 says:

    Salam prof Eric…your blog is very nice. I like to have access to your writing s on Islam…especially on Sufism and Sufi centres

  8. Dear Eric Ross
    I Amin England and I have a project
    I want to organise an exhibition of Cheikh Amadou Bamba
    I hope you have the possibility to help

    • Dear Issak Diawara,
      Thank you for contacting me with your invitation to contribute to an exhibition on Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba in England.
      I will gladly contribute. Please tell me more about your project. Usually, exhibitions about, and celebrations of Bamba outside of Senegal are organized by local Murid dahiras and national Keur Serign Touba associations. They can mobilize support nationally and get support from Touba. Are you in contact with these kinds of associations in England?
      Let us pursue this converse via regular email messaging.
      Regards and Ramadan Karîm.

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