Hi, I’m Stacy
“One of the great things about travel,” Edith Wharton said, “is you find out how many good, kind people there are.” I like to meet other folks when I travel and ask them about the past. Memories are like shadows, and the tools of the historian cast light on the events and conditions remembered and forgotten by those in the present.
I often construct place-driven narratives when I talk about historical process. I once showed how the Saharan climate influences political forces in Mauritania. On a lighter note, I explored fictive Arab kingdoms in contemporary romance novels by interviewing Harlequin authors who discussed their impressions of desert life.
But there is nothing more exciting than traipsing through back alleys and public parks in search of some sign of the past, whether it is a colonial mausoleum or an old mosque turned into a movie theatre. I explored Ottoman ruins in Thessaloniki and assessed the significance of the erasure of Islamic history in Greece. I traced the history of old water mills in Fez by walking along the now empty water canals and finding old grindstones that marked where they once had operated.
I hold a Ph.D. in history (Boston University, 2005) and am an Associate Professor at Purdue University. As seen in my CV, a number of grants and fellowships have supported the research that I have done in libraries in the US, Europe and North Africa. I have been a recipient of two Fulbright Grants, the Carter Manny Award and Purdue University Enhancing Research in Arts and Humanities Grant. I am the author of The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco (University Press of Florida, 2009) and A Documentary History of Modern Iraq (University Press of Florida, 2012). I have participated in national professional conferences and given talks internationally in Europe and North Africa.
Read the latest posts.
When I saw two photos of Edith Wharton visiting the Bahia Palace of Marrakesh, adrenaline rushed through me. I am a historian, so I constantly seek out new documents that illuminate the past. In these black and white photos, Wharton was with her best friend and traveling companion Walter van Rensselaer Berry as well as eleven other men and women. They had all traveled to the southern Sahelian city in October 1917, after visiting a colonial fair in Rabat. In a dark tailored suit with a veiled hat, Wharton cocked her head in a distinctive manner.
I had wanted—in fact, deliberately outlined—a triumphant ending to my book tracing Edith Wharton’s trip to Morocco in 1917. As a grad student in the 1990s and early-2000s, I had lived in Morocco and France and traveled to Egypt, Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania. This...
This week, I am living out a century-old prediction of Edith Wharton. In 1917, my Gilded Age doppelganger asserted that she was on “...a quick trip at a moment unique in the history of the country; the brief moment of transition between its virtually complete...