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Abdelkebir Khatibi

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Abdelkebir Khatibi
Born(1938-02-11)11 February 1938
Died16 March 2009(2009-03-16) (aged 71)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Paris
ThesisLe roman maghrébin d'expression arabe et française depuis 1945 (1965)
Doctoral advisorAlbert Memmi

Abdelkebir Khatibi (Arabic: عبد الكبير الخطيبي) (11 February 1938 – 16 March 2009) was a prolific Moroccan literary critic, novelist, philosopher, playwright, poet, and sociologist. Affected in his late twenties by the rebellious spirit of 1960s counterculture, he challenged in his writings the social and political norms upon which the countries of the Maghreb region were constructed. His collection of essays Maghreb pluriel is one of his most notable works.


Khatibi was born on 11 February 1938, in the Atlantic port city of El Jadida. By the age of 12, he began to write poems, in Arabic and French, which he sent to the radio and newspapers.[1] He studied in the French colonial school system, at Lycée Lyautey.[2] He earned his doctorate in sociology under the Tunisian intellectual Albert Memmi at the Sorbonne in 1965.[3][2] His dissertation, Le Roman maghrébin [The Maghribian Novel], which examines the question of how a novelist could avoid propagandizing in the context of a postrevolutionary society, and its follow-up, Bilan de la sociologie au Maroc [Assessment of Sociology Concerning Morocco] were both published shortly after the Paris Spring unrest of May 1968.

He taught at Mohammed V University in Rabat and worked as a director of the Institut de sociologie (Institute of Sociology) from 1966 until the institute's closure in 1970.[4][2] In 1968, Roland Barthes was in Rabat and befriended and was influenced by Khatibi.[5]

He was editor-in-chief of the journal Bulletin économique et social du Maroc; he renamed it Signes du présent in 1987.[2] His landmark collection of critical essays Maghreb pluriel was published in 1983.[2]

He was a member of the Moroccan Communist Party and participated in the student activist organization the National Student Union of Morocco [fr].[2]

Final years[edit]

In his later years, Abdelkebir Khatibi had been suffering from a chronic cardiac condition which led to his death in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, five weeks after his 71st birthday. During the final stages of his illness, a measure of the high regard in which he was held was seen in the personal concern of King Mohammed VI who directed his transfer to Morocco's premier medical facility, Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

Khatibi is survived by his widow and their two children.

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 1977: Prix Broquette-Gonin for his work L’art calligraphique arabe
  • 1994: Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises
  • 1997: Prix Grand Atlas for his work Du Signe à l’image, le tapis marocain (co-author Ali Amahan)
  • 2008: Grand Prix SGDL de Poésie for his work Poésie de l'aimance

Partial bibliography[edit]

Letter collections[edit]

  • Le même livre (in French). co-author Jacques Hassoun. Editions de l'Eclat. 1985. ISBN 978-2-905372-04-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)




  • La Mort des artistes [The Death of the Artists] (1964)
  • Le Prophète voilé [The Veiled Prophet] (1979)


  • Le lutteur de classe à la manière taoïste [The Fighter of Class in the Taoist Manner]. Paris: Sindbad. 1979.
  • De la mille et troisième nuit. Éditions marocaines et internationales. 1980.
  • Dédicace à l'année qui vient. Éditions Fata Morgana. 1986.


  • Bilan de la sociologie au Maroc. Rabat. 1968.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Pouvoir et administration: études sur les élites maghrébines. Paris: CNRS. 1970.
  • Études sociologiques sur le Maroc [Sociological Studies Regarding Morocco] (1971)

Writings on Abdelkebir[edit]


  1. ^ Rousseau, Christine (2009-03-25). "Abdelkébir Khatibi, philosophe, sociologue et romancier". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Fernández Parilla, Gonzalo. "al-Khaṭībī, ʿAbd al-Kabīr". Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_com_35502. Retrieved 2022-12-15.
  3. ^ Kelly, Debra (2005). Autobiography and Independence: Selfhood and Creativity in North African Postcolonial Writing in French. Liverpool University Press. pp. 205-206. ISBN 978-0-85323-659-7.
  4. ^ Déjeux, Jean (1984). Dictionnaire des auteurs maghrébins de langue française (in French). KARTHALA Editions. p. 242. ISBN 978-2-86537-085-6.
  5. ^ R. Barthes, « Ce que je dois à Khatibi », Œuvres complètes, T. V, Paris, Seuil, 2002.

External links[edit]