SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Cristiana Strava

BA (Hons) Harvard, MARes (Distinction) SOAS
  • Overview


Cristiana Strava
Ms Cristiana Strava
Email address:
Thesis title:
At Home with Modernity: Exploring Place-making on the Margins of Casablanca.
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Anthropology of urban space and architecture, post-colonialism, material culture, phenomenology, anthropology of the state.

PhD Research

My project explores the everyday lives and struggles of those living in Hay Mohammadi, a marginalized and criminalized neighborhood in Casablanca. Hay Mohammadi, formerly known as Carrières Centrale, has become a mythical neighborhood in the history of Morocco. Home to North Africa's oldest and largest slum still in existence today, Hay Mohammadi served as a laboratory for experimentation with social housing at the height of the modernist movement.

Famous for its dynamic labor unions that played a crucial role in the anti-colonial struggle, the neighborhood fell into disfavor during the reign of King Hassan II, whose response to protest and contestation was machine gun fire and the creation of an infamous torture prison in the neighborhood (Slymovics 2008, Takki 2012). A new wave of trauma hit Hay Mohammadi following the suicide bombings perpetrated in 2003 and 2007 by youth from a nearby slum. The neighborhood has since become the target of an emergency slum clearance program that has entailed the contested relocation of thirty thousand inhabitants to a district outside the city’s limits. Meanwhile, those who remain continue to struggle with decrepit living spaces, pollution and street crime.

Based on fifteen months of fieldwork that combine a variety of sensorial and multi-media methodologies, this project will present an experiential account of how inhabitants on the margins of Casablanca interact and respond to the re-territorialization of the state, and develop new forms of agency and contestation rooted in the practice of everyday dwelling.


  • Forthcoming. "At home on the margins: care giving and the ‘unheimlich’ amongst Casablanca’s poor." in City and Society.
  • 2013. "L'appropriation de la modernite a Hay Mohammadi," in Architecture du Maroc, July-August (56), Archimedia: Casablanca.


  • 2014 – “Urban Space, Youth and Social Transformations” EUME Summer Academy, August 25th – September 5th, Rabat, Morocco.
  • 2014 – "Ana al-hay: living with the ruins of modernity on the margins of Casablanca," 14th Annual Anthropology and Sociology Association: Decennial Conference, 19-22nd June, Edinburgh.
  • 2013 – "From Trame to Tram: Casablanca and the (Re)ordering of Marginality," International RC21 Conference, 29-31st August, Berlin.


  • PhD Research Fellow with the Max Planck Research Group "Objects in the Contact Zone-The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things", Florence, 2014-2015
  • Associate Researcher, Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat 2013-2014