Bab Zouina 2020

Fifth Annual Middle Bengali Retreat

August 4th-12th, 2020

CANCELED due to Covid-19  

This year we are holding the Middle Bengali Retreat at Bab Zouina, near Marrakech, Morocco ( The workshop will run from the 4th to the 12th of August, 2020. We will arrange for bus transportation from Marrakech to Bab Zouina and back.

The retreat aims to bring together scholars and advanced students of Bengali to read and discuss Middle Bengali texts. We will read a variety of texts from various periods and genres of premodern Bengali literature. We hope that participants benefit from the session leaders’ expertise and that the session leaders benefit from the participants’ feedback. Those involved are scholars of Bengal studies and graduate students; however, undergraduates with a firm commitment are also encouraged to apply.

The format will be similar to our past retreats and will include outings and reading texts outdoors. Each day, three ninety-minute reading sessions will be conducted. The readings will cover a wide range of Middle Bengali texts and a variety of genres (narrative, lyric, didactic) and periods (from the Bengali Sultanate to late Mughal/early colonial times). For those unfamiliar with Middle Bengali language, a general introduction on grammar, prosody and literary genres will be provided. Dictionaries and linguistic resources will be accessible as well. Advanced fluency in modern Bengali is expected. The list of session leaders and the detailed program will be out by mid-May 2020. We expect seven session leaders and about ten other participants.


Arrival: morning, Tuesday, August, 4th

Reading sessions start: Tuesday evening, August 4th

First outing and outdoor reading sessions: Friday 7th

Second outing and outdoor reading sessions: Monday 10th

Last session: morning, Wednesday, August 12th

Departure: evening, Wednesday, August 12th

Daily Schedule

NB: To adjust to the hot weather of Morocco in early August, sessions will take place early in the morning and evening. Afternoons will be free for individual or additional group studies, siesta, and relaxing.

07:00 – breakfast
08:00 – session 1
9:30 – tea/coffee/snacks
10:00 – session 2
13:00 – lunch
18:00 – session 3
20:00 – dinner

Logistics and Other Information

Accommodation, meals and most of the readings will be at Bab Zouina. The housing is simple, but clean, comfortable, and friendly. The participation fee includes room and board (3 meals a day, tea, snacks).

Note that the availability of single and double rooms is limited. The shared rooms have three to four beds. Most rooms have shared bathrooms. The many terraces and the gorgeous gardens of Bab Zouina offer plenty of occasions to enjoy calm and privacy.

The participants’ fees will be:

Shared room (3 beds):  $540 per participant for 8 days.

Double room:  $680 per participant for 8 days.

Single room: $816 per participant for 8 days.

A limited number of grants covering at least part of the accommodation fees will be provided by the Humanities Division of the University of Chicago. These grants will be awarded to the selected applicants in case of unsuccessful funding requests made to other institutions. You do not need to submit a separate application for these grants.

Before sending in your application form, please, take a moment to read Bab Zouina’s cancellation policy:
Cancellation fees will not be covered by the grants.

NB: Payments will be due two months before the retreat takes place. Details about the payment will be provided to the participants whose applications have been approved.


As noted above, we will provide transportation from Marrakech to Bab Zouina and back. It is important for all participants to use our transportation and not make their own arrangements. Participants, however, need to make their own arrangements for staying in, getting to and getting out of Marrakech.

All questions can be addressed to Thibaut d’Hubert:

Please, fill out and send the application form (click here to access the form) to the following address: 

Deadline for applications: January 15th, 2020

Organizing Committee:

Imre Bangha (University of Oxford)
Thibaut d’Hubert (University of Chicago)
Rebecca Manring (Indiana University, Bloomington)

The retreat is supported by: