Dr. Gwyneth Talley is a visual and cultural anthropologist who focuses on the intersections of gender, kinship, sport/leisure, and human/animal relationships in the Middle East and North Africa. She is interested in multispecies ethnography and the connection between environment, animals, and humans. She is a Fulbright Alumna, National Geographic Explorer, and National Geographic Expert for Morocco.
Research and Current Projects
I am currently working on my first book project, entitled “Gunpowder Women: Playing in Morocco’s Traditional Horse Sport.” It is based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco. I argue that women become exceptional figures through their involvement in the traditional tbourida sporting arena. Through visual ethnography, I document the unique ways these women utilize religion, kinship, and social networks to create agency for themselves in these male-dominated spheres. A history of female participation in the sport focuses on the loss of the national women’s trophy class and how the female riders adapted to the new political and social circumstances. They not only forged all-female exhibitions at local events, but also parlayed their tbourida experience into other male-dominated hobbies like hunting, or jobs such as serving in the mounted police, or as jockeys in regulated horse racing.
My next project focuses on North African Muslim women athletes in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This research asks how female athletes negotiate space for themselves within networks of power in local, national, and global contexts. By examining female athletes and their life experiences, I will analyze lived experiences of negotiating cultural and political expectations, and challenge assumptions regarding sporting culture, government influence, and gender expectations for Morocco and the greater North African region.
ANTH 110 – Introduction to Anthropology
ANTH 212 – Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 189H – Honors: Sports, Games, and Leisure: The Anthropology of Getting Fit & Chilling Out
ANTH 410 – Gender: An Anthropological Approach
ANTH 472 – Belief Systems: Animism to Zombies
GLST 201 – Introduction to Global Studies
GLST 495 – Global Studies Capstone
SOCI 217 – Race & Ethnicity
Talley, Gwyneth. 2020. "Human-Horse Relationships in Morocco: What Equids Can Tell Us About Society." Hespéris-Tamuda 55 (4):319-337
Talley, Gwyneth U. J. 2020. "Exceptional horsewomen: navigating the Moroccan equestrian sport of tbourida." The Journal of North African Studies:1-22.
Talley, Gwyneth. 2019. “Photo Essay: Galloping Horses and Gunpowder Women.” Anthropology News. May/June.
Talley, Gwyneth U.J. 2017. "Chapter 12, Tbourida: Performing Traditional Equestrianism as Heritage Tourism in Morocco." In Equestrian Cultures in Global & Local Contexts, edited by Miriam Adelman & Kirrilly Thompson, 219-240. New York: Springer.
Talley, Gwyneth. September 2016. Inside Morocco’s Wild Game of Horses, Riders, and…A Puppet? National Geographic Explorer’s Blog.
Talley, Gwyneth. December 2015. Jesus and Muhammed Share a Birthday for the First time in 457 Years. National Geographic Changing Planet Blog.