"Morocco mission aims to build bridges and silence scepticism" (News, 28 June) stated that Maghrebi studies have been neglected in the UK academy. This is incorrect: they have been flourishing since the 1950s.
After the independence of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, Maghrebi studies became an interest of a number of high-profile British scholars, including Ernest Gellner, Albert Hourani, Robin Bidwell and David Seddon. In my Abstracts of English Language Theses on Morocco 1928-2000, I list more than 100 PhD theses presented at British universities on the subject: one notable example, Frederick V. Parsons' University of London PhD in 1954 on "The Morocco Question (1880-1892)", was later published by Duckworth as The Origins of the Morocco Question 1880-1900 (1976).
Gellner, Ken Brown, Michael Brett, Keith Sutton and I founded the Maghreb Studies Association in 1981 precisely to promote the subject worldwide. Next year's MSA conference, Colonial Heritage in the Middle East and the Maghreb: the Shaping of Hopes and Perspectives, will take place at Mansfield College, Oxford on 24 and 25 June.
Mohamed Ben-Madani, Editor, The Maghreb Review