CFP: ‘Remembering Jerusalem: Imagination, Memory, and the City’, London, 6-7 Nov. 2014

Remembering Jerusalem: Imagination, Memory, and the City
6th-7th November
King’s College London

Organised by the AHRC-Funded Research Network ‘Imagining Jerusalem, 1099 to the Present Day’

Keynote speakers: Professor Anthony Bale (Birkbeck), Professor Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths).

Further keynotes TBA.

Perhaps the world’s most iconic city, Jerusalem exists both as a physical space and as a site of memory, ideas, and re-memberings. In art, literature, film, and history writing; in acts of public and private worship; and in communities across the globe, memories of Jerusalem have, for centuries, been created, invoked, and relived. This cross-period, interdisciplinary conference invites paper and panel submissions on the theme of Jerusalem and Memory, c. 1099 to the Present Day. Topics may include, but need not be limited to:

- techniques of memorialisation / techniques of memory
- place, space, and memory
- souvenirs, mementoes, and memory aids
- the materiality (or immateriality) of memory
- memory and sensation
- memory, land and environment
- memory and warfare
- memory and governance
- forgetting, false memory, and fictional remembering
- narrative and memory
- memory and the archive
- national, local, and transnational memories
- memory and community
- ethnography as remembering
- ritual, repetition, and performance
- sacred and secular memory

The organisers are particularly keen to receive panel submissions which address a shared theme across more than one discipline and/or historical period.

Abstracts of c. 300 words for single papers and c. 1000 words for panels consisting of three papers should be sent to imagining-jerusalem@york.ac.uk by 1st July 2014. For more details or inquiries, please contact the same address or visit the Network website: http://jerusalems.wordpress.com/

This conference is organised by the lead members of the Network: Dr Anna Bernard (KCL), Dr Michele Campopiano (York), Dr Helen Smith (York), Dr Jim Watt (York), and the Network Coordinator, Hannah Boast (York).

Download the Call for Papers.

The Franciscan Library and bookshop in Jerusalem

The Biblioteca Generale della Custodia di Terra Santa (General Library of the Custody of the Holy Land), taken by Michele Campopiano

Between the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, among the narrow and busy streets of the Holy City, there is a place which is remarkable for its peacefulness: the Franciscan Convent of San Salvatore. It is one of the convents of the Franciscan Custodia Terrae Sanctae. Following the example of the founder of the order Saint Francis, who visited the Holy Places, the Friars Minor have had a continuous presence in Jerusalem since the 14th century. They have welcomed and helped pilgrims since the Late Middle Ages, and they continue their function as ‘guardians’ of the Holy Places for the Catholic Church.

One of the first things a traveller will notice by entering the walls of the convent is the fascinating encounter of languages and forms of writing: Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian (the official language of the Custodia) and many other languages all resound among these ancient walls.

The Custodia is also an important centre of learning. It hosts the library Biblioteca Generale della Custodia di Terra Santa (the General Library of the Custody of the Holy Land), with its important patrimony of manuscripts and modern and ancient printed books.

The library is in a crucial phase of reorganisation and modernisation in order to improve the availability of the patrimony for scholars. Thanks to the kind hospitality of Father Lionel Goh, the director of the Library, and of the helpful employees of the Custodia, I have been able to spend a month in Jerusalem working on the medieval manuscripts of the Custodia. My research will be presented in full in a book I am writing about the history of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land between the 14th and 16th centuries. Some of the first results of my research will be presented in an article to be published in a collective volume edited in Italy by Franco Cardini.

The scholarly activity of the Franciscans themselves is expressed in particular by the work of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum which publishes extensively on biblical archaeology and exegesis, as well as on the history of the Holy Land. Many of the publications of the scholars of the institute can be found in the lovely Franciscan Corner- the Franciscan International Bookshop, near Jaffa Gate, in front of the Tower of David. In this bookshop the publications of the Franciscan Printing Press of Jerusalem and of the Edizioni Terrasanta of Milan, and other books on Biblical studies and the Holy Land and its history can be found. When you enter Jaffa look on your left side, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Michele Campopiano, University of York

British Library digitises 45 Hebrew manuscripts

The Golden Haggadah. Miriam and her maidens rejoicing (top right); distribution of haroset ('sweet meats') by the master of the house (top left); preparations for Passover (lower right and left). BL MS Add. 27210, f. 15r.

The British Library has recently announced the successful digitisation of 45 Hebrew manuscripts, including the London Codex, one of the oldest surviving Hebrew Bibles, and the Golden Haggadah, a richly illustrated account of the Passover story that originated in medieval Spain.

These manuscripts are just the first of 1250 from the Library’s extensive Hebrew Manuscript collection which will be digitised over the course of a three-year project which began last summer, funded by a grant from the Polonsky Foundation.

Read more – and view more images from the manuscripts - on the British Library Asian and African Studies blog.

Member publication: Anna Bernard, Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration and Israel/Palestine

Our network member Dr Anna Bernard, Lecturer in English Literature at King’s College London, recently published her first book, Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration and Israel/Palestine (Liverpool University Press, 2013).

The book ‘examines the diverse ways in which Palestinian and Israeli writers have responded to the expectation that their work will “narrate” the nation, invigorating critical debates about the political and artistic value of national narration as a literary practice.’ It explores the works of a range of Palestinian and Israeli writers, including Edward Said, Amos Oz, Mourid Barghouti, Orly Castel-Bloom, Sahar Khalifeh, and Anton Shammas.

Another of our members, Sarah Irving, PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh, recently reviewed Anna’s book for Electronic Intifada. You can read Sarah’s review here.

Jerusalem as Occidentalist cityscape in twelfth-century Bologna

 

Professor Anthony Bale, Birkbeck, University of London

Cross-posted from ‘Remembered Places’.

Many medieval copies of Jerusalem function at the level of metonymy: a part suggests the whole, a symbol evokes a distant and holy world. Sometimes a polygonal or round building or some crenelated battlements function as a shorthand reference to Jerusalem. Sometimes it was simply the Easter Sepulchre placed in church which once a year became the Jerusalem of Jesus’s death and resurrection. However, in the Italian city of Bologna, a remarkable landscape was crafted in which the urban fabric was Jerusalem, not only on a symbolic level but as lived, familiar space. The beautiful Nuova Gerusalemme at the church of Santo Stefano in Bologna has been much altered since its twelfth-century heyday, but it can still be visited and its Jerusalem-ish landscape appreciated.

Readers who want to know more about the historical and liturgical background of the Bologna site are referred to Robert Ousterhout’s 1980 article, from which much of my information is taken. I visited the site last week and in this post I share some of the thoughts I had about it.

The complex of churches existed since at least the sixth century and probably somewhat earlier, built over a Roman temple of Isis. At the centre was a round church dedicated to the Holy Sepulchre. In the twelfth century – in fact, within sixty years of the First Crusade of 1099, when the Crusaders successfully took Jerusalem – the chapels in Bologna were redesigned to ‘resemble’ Jerusalem. The San Sepulcro chapel (pictured above), with its distinctive ‘circular’ (polygonal) shape, was built c. 1100-1140 and continues to recall the main rotunda of the Anastasis at the Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Twelve columns (suggesting the deep significance of the number twelve: the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Twelve Apostles, etc.) are arranged around a copy of the medieval ‘aedicule’, the small tabernacle or booth at the site of Christ’s empty grave (pictured below). The exterior brickwork has further polychromatic polygonal designs in it, suggesting other mnemonic devices to recall the patterns and symbolism of the heavenly and earthly Jerusalem.

As well as the aedicule, within this round church there remains a medieval copy, in similitudine, of the column on which Jesus was scourged (pictured below), akin to the twenty-first century whipping post at the Holy Land park in Florida. The building reproduces the atmosphere and main sites of the Holy Sepulchre; it shows clearly how, at a period in which thousands of Crusaders were travelling to Palestine, their ideas, knowledge, and religious culture was also travelling back to Europe.

One passes through the round church to Cortile di Pilato, a courtyard associated from the later Middle Ages with Pontius Pilate containing an ancient well (in the first picture, above), recalling Pilate’s washing of his hands (Matthew 27). Off the courtyard once stood various other small chapels recalling biblical and quasi-biblical episodes of the Passion of Jesus: a prison-cell, a Calvary, a now-vanished chapel in similitudine marking the site of Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene.

The distance from the Calvary to the aedicule of the Resurrection is 42 meters; this is based on the specific proportions of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in which the distance between these sites is 41.6 meters (Ousterhout, p. 312).

As Ousterhout showed, the chapels and shrines photographed here were just a part of a bigger civic complex: at Easter, a dramatic liturgical procession took place, moving from the nearby church of St John on the Mount (now rebuilt, which played the role of the Church of the Ascension on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives) to the church of St Thekla (now demolished and replaced with a luxury fashion shop in a Baroque palazzo, the location mirrors Jerusalem’s Kidron Valley, the dedication to a saint especially popular in Palestine, Cyprus, and Lebanon). From St Thekla the procession continued to Calvary and the Holy Sepluchre at the Santo Stefano complex.

Based quite precisely on the dimensions of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as it was found, in a dilapidated state, by the crusaders, before they rebuilt it in the 1150s and ’60s, the complex sought to improve on the Holy Sites in the Holy Land, replaying holy space in a discontinuous but liturgically resonant cityscape. The Bologna complex, which Ousterhout says was ‘intended to be more than just a souvenir copy’, was an ambitious act of Occidentalism. By this I mean that it shows how the Eastern spaces being remodelled by the Crusaders in Palestine were generated in conversation with western European ideas of biblical history and liturgical memory. This was a western space developed by the West through its fantasies of the East; the East was then remade in this image. The Bologna complex continues to be a potent reminder of Jerusalem: or, should we say, Jerusalem continues to be a potent reminder of Bologna?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postscript: on the side of the Bologna complex is a recent piece of graffiti (below): the name ‘Salem’, the Latin name for Jerusalem. This is cognate with the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ (peace) but also recalls the earliest biblical name of Jerusalem, Salem (שלם; Genesis 14).

A ‘Culinary Love Affair’ with Israeli literature

Open kibbehA new lecture series in Jerusalem provides an unusual insight into Israeli literature by exploring the role of food in the novels of writers including Meir Shalev and Chaim Nachman Bialik, as well as in novels about Jerusalem.

The lectures are presented by Gil Hovav, a food journalist, TV personality and cookbook author, and Nir Zook, a celebrity chef, and are hosted by cultural centre Beit Avi Chai at The First Station, Jerusalem’s old railway station.

Hovav and Zook are interviewed about the series in Tablet magazine.

Imagining Jerusalem – reflections on our first workshop

Our first meeting as a network took place last month in York. We were really pleased to see our early hopes of making cross-period and interdisciplinary connections realised in some fascinating and thought-provoking conversations during the two days of the workshop, and hugely grateful to all the members who were able to make it, especially those who travelled long distances to join us.

I’ve tried to condense some themes from the workshop in the following post, but if you were at the workshop, please do comment with any further recurrent topics that you noticed. If you weren’t, we’d love to hear the ideas that you think we could explore in future.

We began the first day with 5-minute presentations from members on their interest in Jerusalem – an exercise that worked surprisingly well, with everyone keeping to time and offering some thought-provoking questions and ideas! This quick-fire conversation uncovered some interesting points of connection between different periods, geographical contexts and disciplines, and highlighted exciting new areas of research.

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