Exhibition and Conference on ‘Custody of the Holy Land’, Jerusalem, 23 October 2014

Monastery of St Saviour, via Wikipedia.

Readers in Jerusalem may be interested in an exhibition and conference on the topic of ‘Custody of the Holy Land’ which is taking place at St Saviour’s Monastery on 23rd October.

The exhibition, MFH Manuscripta Franciscana Hierosolymitana’, will feature a selection of manuscripts from the collection of The Library of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, one of the libraries of the Franciscan Order. A digital catalogue of the over five hundred manuscripts in the entire collection is available online.

One of our network organisers, Dr Michele Campopiano (University of York) will deliver the conference keynote. It is entitled: ‘Writing the Holy Land: Manuscripts and Texts from the Franciscan Convent in Jerusalem (1333-1530 ca).’

Entrance to the exhibition and conference is free.

For more information, please use the following contact details:

Tel. +972 2 62 66 756 (Jerusalem); +39 0272342606 (Italy)

Email: bibliocts@custodia.org; creleb@unicatt.it

You can download the event poster here.

Bianca Kühnel: Jerusalem’s Imprint on the European Visual Memory, University of York, 11-12 November 2014

Eichstätt_IMG_1643You are invited to a public lecture and graduate seminar at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, as part of the York Medieval Centre Series:

Jerusalem’s Imprint on the European Visual Memory

Bianca Kühnel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

The lecture is an attempt to classify the manifold representations of Jerusalem in Christian medieval art and architecture, aiming to emphasize the turning points in their history. The dependence on one model, on one hand, and the broad geographical and historical distribution, on the other, have produced a unique artistic phenomenon that has yet to be deciphered in its complexity. The lecture will map some of the most representative Jerusalem sites in Europe in connection with the respective historical and political conditions of their foundation. The seminar will concentrate on a few test cases, asking if and how the local, particularistic features fit (or not) into the European network of Jerusalem representations.

Public Lecture, Tuesday 11 November 2014, 5.30pm, King’s Manor, K/133.

Graduate Seminar, Wednesday 12 November, 11.15am, King’s Manor, K/159.

The lecture is free and open to all. For the graduate seminar students should register their interest in attending by e-mailing Brittany Scowcroft (brittany.scowcroft@york.ac.uk).

Download the poster here.

Call for Papers: The Politics of Visual Translations of Jerusalem, History of Art, University of York, March 2015

The History of Art Department at the University of York is hosting a cross-period, interdisciplinary conference in March 2015 on ‘The Politics of Visual Translations of Jerusalem’. The Call for Papers is below, and you can download it as a PDF here.

Access to and sovereignty over the holy places of Jerusalem is a frequent source of political tension amongst the three Abrahamic faiths, while further discord has developed over the religious and secular identities of the city. There is no question that contemporary visualisations of Jerusalem are concerned with the political status and symbolism of Jerusalem as a divided city, disputed state capital and key issue for the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, despite acknowledgment of the deep historical roots of contemporary political conflicts in the Middle East, the political significance of earlier visual translations of Jerusalem has often escaped scholarly attention. This conference aims to address this important issue. It seeks to look across different historical periods, geographical boundaries and religious traditions to bring out the range of political ideas and agendas which underpin architectural translations, visual representations and physical relics of Jerusalem in Europe and beyond. Considering the ways in which Jerusalem and its holy places were imagined, visually represented, and replicated across the medieval, early modern and modern periods, the conference will ask: What political interests or regimes have become invested in the recreation of Jerusalem? How have local or wider political events impacted on Jerusalem translations and their histories, for example with regard to iconoclasm and politically motivated acts of vandalism and destruction? As such, the conference will examine political dimensions in the construction, use, appropriation, and reception history of visual translations of Jerusalem, seeking to establish a productive scholarly dialogue between place, period and political agenda.

Keynote lectures will be given by Achim Timmermann (University of Michigan) and Antony Eastmond (Courtauld Institute).

Papers are invited from researchers in the fields of history of art and architecture, politics, history, literature, religion, archaeology, and other relevant disciplines. Areas of particular interest include:

Jerusalem recreations and the definition of nations, states, empires, cities and peoples

Political regimes: the recreation of Jerusalem at centres of power and within political territories; the importance of Jerusalem for the self or public image of rulers

Current events: the role of visual translations of Jerusalem in political debates, polemics, propaganda, and political movements; Jerusalem sites as places of political resistance or rebellion

The politics of performance, exhibition and consumption

The use or reuse of Jerusalem sites as memorials

The politics of loss: destruction or neglect of Jerusalem translations

Please send an abstract of up to 300 words to Laura Slater (jerusalemeuropeconference@gmail.com). Deadline for submission of proposals is 10 October 2014. Limited funding is available to help cover external speakers’ travel and accommodation expenses. Please let us know in your email if you require funding. The conference is organized in the context of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/20072013)/ ERC grant agreement no.249466.

For further information see: https://www.york.ac.uk/historyofart/ visualtranslationsjerusalem/

Filming Israel/Palestine: The Honourable Woman

Hugo Blick’s The Honourable Woman (BBC2), starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as the would-be peacemaking heir to an Israeli family’s arms fortune, is a rare example of British TV taking on one of the riskiest subjects for a weeknight drama: the Israel-Palestine conflict.

I say risky, because Israeli and Palestinian history and politics aren’t subjects that are familiar to British audiences, and which will produce reliably high viewing figures – they’re not Nordic Noir or The Great British Bake Off.

Israel/Palestine is also perhaps the archetypal topic on which venturing a comment can lead to frenzied justifications, backtracking and speedy regrets, as reporters and many celebrities found during in a summer which saw Israel launch devastating attacks on the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. In a way, it’s surprising that The Honourable Woman made it onto our screens this summer at all, and wasn’t held back for a less volatile time – although perhaps someone made the calculation that it’s a show which might benefit from being topical (as it did).

Beyond news programmes, Peter Kosminsky’s Channel 4 drama The Promise (2011) has been the only recent UK programme to take on Israel/Palestine (although see our member Anna Bernard’s 2012 article ‘Consuming Palestine’ for a survey of Israel/Palestine in British theatre and American popular culture, where it’s more prominent).

So, while The Honourable Woman isn’t about our topic of Jerusalem as such, it’s worth thinking more about how it represented Israelis, Palestinians, and the conflict, given its level of influence, which will have been extended by viewers seeking deeper explanations for the recent increase in tension (and, I’d less charitably suggest, hoping to look clever in the pub).

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CFP: Sharing the Holy Land: Perceptions of Shared Sacred Spaces (London, June 12-13 & Leeds, July 6-9, 2015)

Hannah Boast:

A Call for Papers and Symposium that sound very relevant to our network interests. The deadline for the CFP is 12 September, so if you want to submit a paper, you’ll need to act quickly!

Originally posted on Medieval Art Research:

Call for Papers:
Sharing the Holy Land: Perceptions of Shared Sacred Spaces
International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 6-9 July 2015
Deadline: 12 September 2014

A symposium, Sharing the Holy Land: Perceptions of Shared Sacred Space in the Medieval and Early Modern Eastern Mediterranean will be held at The Warburg Institute, in London on 12-13 June 2015, featuring keynote speakers, Prof. Bernard Hamilton, Prof. Benjamin Kedar, and Prof. Ora Limor. See http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/events/colloquia-2014-15/sharing-the-holy-land/ for information.
detail-of-middle-eastholy-land-on-mainz-world-map-c-1110

Following on this, three sessions are being organized for the International Medieval Conference to be held at Leeds on 6-9 July, 2015. The three sessions seek to address how both Western pilgrims, and the indigenous Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Levantine populations perceived the sharing of religious shrines with other faiths. Of particular interest is how this sharing was described and explained in contemporary accounts and how this influenced the knowledge of other faiths among the Semitic religions…

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Professor Nabil Matar added as keynote speaker at ‘Remembering Jerusalem’ conference

We are delighted to announce that Professor Nabil Matar, of the University of Minnesota, will join us at ‘Remembering Jerusalem: Imagination, Memory, and the City’ on 6-7 November, to deliver a keynote lecture.

Professor Matar is renowned for his research on relations between early modern Britain, Western Europe, and the Islamic Mediterranean. His many book projects include the recently published British Captives in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: 1563-1760 (Brill, Leiden, 2014), Through the Eyes of the Beholder: The Holy Land, 1517-1713 (Brill, Leiden, 2013),  with Judy Hayden, and a forthcoming abridged, translated and introduced edition of An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean: Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Miknasi, 1779-1788 (Routledge, 2015).

In recognition of his “pioneering scholarship on the relationship between Islamic civilisation and early modern Europe,” Professor Matar was given the Building Bridges award at the University of Cambridge in 2012.

Professor Matar’s lecture will be entitled “Sufi Jerusalem in Arabic Pilgrimage Accounts, 13th-18th Centuries”. We will share more details in an abstract in the near future, and are very much looking forward to welcoming Professor Matar to King’s College London.

3,000 photos of Middle East from 1867-1914 now online

Stereoscopic view of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem.

Stereoscopic view of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem.

The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) has recently digitised 3,000 photographs of the Middle East from the Maison Bonfils collection, dating from 1867-1914.

The collection includes many images of Jerusalem and Palestine, including the photograph of Al-Aqsa Mosque featured above.

As the project overview explains, these photographs are a small selection from a vast archive of 40,000 photographs produced by the French Bonfils family, who in 1867 established the first photographic studio in Beirut, which they named ‘Maison Bonfils’.

The archive is currently under threat, given that it is not housed in an institution which will secure its future, while its contents are not catalogued, and difficult to navigate.

The creation of a database of the photographs by the EAP will provide a useful resource for scholars, while preserving this valuable heritage from the Ottoman Middle East. It’s also a fascinating archive to browse through, for a glimpse of a familiar region at a very different time.

Via Cathy Collins of the EAP, on Twitter.