A new collection, Jerusalem Interrupted: Modernity and Colonial Transformation, 1917-present, edited by Lena Jayyusi and published by Interlink, examines the Arab history of the city.
The volume includes contributions from scholars Issam Nassar, Sandy Sufian, and Nadia Abu El-Haj, among others, and covers a wide range of topics, such as broadcasting, music, and colonial medicine.From Jayyusi in the Introduction:
The history of colonization is always the history of suppression of various texts and voices, as well as ways of being, and the reinscription into discourse and narrative of an alternate set of histories that are predicated on that suppression. ‘Absence’ is not merely docile, it is a produced deficit in knowledge, a kind of negative symbolic capital, a weight and value accruing to that which colonizes empty space. The silenced past needs to speak. The silenced past needs also to be reconnected with the vocal present, in order to speak fully and to play a critical role in subverting the silences planned in the present and the further transformations these silences would enable.
It looks like a fascinating book and there are certainly a few chapters I’ve bookmarked as ‘to read’.
Jerusalem Interrupted forms part of a small but growing field of studies on the city focusing on Arab culture and society in the Ottoman and Mandate periods, often relying on archives such as Islamic court documents, municipal council records, and family papers to reconstruct the details of everyday life.
This new collection sits alongside works by writers including Salim Tamari and most recently, Menachem Klein (whose book was reviewed here by British-Palestinian novelist Selma Dabbagh), as well as the work of Imagining Jerusalem network members Roberto Mazza and Jacob Norris.