Book Launch: Jerusalem In World War I, by Roberto Mazza

Readers in Jerusalem might be interested in attending a talk by our member Roberto Mazza at the Kenyon Institute on 28 October 2015.

Roberto will discuss his book Jerusalem in World War I: the Palestine Diary of a European Consul with noted scholar Salim Tamari, to mark its publication in paperback.

If Jerusalem is less convenient, you can view an earlier talk about the book by Roberto on Youtube.

Jerusalem in World War I presents the diaries of a young diplomat, Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita, better known as Conde de Ballobar, who was sent to Jerusalem to take charge of the city’s Spanish consulate after the break out of World War I. Ballobar recorded the events he witnessed and described his experiences and opinions in a unique document that has become an invaluable resource for historians. His diary provides an unparalleled insight into late Ottoman Jerusalem – and the upheavals of wartime life in the city – and includes a detailed account of the battle amongst the local churches over control of the city’s holy places. Also touching upon the spread of Zionism and the establishment of British rule, Ballobar writes as a privileged observer of an exceptionally complex historical period.

Roberto Mazza earned his PhD from SOAS in 2007, and he has been recently appointed Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick (Ireland). His other publications include Jerusalem from the Ottomans to the British (2009) and a chapter on the Nebi Musa Riots in Urban Violence in the Middle East: Changing Cityscapes in the Transition from Empire to Nation State (2015, U. Freitag, N Fuccaro and C Ghrawi, Eds.).

Salim Tamari is a sociologist senior fellow at Institute for Palestine Studies and former director of the IPS-affiliated Institute of Jerusalem Studies. He is editor of Jerusalem Quarterly and Hawliyyat al Quds, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.  Recent publications include: Year of the Locust: Palestine and Syria during WWI (2010); Ihsan’s War: The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Soldier (2008); and The Mountain Against the Sea (2008).

The launch will take place at the Kenyon Institute, 15 Mount of Olives Road, Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem (Next to the Gallery Cafe), on 28th Oct. 2015, 6.30pm.

A flyer can be downloaded here, and further information is available on the website of the Council for British Research in the Levant.

Jerusalem Interrupted: Modernity and Colonial Transformation, 1917-Present

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.

Thanks to Roberto Mazza for drawing our attention to this book on Twitter.

Hannah Boast

Ottoman Cosmopolitanism Masterclass on Transcultural Ottoman Memories, London, 29 November

The AHRC-funded Ottoman Cosmopolitanism network is hosting a masterclass for postgraduate and early career researchers on the topic of ‘Transmedial/Transcultural Memories: Points of Convergence’, which may be of interest to researchers working on Ottoman Jerusalem. The deadline for applications is 15 October, so get writing!

The following is reblogged from the Ottoman Cosmopolitanism blog:

Transmedial/Transcultural Memories: Points of Convergence

London, Saturday 29 November 2014

The Ottoman Cosmopolitanism Network is pleased to present a free half-day masterclass on the topic of transmedial/transcultural Ottoman memories for postgraduate students and early career researchers (who have completed their PhD for no more than 3 years), led by theorist of postmemory, Marianne Hirsch (Professor, Columbia University) and archivist/creator of aka Kurdistan, Susan Meiselas (Magnum photographer). The class will focus on the ways in which transcultural memories becomes crucially translated across various media, including trans-modal forms, e.g. in combination with websites and books, films and exhibitions. The class will also explore the nature of disputed memories and representations of particular attachments to land and place in spite of histories of trauma and exile. While not mandatory to attend, the second half of the day will be dedicated to performances by storytellers and cultural activists who practise differing creative modalities of articulating transcultural Ottoman memories.

Due to the interactive nature of the masterclass, there are only 25 positions available. In order to apply, please fill out the below application form. If accepted, you will be expected to produce of a poster (A4 size fine) which best represents your research and its relation to the central themes of the class. The poster (which will be shared in the class) must include (a) a maximum 300-word description of your current research and how it relates to the topic of the class, and (b) any kind of visual representation of your research: images, diagrams, etc. You may choose to include your poster as part of your application. Applications are encouraged from any field of discipline and do not need to be practice-based. Applicants should also be aware that there will be a small amount of required reading by Hirsch and Meiselas (which will be provided through email) before the class.

Click on the following link for the Ottoman Masterclass Application Form, which is due by 15 October 2014. For a pdf version, click here.

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.

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: https://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.

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.

Vincent Lemire and Jerusalem’s ‘age des possibles’

lemireBy Claire Gallien

French historian Vincent Lemire, well-known for his work on hydropolitics in Jerusalem, published  a book last year on the history of Jerusalem in the late Ottoman period (1860-1930). The book entitled, Jérusalem, 1900. La Ville sainte à l’age des possibles, has lately been reviewed on the French website ‘La Vie des Idées’ by Dominique Trimbur.

The book ties up with the secondary literature on archiving Jerusalem and Ottoman Palestinian life, which we read for our first workshop. The review also has a note with recent historiography on Jerusalem published in English, including the works of David Kushner, Roberto Mazza, Michelle Campos, Abigail Jacobson, Tom Segev, and Henry Laurens.

Most importantly, as highlighted in Trimbur’s review, the book provides new perspectives on a history of the city ‘from below’ and questions slanted views regarding the various Jerusalemite communities and the relations between local and central authority in the late Ottoman period.

I have put together a very brief summary in English of the review’s most salient points. Continue reading