New Publication: Visual Constructs of Jerusalem, ed. by Kühnel, Noga-Banai and Vorholt

visualVisual Constructs of Jerusalem is a new volume of essays, edited by Bianca Kühnel, Galit Noga-Banai, and one of our network members at York, Hanna Vorholt.

Hanna has sent us some further details about the collection:

‘This volume brings together 44 articles by scholars from 15 different countries and is an outcome of the research project SPECTRUM Visual Translations of Jerusalem.

The special position of Jerusalem among the cities of the world stems from a long history shared by the three Abrahamic religions, and the belief that the city reflected a heavenly counterpart. Because of this unique combination, Jerusalem is generally seen as extending along a vertical axis stretching between past, present, and future. However, through its many ‘earthly’ representations, Jerusalem has an equally important horizontal dimension: it is represented elsewhere in all media, from two-dimensional maps to monumental renderings of the architecture and topography of the city’s loca sancta.

In documenting the increasing emphasis on studying the earthly proliferations of the city, the current book witnesses a shift in theoretical and methodological insights since the publication of The Real and Ideal Jerusalem in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Art in 1998. Its main focus is on European translations of Jerusalem in images, objects, places, and spaces that evoke the city through some physical similarity or by denomination and cult – all visual and material aids to commemoration and worship from afar. The book discusses both well-known and long-neglected examples, the forms of cult they generate and the virtual pilgrimages they serve, and calls attention to their written and visual equivalents and companions. In so doing, it opens a whole new vista onto the summa of representations of Jerusalem.’

See the publisher’s website for the full list of essay titles.

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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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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.

Ottoman Cosmopolitanism Network workshop: Visualising the Ottoman City

Following on from our last post on narratives of Ottoman Jerusalem, those who are interested in this period might like to attend the next workshop of the AHRC-funded research network Ottoman Pasts, Present Cities: Cosmopolitanism and Transcultural Memories.

The workshop is called ‘Visualising the Ottoman City’ and will take place at Birkbeck College, University of London on 28 March 2014. The workshop is the third in a series.

Further details about the workshop can be found here. The workshop is free to attend, but registration is required.