Camera Palæstina is a critical exploration of Jerusalemite chronicler Wasif Jawhariyyeh (1904–1972) and his seven photography albums titled The Illustrated History of Palestine. Jawhariyyeh’s nine hundred images narrate the rich cultural and political milieu of Ottoman and Mandate Palestine. Nassar, Sheehi, and Tamari locate this archive at the juncture between the history of photography in the Arab world and the social history of Palestine. Shedding new light on this foundational period, the authors explore not just major historical events and the development of an urban bourgeois lifestyle but a social field of vision of Palestinian life as exemplified in the Jerusalem community. Tracking the interplay between photographic images, the authors offer evidence of the unbroken field of material, historical, and collective experience from the living past to the living present of Arab Palestine.
“With decolonial commitment and intellectual breadth, the authors turn the photographs into an inalienable entitlement to Palestine, and turn Palestine into an ‘uninterrupted albeit traumatic’ place. This is a must-read book for scholars of Palestine and photography.” Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, author of Potential History
“The story of these archives highlights the polyvalent terms of Palestinian modernity while offering the grounds for a new theorization of Palestinian spectatorship as anticolonial practice.” Rebecca L. Stein, author of Screen Shots
Issam Nassar is Professor of History at Illinois State University and coeditor of Jerusalem Quarterly. He is coauthor of The Storyteller of Jerusalem: The Life and Times of Wasif Jawahariyyeh and Gardens of Sand.
Stephen Sheehi is Sultan Qaboos Professor of Middle East Studies and Director of the Decolonizing Humanities Project at William & Mary. He is coauthor of Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine and author of The Arab Imago: A Social History of Indigenous Photography, 1860–1910.
Salim Tamari is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies and Director of its Jerusalem Studies Program. He is also Professor of Sociology, Emeritus at Birzeit University and author of The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine, Year of the Locust, and The Mountain Against the Sea.
Nassar, I et al. 2022. Camera Palæstina: Photography and Displaced Histories of Palestine. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.126
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