Photography As Source Material For Jerusalem's Social History

Camille Mansour and Leila Fawaz

in Transformed Landscapes

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162473
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970191 | DOI:
Photography As Source Material For Jerusalem's Social History

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Most scholars see photography at best as a convenient way to illustrate their books and articles rather than as historical evidence, except perhaps as an entirely secondary source not meriting serious consideration. Beyond “mirroring” the historical event, photographs provide a window that allows the historian not simply to see history but also to see into it. The first encounters of photography with Jerusalem mirrored the dominant European historical narrative of the city, which saw it primarily as a biblical site. As an invention that coincided with the age of European colonial expansion, photography played an important role in the depiction, justification, and articulation of European colonial expansion. The claim can be made that the nineteenth-century photographic depictions of Jerusalem did not merely reflect (and shape) the European popular imagination at the time, but also how the history of the city has been written.

Keywords: photography; Jerusalem; dominant; photographic depiction; European colonial expansion

Chapter.  7914 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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