Biblification' in the Service of Colonialism: Jerusalem in Nineteenth-century Photography

Nassar, Issam

Nineteenth‐century Jerusalem was a city in great transition. It underwent political and administrative reform inspired mainly by the Tanzimat reforms of the Ottoman Sultanate between 1839 and 1876. The arrival of European missionaries, consulates and colonists also ushered it into a new era of European policies towards the city. Similarly, the expansion of the city outside its historical walls and the building of the railway station transformed social and economic life in Jerusalem in unprecedented ways. Jerusalem became the administrative seat of a district that carried its name, its population growing at a rate faster than ever before and its markets flourishing with all kinds of tourist paraphernalia as well as products from Europe and its own hinterlands. These were times of social and political transformations, of modernisation and rising interconnectedness with the rest of the world. Yet, to its European visitors, Jerusalem seemed to embody a world of the past.


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European Institute
Published Here
September 3, 2010


Presented at the European Institute at Columbia University conference, "Great Powers in the Holy Land: From Napoleon to the Balfour Declaration," New York, April 3-4, 2009.
Presentation titled, "The Western Photographers and the portrayal of Jerusalem in the 19th century."