Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement by Rotem Rozental

Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement by Rotem Rozental

Routledge History of Photography

By entering and critically re-activating the Zionist photographic archive established by the Division of Journalism and Propaganda of the Jewish National Fund, this research examines its rippling impact on civil landscapes prior to 1948 in Palestine, and its lasting impact on the region to date.

This study argues that the Zionist movement makes particular use of the machinery of the photographic archive, aiming to constitute the boundaries of Palestine as a Jewish state, claiming ownership over the land and announcing internationally the success of its enterprise, thus substantiating the image it sought to embed as the “reality” of the land. This archive was not stand-alone, as it was functioning in relation to a vast, complicated network of organizational systems and technologies, in the Middle East and across the world. Crucially, this system functioned as a national archive in future tense, for a nation-state that was not yet in existence, seeking to substantiate its regional authority and shape its cultural repository, outlining parameters for inclusion and exclusion from its civic space.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, photography history, visual culture, Jewish studies, Israel studies and Middle East studies.

Year first published: 2023

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