SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Text in ruins: Arabic and Hebrew public writing in late Ottoman and British-Mandate Jerusalem

Yair Wallach (SOAS)

Date: 11 March 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 11 March 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: 0

“The inscriptions are disappearing” warned the Swiss Orientalist Max van Berchem in 1892, as he established the science of Islamic epigraphy. In this lecture I will think through the “disappearance” of Islamic and Jewish inscriptions as a privileged medium of writing in Jerusalem, and their respective replacement with modern forms of writing. The textual economies of traditional texts - embedded in stone, gold and cloth - were replaced with signs of metal, cardboard and paper; and the writing that invested architecture with divine protection, was substituted with texts that named and defined. I will consider the implications of this radical rewriting, at the rupture point where Ottomanism, Zionism, Arab nationalism, and British imperialism loom large over the city.

 Dr Yair Wallach is the Pears Lecturer in Israeli Studies in the Department for the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East, SOAS. His field of interest is modernity in Israel/Palestine, looking at both Arab Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli society, focussing on urban space, as well as visual and material culture.

Organiser: Ceyda Karamursel

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