Rotem Rosental, Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement

Rotem Rozental’s book, Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement, will be published by Routledge on March 24, 2023, as part of the “Routledge History of Photography” series. The book, based on Rotem’s 2019 dissertation, argues that the Zionist movement made particular use of the machinery of the photographic archive, aiming to constitute the boundaries of Palestine as the territory of 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. The Jewish National Fund archive did not stand alone but functioned in relation to a vast, complicated network of organizational systems and technologies in the Middle East and across the world. Crucially, this system operated as a national archive in future tense for a nation-state that was not yet in existence, seeking to establish its regional authority and shape a cultural repository that would define the parameters for inclusion and exclusion from the civic space it sought to construct.

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