Camera Palaestina cover

Decolonizing Photography: Redistributing the Orientalist Archive

A Presentation by Mary L. Cornille Professor Stephen Sheehi
Apr 27, 4–6:30 PM
Newhouse Center Lounge & Zoom
See access restrictions below

Wasif Jawhariyyeh’s seven photograph albums offer an “illustrated history of Palestine.” Jawhariyyeh was personal fixture of the social, cultural, and political scene of late Ottoman and British “Mandate” Palestine. Along with his role as an Ottoman and a British colonial bureaucrat in Jerusalem, he also was a musician, composer, collector, and chronicler of life in Palestine before the mass expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist militias from their homeland in 1948. This talk will argue for reading that retools Jawhariyyeh’s albums as a re-appropration of Orientalist photographic images in order to redistribute them, returning them to their rightful space and time in a reclaimed Palestinian physical, historical, and visual geography.

Paying deference to the recent case by Tamara Lanier, who has raised a lawsuit against Harvard University, which still imprisons her captive great-great grandfather in the form of his image, one might ask what does decolonizing photography truly look like? 

This work is based in Sheehi’s forthcoming co-authored book, Camera Palaestina: Displaced Histories of Palestinian Photography (University of California Press, 2022).

This in-person event is open only to students, staff, and faculty in the Wellesley College testing protocol. No prior registration is required for community members to attend in-person.

Remote attendance is free and open to the public. Click here to register for remote attendance

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