Site-seeing: postcards of Palestine/Israel and the visual construction of place, 1890s to 1990s

Rogers, Seonaid M. (2019) Site-seeing: postcards of Palestine/Israel and the visual construction of place, 1890s to 1990s. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This PhD thesis explores postcards depicting Palestine/Israel in the period from 1890 – 1990, from the archives of the British Museum and comparable collections, to analyse the ways in which commercial visual media of this type reflected, and at times shaped, national narratives and identit(ies). It also examines the interrelations between the postcards and wider visual culture by looking at motifs featured on postcards and imagery in contemporaneous newspaper and travel photography, posters, and advertisements. I argue that postcards are an understudied visual medium when discussing the formation of national narratives and place-making, and that while they often repeat the same sights and generic landscapes, they function as unique commercial objects for single purchase, which commodify political and ideological positions and sites for the tourist gaze.

In the century covered by my study, postcards and visual culture of Palestine/Israel changed and adapted to represent the shifting social, political, and economic circumstances, as well as evolving market tastes. I explore these sociopolitical changes by outlining broad themes in postcard imagery: the depiction of biblical, picturesque Palestine; the agricultural display of the Yishuv; images of Tel Aviv’s architectural development; commercial imagery of the military; postcards depicting resorts and beaches; and in the final chapter, the visual culture of urban and rural settlement in Palestine/Israel.

This visual archive allows for an examination of multiple narratives and perspectives that developed around a particularly contested landscape, through a consideration of European travel attitudes deeply shaped by religious-imperialist cultural contexts, and the self-presentation or lack thereof of local inhabitants of Palestine/Israel.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Baron, Nick
Umbach, Maiken
Simpson, St John
Keywords: Postcards; Visual culture; Tourism; National identity; Photography; History; Palestine; Israel; Palestine/Israel
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DS Asia
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 56429
Depositing User: Rogers, Seonaid
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 12:44
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 10:47
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/56429

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