Pozzetta Lecture: Michelle Campos on Jerusalem’s History in the Digital Age

Published: October 9th, 2014

Category: Faculty News, Feature

The History Department is pleased to announce the first of  the 2014-15 George E. Pozzetta Lectures.  Dr. Michelle Campos, Associate Professor of History, will present on “Urban History in the Digital Age: Mapping Intercommunal Relations and Social Networks in Late Ottoman Jerusalem,” on Thursday, 31 October 2014 at 4 p.m. in the History Department’s Conference Room, 005 Keene-Flint Hall.

Far more than any other Middle Eastern city, Jerusalem has spawned a voluminous body of modern scholarship. However, there remain significant gaps in our understanding of the city’s morphology, physical expansion, and human landscape. In particular, we have a very incomplete historical understanding of inter-communal (religious, national, ethnic) relations in the city—not only how various groups inhabited and used the city, but also how daily life played into the emergence of practical and symbolic struggles over the city and its eventual division. These questions are important for better understanding Ottoman imperial urbanism, on the one hand, and the growing national conflict between Arabs and Jews, on the other.

Dr. Campos’ presentation, part of a much broader book project, is based on a close study of original Ottoman census records to map Jerusalem’s human landscape and sectarian distribution. In addition to providing valuable demographic information (at a time when quantitative social history is considered passé?), the census also enables us to examine urban social networks, geographic/diasporic networks, and issues of hierarchy and marginality. This presentation also wrestles with some of the complexities and limitations involved with using GIS and other digital history tools, which at the same time open up fascinating possibilities for juxtaposing quantitative and qualitative sources for an integrated urban history.

 

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