Contentious Realities: The Politics of Creating Photographic Archives amongst the ʿArab Badū al-Naqab Society of Southern Israel
Emilie Le Febvre
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses the politics of repatriating photographs and establishing a community archive amongst ʿArab Badū al-Naqab of southern Israel.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will discuss the politics of repatriating photographs and establishing a community-based visual archive amongst ʿArab Badū al-Naqab of southern Israel. This initiative was part of my doctoral research in the Naqab wherein I documented how members use visual materials in their private lives and public exchanges with outsiders. An aspect of my fieldwork surveyed the photographs privileged in their society and traced the biographies of these materials from the Naqab to external archives. I conducted multi-sited research in the United Kingdom, United States, Jerusalem, Biʾr al-Sabʿ, Rāhaṭ, and various villages in the Naqab, and given access to the personal collections of several anthropologists. During my fieldwork, I worked closely with a local photographer Kāʾid Abū Latīf to create a community digital archive and a small photo exhibit in Rāhaṭ's Community Centre Library. The goal was to compile, archive, and improve local access to hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs and films collected during my research. While the project was initiated as a collaborative repatriation project, it failed to come together and alternatively provided insight about owning photographs as objects of honour, the problems of exhibiting collective narratives, the forbidden-ness of displaying films of deceased members, politics of promoting local heritage as a Palestinian minority in Israel, and finally, the practical realities of locating funds for these types of initiatives.
Archiving Photographs and Photographing Archives