Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 337895
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: France

Mid-Term Report Summary - OPEN-JERUSALEM (Opening Jerusalem Archives: For a connected History of ‘Citadinité’ in the Holy City (1840-1940))

Supported and funded by the European Research Council, this project distinguishes itself through the scientific quality of its research tools, the close attention it pays to local administrative archives and its unbiased openness to all demographic segments of the Holy City’s population. Last but not least, it does not limit itself to a logistical initiative but will scientifically utilize those sources as part of a real intellectual proposal intended to produce a connected history of citadinité in Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940. Citadinité is not a vague notion that hovers above the city, it is not only a discursive category. On the contrary, it materializes in institutions, actors and practices. That is why we began with the archives if we are to track down the places and modalities of this factory of citadinité in Jerusalem between 1840-1940.
The project accomplished its first phase: a detailed overview of available archives pertaining to the history of Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940 all around the world and a catalogue their contents. Until now, none of the handful of projects pertaining to the historical archives of Jerusalem had endeavored to realize this essential preliminary phase, which has doomed these programs to a pointillist and piecemeal vision of the documentary resources available.
More than sixty archivists and historians have been already involved in Open Jerusalem, working in dozens of historical archives in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America, producing new research tools (inventories, catalogues, databases) and publications. This phase gave us a precise idea of the relative mass of each collection and it helped to foreseen and unforeseen lacuna, providing a qualitative reckoning of the content. Among the major achievements “Open Jerusalem” analysed 8100 files gathered in the Ottoman Imperial Archives in Istanbul. These records has been digitised (30.000 images) and described in Turkish and English. The complete database will be available in the final Open Jerusalem webplatform. Moreover the project has accomplished the digitisation of a full repertory of juridical sources by the Jerusalem Islamic Court, in partnership with the University of Haifa.
Among the completely new archives which have been discovered and described by the Open Jerusalem research team the Ethiopian archives in Jerusalem and Addis Abeba concerning the Ethiopian Orthodox community appear extremely important for researchers in order to retrace a longly neglected history of a Jerusalem community. Moreover, the project opened the undisclosed fond of the Italian Consulate in Jerusalem gathered in the Foreign Office archives in Rome: the project is currently working on the inventory.
The articles and books already published or forthcoming by Open Jerusalem researchers witness the involvement in creating a new urban history of Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940. Historical dissemination was realized through more than twenty seminars and workshops and an international symposium held in May 2016.
Jerusalem project is now focusing on the organization of inventories and the creation of a web portal.
This final outpost opens the path to a connected history of Jerusalem because, within a complex documentary archipelago, it looks for points of contact that show the exchanges, interactions and sometimes hybridization between different traditions.

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