Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement

Book Talks

Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement

Beit Hashita-Guard, 1938. Photograph by Tim Gidal, KKL-JNF Photo Archive.

In collaboration with the Los Angeles Center of Photography, Dr. Rozental will discuss her new book, which explores images of the Zionist enterprise, which were stored and distributed by the Jewish National Fund. These photographs, taken before the State of Israel was established, represent how the nascent Jewish settlers imagined themselves, and how their lives were seen worldwide.

Monday, May 1, 2023
6:15 PM - 7:15 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 10383
11282 Portola Plaza

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Note: This live event will be recorded and posted online afterward for later viewing on the Y&S Nazarian Center's multimedia page.

Organized by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies in collaboration with the Los Angeles Center of Photography.


Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Art History, the UCLA Department of Information Studies, and the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.

About the Book & Talk

During the 1920s, the Jewish National Fund established a photographic archive in its offices in Jerusalem—an internal system designed to capture, store and distribute images of the growing Zionist enterprise in Palestine, under the auspices of the Division of Journalism and Propaganda. In the years and decades that followed, this system became central to the ways in which the nascent Jewish settlers imaged and imagined themselves, and how their lives were seen worldwide. To observe its rippling impact and reach, we need to critically re-activate this system and observe it in its most productive moments. This archive was not stand-alone, as it was functioning in relation to a vast, complicated network of organizational systems and technologies, in the Middle East and across the world. Crucially, this system functioned as a national archive in the future tense, for a nation-state that was not yet in existence, seeking to substantiate its regional authority and shape its cultural repository, outlining parameters for inclusion and exclusion from its civic space. Join this talk to explore these earlier moments of photographic activity in the region and their impact on the present. Dr. Rozental's book can be purchased here.



Rotem Rozental, Ph.D, is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Between 2016-2022, she served as Chief Curator at American Jewish University, where she was also Assistant Dean of the Whizin Center for Continuing Education and Senior Director of Arts and Creative Programming. Her book, Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement (Routledge, 2023) was named recipient of the Jordan Schnitzer First Book Award by the Association for Jewish Studies. Rotem is a lecturer at USC Roski School of Art and Design Critical Studies Department, and teaches seminars about photo-theory at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She mentors artists worldwide and contributes regularly to magazines, journals and exhibition catalogues. Her writings about contemporary art and image-based media, as well as Jewish and Israeli art, were published in, Photographies, Jewish Currents, Tablet and Forward, among other outlets.


Steve Zipperstein (discussant) is an Assistant Adjunct Professor with the Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a lecturer with UCLA’s Global Studies Program, UCLA’s School of Engineering, and UC Santa Barbara’s Department of History. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the UCLA Center for Middle East Development, and Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University Law School. Zipperstein is the author of Zionism, Palestinian Nationalism and the Law: 1939-1948 (Routledge, 2022) and Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Trials of Palestine (Routledge 2020). Zipperstein lectures widely around the world on a range of U.S. and Middle East issues. Before joining UCLA, Zipperstein practiced law for 36 years in California, Washington D.C. and New York/New Jersey. He has been elected to the American Law Institute and named a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.

Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Art History, Information Studies, Los Angeles Center of Photography