CMES: Exhibition: Tunis: The Hara, 19th & 20th century photographs


Wed - Tue, Dec 14 to Dec 20, 9:00am - 5:00pm


CMES, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St., Cambridge


ORGANIZATION/SPONSORCenter for Middle Eastern Studies
COSTFree and open to the public

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies presents an exhibition of photographs of 'Tunis: The Hara'. Organized by Margaux Fitoussi, MTS candidate, Harvard Divinity School.

Since the 13th century, there existed a strong Jewish presence in the north-east of the medina of Tunis. The Jews of Tunis lived in the Hara, in community, until they began moving out of the medina during the period of the French Protectorate (1881-1956). Structurally, the Hara was similar to the rest of the medina: a multitude of low, whitewashed edifices built around sinuous paths. It is, however, the lowest point of the medina and was considered dirtier and more crowded: whether this was true or not remains unclear. Unlike other Jewish communities in the Arab world, the Hara lay within city walls and not on the periphery. Thus far, we have been unable to find formal documentation that the Jews were officially required to live in the Hara. However, what is clear, is that for over 700 years there existed an important Jewish population that cohabitated with other communities living in Tunis and contributed to Tunisian economic, social, political, and intellectual life. The photographs in this exhibition, from the late 19th and early 20th century, invite us to reflect upon themes such as communitarianism, colonialism, nationalism, and migration. They compel us to question the rosy narrative of historic Judeo-Muslim relations, and a multi-cultural past, that is present today within contemporary Tunis.

The exhibition runs M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Nov. 1-Dec. 20, 2016.
Unless otherwise noted in the event description, CMES events are open to the public (no registration required), and off the record.…