SUMMARY:This panel is part of the multi-panel workshop "Towards the Centennial: World War I in the Middle East," which came out of an NEH seminar held in Washington DC, in the summer of 2012. It will explore the representation of World War I in photography, film, and diaries at the time, and the uses they have out to ever since.
While visual representations of WWI tend to concentrate on the western front, a few understudied sources focusing on the Middle East are available in archives in the region and abroad. The panelists will examine some of the materials in these archives and theorize on their usefulness for the study of the war and its aftermath. The sources include: John Whiting's photography albums of the war in Palestine (available at the Library of Congress); the collection of Khalil Raad, Palestine's first Arab photographer (hosted in Beirut at the Institute for Palestine Studies); and documents and newspapers relating to the victory at Canakkale, which dominates current Turkish discourse on the war.
Presenters on this panel will examine the ways in which photographers, diarists and journalists understood the war, while focusing on rather intricate details illustrated by the materials in question. They will also consider questions relating to the usefulness of these images to war historians, and will examine critically some of the ways in which images were employed as tools of propaganda. One of the panelists will look, specifically, at uses of archival materials, later one, in the process of construction of a Turkish national identity. In examining the archival materials the uses they have been out to, the panelists will also consider possible future uses of the same in the hands of historians and culture makers.