Dr. Issam Nassar is Assistant Professor of History at Illinois State University. He is a researcher at the Institute of Jerusalem Studies in Jerusalem and was also Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 2006. Dr. Nassar is associate editor of Jerusalem Quarterly and author of a number of books and articles, among them Different Snapshots: The History of Early Local Photography in Palestine, 1850-1948, which appeared in Arabic in 2005.2006 0-7734-5669-4
This book is about absence. It studies Jerusalem through the centuries as it appeared in the writings, illustrations and photographs of the European visitors. It argues that despite the thousands of volumes written on Jerusalem, the city remained largely unrepresented and its people were largely absent from most accounts.
The book explores the way the three Abrahamic religions constructed an idea of Jerusalem as a holy city. It then discusses how this position of a holy city transformed the city in the minds of its visitors to a timeless place connected with religious history, not with the social reality. This imagination of the holy city contributed to a creating of it, a place that awaits reclaiming by Europe or its clients. In other words, this book is about how Jerusalem was first colonized by imagination before it fell to the control of the colonizers.