Ajam Media Collective recently worked with THE STATE, a Dubai-based publishing practice, to make a ‘zine. We provided the words and art while they provided the design to make a wonderful collaborative document. We are also publishing the work on our site, beginning with this introduction.
The preservation and restoration of religious buildings become implicated in complex and polemical questions of Georgian nationhood, citizenship, identity, and belonging. The production of a neoliberal notion of cosmopolitanism based on tolerance and celebration of different ethno-religious groups within national borders, enshrined in the preservation of religious buildings, is part and parcel of this re-branding campaign. The presentation of a public space that celebrates diversity does not however necessarily translate to lived reality where difference just is.
During the 19th century, Mashhadi Jews cloaked their identities and lived their public lives as Muslims. As a result, major documents, such as marriage contracts, mimicked their Muslim counterparts. The language, art, and general presentation of the texts serve as clues towards better understanding the precarious position of the Mashhadi Jewish community, as well the preferred aesthetics of the period.