More than Movies: Cinema Petra in Amman During the Mandatory Period

Renate Dieterich

Abstract


The movie theater can be considered as one of various modernizing forces that dramatically transformed Middle Eastern societies in the 20th century. Cinema Petra was the biggest and most important movie theatre in Transjordan throughout the 1930s and 1940s and had a multi-purpose function. It did not only screen movies but also served as a place of cultural communication and space for interaction. It was a major place of public gathering and entertainment during the 1930s and early 1940s and became part of the public space needed by Amman's urban elite for their cultural and political activities. Thus the cinema contributed to the emergence of a critical public sphere in the growing young Transjordanian capital.


Keywords


Amman; Transjordan; Arab Cinema; Cinema Petra; Social History

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2014.3.2157

Renate Dieterich has been educated at Bonn University in the fields of Islamic studies and political science. She has researched and published extensively on politics and society in modern Jordan and on 20th century Transjordanian history. Her research interests focus on social movements, democratization and radical Islam in the Middle East. She currently works in the field of international academic cooperation. email: renate.dieterich@freenet.de