The cover photograph of two generations is part of Fahmi Basrawi’s extensive personal archive. This classic sepia-toned family portrait of people pressed together in a living room evokes the domestic intimacy of an upper-middle-class abode in Medina on January 24, 1937, five years after the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It portrays a family world that preexisted such national entities and a lifeworld bound to others before the cultural reconfigurations and erasures of petroleum imperialism, reminding us to consider the present through a genealogical lens. Dressed in the modern urban attire of the period, hair coiffed and eyes gazing candidly at the camera, the family members wear expressions from excitement to confusion. The teenaged Fahmi Basrawi sits in the foreground, smiling cinematically as he embraces his unsmiling younger brother in anticipation of the shot to be...

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