Watson Institute Write-Up About 2013 Islamic DH Conference

Watson Institute Write-Up About 2013 Islamic DH Conference

Here’s a great Watson Institute write-up about our 2013 conference, by Samuel Adler-Bell. Thanks to Sarah Baldwin-Beneich.  Digital Humanities and Middle East Studies New Methodologies for Old Texts Raise Eyebrows Last month “The Digital Humanities and Islamic and Middle East Studies” conference at the Watson Institute brought together scholars from a range of disciplines to … Continue reading

A Database and Handbook of Classical Islamic Pedagogy: A Digital Islamic Studies Project at the University of Göttingen

A Database and Handbook of Classical Islamic Pedagogy: A Digital Islamic Studies Project at the University of Göttingen

Given the challenges Arabic and Islamic studies are facing in the increasingly culturally diverse contexts of contemporary societies, meaningful new methodologies and tools of research need to be explored. The Göttingen Database and Handbook of Classical Islamic Pedagogy is devoted to addressing some of these issues in a three-year research project conducted at the University of … Continue reading

Uncertainty and the Archive: Reflections on Medieval Arabic and Persian Book Culture in the Digital Age

Uncertainty and the Archive: Reflections on Medieval Arabic and Persian Book Culture in the Digital Age

The epistemological basis for the modern critical edition is fundamentally taxonomic: it assumes the notion of prior simplicity, whereby in a vertical fashion the proliferation of textual variants, which are naturally distributed across manuscripts, and are inherent in the very idiosyncratic nature of manuscript production, all descend from an original common source. Also generally assumed is a monogenetic origin … Continue reading

Working with Indigenous Digital Humanities Projects: The Case of the Mukhayyam al-Sumud al-Usturi Tal al-Za`tar Facebook Group

Working with Indigenous Digital Humanities Projects: The Case of the Mukhayyam al-Sumud al-Usturi Tal al-Za`tar Facebook Group

Scholarship on the Arab world, as in other regions, is always haunted by the absent voices of those who cannot be heard.  Our understanding of events, our perspective on times and places are always skewed by the uneven record that comes to us for interpretation. At first blush it may appear that the spread of … Continue reading

Al-Kindi on the Kindle: The Library of Arabic Literature and the Challenges of Publishing Bilingual Arabic-English Books

Al-Kindi on the Kindle: The Library of Arabic Literature and the Challenges of Publishing Bilingual Arabic-English Books

In 2010, a grant from the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute launched the Library of Arabic Literature, a book series that aims to publish key works of pre-modern and classical Arabic literature in bilingual editions, with the Arabic edition and English translation on facing pages.  The General Editor of the series is Philip Kennedy, … Continue reading

Abstract Models for Islamic History

Abstract Models for Islamic History

Latest developments in the digital sphere offered new opportunities and challenges to the humanists. Equipped with new digital methods of text analysis, scholars in various fields of humanities are now trying to make sense of huge corpora of literary and historical texts. Perhaps the most prominent of such attempts is the work of Franco Moretti and his abstract models … Continue reading

Putting Middle East and Islamic Studies on the Map

Putting Middle East and Islamic Studies on the Map

Digitally-enabled spatial analysis can generate hypotheses, substantiate arguments, and communicate findings at a glance. In this paper, I will demonstrate how spatial analysis reveals the topography of readership in seventeenth-century Istanbul. Using WorldMap has allowed me to collate data from many different sources, including court records, probate inventories, and waqfiyyas, into a single map in … Continue reading

Making (up) an Archive: What could Writing History Look Like in a Digital Age?

Making (up) an Archive: What could Writing History Look Like in a Digital Age?

Recent developments in digital humanities pose anew the challenge of sources, concepts, and possibilities for doing history differently. Much of the current debates have been focused on the vices and virtues of the quantity of (in addition to the ease of access to) the archives that digitization has made available to historians; on whether methods … Continue reading

Berlin Islam as Acoustic Ecology: An Ethnography in Sound

Berlin Islam as Acoustic Ecology: An Ethnography in Sound

How can sonic phenomena best be represented in academic discourse?  While the question has long preoccupied music studies, recent developments in technologies of sound recording and dissemination have given rise to new possibilities for the inscription of knowledge through digital sound recordings.  With the growing discipline of sound studies, the role of knowing-through-sound has moved … Continue reading

Preserving Islamic Manuscripts Under Erasure:  The Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative

Preserving Islamic Manuscripts Under Erasure: The Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative

The private manuscript libraries of Yemen comprise one of the world’s largest and most important collections of Arabic manuscripts. Collectively, these 6,000 private libraries possess some 60,000 codices, many of which are unique. But this irreplaceable trove of manuscripts is threatened. In recent years, Yemen’s private libraries have suffered great losses, in part due to extremists who are ideologically opposed to … Continue reading

Prosop: A Social Networking Tool for the Past

Prosop: A Social Networking Tool for the Past

This presentation will concern an NEH funded project I’m heading to develop a tool called Prosop. Prosop’s first aim is to assemble a database of descriptions of a very large number of historical individuals, of inferior socio-economnic rank to those who feature in most prosopographic projects. The tool is meant to preserve such information in … Continue reading

Mapping the Urban Landscape Through News Reports: Damascus and its Hinterlands in late Ottoman Times

Mapping the Urban Landscape Through News Reports: Damascus and its Hinterlands in late Ottoman Times

This paper elaborates the tools used for mapping the density of news reports onto the city of Damascus and its hinterlands, which were developed in the context of my doctoral research titled “To whom belong the streets? Property, propriety, and appropriation: The production of public places and public spaces in late Ottoman Damascus”. The paper … Continue reading

Comparing Canons: Examining Two Seventeenth-Century Fatawa Collection from the Ottoman Lands

Comparing Canons: Examining Two Seventeenth-Century Fatawa Collection from the Ottoman Lands

In recent years growing attention has been paid to the circulation of texts and to various textual practices throughout the Islamic world in general and the Ottoman Empire in particular. Most studies, however, were qualitative in nature. My paper seeks to demonstrate the advantages of digital humanities for the study of circulation of manuscripts and the ways in … Continue reading

Quantifying the Quran

Quantifying the Quran

This paper will present the conclusions of an interdisciplinary seminar focused on a Seljuq qu’ran from Hamadan, Iran. The manuscript, shelfmark N.E.-P. 27, is dated to 1164 CE by a colophon, and is now held by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology. Students with backgrounds in Near Eastern Languages and Culture and Art History collaborated to investigate … Continue reading