Since at least 2011 I find myself increasingly engaged in what is increasingly labelled digital humanities or dh. This is not the place to engage in the long discussions on what does or does not constitute dh, whether one has to build tools for computational analysis informed by the humanisties’ research questions or whether one has to theorise the shift towards a new digital paradigm and episteme, whether we should all be sitting in a big tent or not, whether the increasing institutionalisation of DH (this time with capital letters) is responsible for or just a part of the “neoliberal” threat to the humanities or whether dh can indeed contribute to critical humanities.
Instead this page will simply link to current and past research projects that I would broadly label as dh. The most important of them which is currently occupying quite a bit of my time is the GitHub-hosted digital edition of Muḥammad Kurd ʿAlī’s monthly periodical al-Muqtabas (The Digest), published between 1906 and 1918/19 in Cairo and Damascus. As the project has beget the sister edition of al-Haqāʾiq, also published in Damascus between 1910 and 1912, this might evolve into a larger project of “Digital Editions of Early Arabic Periodicals”. For the time being, however, the Digital Muqtabas project has it’s own project blog.
Tenen, Dennis and Grant Wythoff. “Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text Using Pandoc and Markdown.” ↩
Muhanna, Elias (ed.). Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies. Boston, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016; Grallert, Till. “Mapping Ottoman Damascus Through News Reports: A Practical Approach.” In Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies. Edited by Elias Muhanna. Boston, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016: 175–98. ↩
Introduction to Plain Text Workflows and Sustainable Publishing
Disclaimer 1: many of the ideas have been inspired by the work of Alex Gil (@elotroalex) and Denis Tenen (@dennistenen)1 and discussions with the two of them and others at DHI Beirut, THATCamp Beirut, and DHSI.
Disclaimer 2: I am teaching short workshops on some of the ideas outlined in this post at Digital Humanities Institute - Beirut on 10 March 2017 and at DH Abu Dhabi on 10 April 2017. Basic slides are available here and here.
In the world of (academic) publishing, large aggregators and indexers have turned into and acquired publishing presses and generate obscene profits by charging the public (every tax-payer worldwide) multiple times over. First by charging the predominantly publicly-funded academic for publishing the results of her publicly-funded research and by enforcing a culture of pro bono labour among academic reviewers and editors; second by selling this content to equally predominantly publicly-funded libraries, which then increasingly demand access fees from members of the public, who want to access their collections; and third by offloading the cost of long-term preservation to, again, publicly-funded institutions. This system not only created a hierarchy of academics and institutions in the relatively well-off “West”—two classes divided by their ability to pay for being published and accessing publications (their own and others). It also increasingly prevents anybody outside western academia from accessing cutting-edge research and participating in intellectual discourse.
Essay published in edited volume ‘Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies’
After more than two years the proceedings of the conference “Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies” including my methodological essay on mapping newspaper discourses on the topography of late Ottoman Damascus have been published under the same title with de Gruyter. Elias Muhanna, who had organised the conference held between October 2013 at Brown University, did a great job as editor of the volume which is now available online and—ironically—in print for the substantial price of € 99.95 / USD 140.1 It comprises essays by Elias Muhanna, Travis Zadeh, Dagmar Riedel, Chip Rosetti, Nadia Yaqub, Maxim Romanov, Alex Bley, José Haro Peralta and Peter Verkinderen, Joel Blecher, Dwight F. Reynolds, and myself.
Presentation of Digital Muqtabas at conference ‘Books in Motion’ in Beirut
I was invited to present Digital Muqtabas at the conference “Books in Motion: Exploring concepts of mobility in cross-cultural studies of the book” organised by Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, Hala Auji and James Hodapp (all AUB) that took place at AUB and OIB between 5-7 May 2016. The beautiful conference poster-cum-programme is available as PDF.continue reading ...
Presentation of Digital Muqtabas at DiXiT Convention 2 in Cologne
I was invited to present Digital Muqtabas at DiXiT’s second convention on “Academia, Cultural Heritage, Society” that took place in Cologne between 14–18 March. The paper, titled: “The journal al-Muqtabas between Shamela.ws, HathiTrust, and GitHub: producing open, collaborative, and fully-referencable digital editions of early Arabic periodicals—with almost no funds”, was part of a panel on “Social Editing & Funding”, which I was lucky to share with Ray Siemens, who skyped in from Victoria, and Misha Misha Broughton.continue reading ...
Majallat al-Muqtabas: one of the most important journals of late Ottoman Bilād al-Shām as open, collaborative, scholarly digital edition
Text Encoding Fundamentals and their Application
From analogue documents to electronic texts: Introduction to TEI XML editing in multilingual environments
Context: Digital Humanities Institute - Beirut 2015, AUB, 2-6 March 2015continue reading ...