Bridging the gap

Digital Humanities and the Arabic-Islamic corpus

humanities and social sciences

Bridging the gap

Bridging the gap

Digital Humanities and the Arabic-Islamic corpus

Despite some pioneering efforts in recent times, the longue durée analysis of conceptual history in the Islamic world remains a largely unexplored field of research. Researchers of Islamic intellectual history still tend to study a certain canon of texts, made available by previous Western researchers of the Islamic world largely based on considerations of the relevance of these texts for Western theories, concepts and ideas. Indigenous conceptual developments and innovations are therefore insufficiently understood, particularly as concerns the transition from premodern to modern thought in Islam.

This project seeks to harness state-of-the art Digital Humanities approaches and technologies to make pioneering forays into the vast corpus of digitised Arabic texts that has become available in the last decade. This is done along the lines of four case studies, each of which examines a separate genre of Arabic and Islamic literary history (jurisprudence, inter-faith literature, early modern and modern journalism, and Arabic poetry).

This project seeks to develop a web-based application that will

  • enable easy access to existing Arabic corpora on GitHub and other online repositories and offer the opportunity for researchers to upload their own corpus
  • offer a set of tools for Arabic text mining and computational analysis, and
  • provide opportunities to link search results to the datasets in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies of Brill Publishers, Europe’s leading publisher in this area.

The project will be inserted into two ongoing ERC projects on Islamic intellectual history housed at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, and collaborate closely with international initiatives in the field of Arabic Digital Humanities.

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