Recent Posts

Mapping the Greco-Roman World

2 minute read :: Posted on April 2, 2015

“Envy is not a very good thing. Yet envy is precisely what an early Islamicist feels when he reads Roger Bagnall and Bruce Frier’s The Demography of Roman Egypt.” 1 These words stuck in my head since the very moment I read them and over the past two years of working among and with the classicists my classics envy ha...

BetaCode for Arabic

10 minute read :: Posted on February 7, 2015

Although both Windows and Mac OS now support Arabic, it is still quite difficult to type and edit Arabic texts. It is particularly frustrating to edit and manipulate fully vocalized texts, since most fonts either render “short vowels” (ḥarakāt) invisible, or do not render them properly. Because of the “stacking,” i....

Islamic Urban Centers (661–1300 CE)

8 minute read :: Posted on August 23, 2014

Back to al-Ḏahabī’s Taʾrīḫ al-islām. The present dynamic cartogram shows how the prominence of major urban centers was changing over time. The focus is again on “descriptive names” (nisbaŧ) and the “size” of each urban center on the cartogram reflects the number of individuals with “descriptive names” that refer to ...

Toward Abstract Models for Islamic History

37 minute read :: Posted on November 2, 2013

The advent of digital humanities has brought the notion of “big data” into the purview of humanistic inquiry. Humanists now have access to huge corpora that open research possibilities that were unthinkable a decade or two ago. However, working with corpora requires a rather different approach that is more character...