Recent Posts

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...

The Encyclopaedia of Arabic Poetry

18 minute read :: Posted on February 3, 2013

Prepared in cooperation with Michael Bonner (U of Michigan) In 1997, Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi (http://www.adach.ae) started development of an extremely useful multimedia Encyclopaedia of [Arabic] Poetry (al-Mawsūʿa al-Shiʿriyya). The first edition (published in 1998) was pretty small and included only...

Islamic World, 661-1300 CE

3 minute read :: Posted on January 21, 2013

Evenly spaced across the entire period of 41–700 AH/661–1300 CE, the following series of four maps (click to enlarge) visualizes the frequencies of top 100 toponyms mentioned in biographies of al-Ḏahabī’s Taʾrīḫ al-islām: almost 13,000 biographies (44,4%); altogether these locations are mentioned in slightly over 25...

Python Functions for Arabic

2 minute read :: Posted on January 2, 2013

There are certain operations one has to repeat many times while manipulating Arabic text. For a number of purposes Arabic text must be normalized, namely “noise” characters deleted, the orthography of problematic letters unified, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to deNormalize search words, i.e. modify regular express...