Call for Papers: Conference on the Digital Humanities in Islamic & Middle East Studies3/15/2013
Submission deadline: March 15, 2013
Conference: October 24-25 2013 | Brown University
Over the past few decades, humanistic inquiry has been problematized and invigorated by technological advances and the concomitant emergence of what is referred to as the digital humanities. Across multiple disciplines, from history to literature, religious studies to philosophy, archaeology to music, scholars are tapping the extraordinary power of digital technologies to preserve, curate, analyze, visualize, and reconstruct their research objects.
The humanistic study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world has been no less impacted by this new paradigm. Scholars are making daily use of digital tools and repositories including private and state-sponsored archives of textual sources, digitized manuscript collections, densitometrical imaging, visualization and modeling software, and various forms of data mining and analysis. However, there have been few calls to bring researchers together to showcase their experiments in digital humanistic scholarship within their respective fields, or to discuss the opportunities and challenges engendered by this changing scholarly ecosystem.
With this in mind, Middle East Studies at Brown University – with the support of the Brown Humanities Initiative – is pleased to announce a pioneering conference on October 24-25 2013 that will explore the state of the art in digital scholarship pertaining to Islamic & Middle East Studies. Some of the guiding questions we are interested in include:
(1) Where are the most important digitization projects of historical sources in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other languages taking place around the world?
(2) What kinds of digital technologies and methodologies have proven most fruitful for scholars in different disciplines (e.g. data mining, pattern recognition, social network analysis, etc.)?
(3) How are existing technologies challenged by the manipulation of data in non-Western languages, and what are the most significant technological desiderata for researchers?
(4) What specific examples of digital-based research (macroscopic or microscopic) in Islamic and Middle East Studies are promising, problematic, or otherwise provocative?
(5) As digital tools and media become more widespread, what ethical issues relating to privacy and human consent must be carefully considered, particularly in projects involving contemporary political and social issues?
We are happy to welcome as our keynote speaker Dr. Dwight Reynolds (Professor of Religious Studies, UCSB), who is among many other things the architect of the Sirat Bani Hilal Digital Archive, “an open access resource for the preservation and dissemination of audio recordings, written texts, photographic images and other materials related to the Epic of the Bani Hilal Tribe,” a thousand-year-old epic poem. The conference will be webcast and several papers may be selected for publication in an edited volume.
Submissions: We welcome submissions from scholars and graduate students in diverse disciplines. Interested candidates are kindly requested to submit a title and abstract of 300 words to the conference organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2013, and successful applicants will be notified by mid-April. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes and should be read in English.
Depending on the number of participants, there will be limited funds available for travel and accommodation. Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, about one hour south of Boston. For any questions, please contact Dr. Elias Muhanna at the email address above. Additional information will soon be available on the conference website.
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