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project . 2023 - 2025 . Not started


The Ideosphere of the Late Ottoman Arabic Press: Mapping the Discursive Field of Authors and Texts through Computational Approaches
Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
European Commission
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101061500 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-EF\HORIZON-AG-UN Funder Contribution: 189,687 EUR
Status: Not started
01 Sep 2023 (Started) 31 Aug 2025 (Ending)

SIHAFA explores the late Ottoman (1890s–1918) Arabic ideosphere of the Eastern Mediterranean through its periodical press. SIHAFA transcends the individual periodical for a systematic and computational study of the periodical press as a discursive field and at scale in order to better understand both the intellectual history of the Eastern Mediterranean at a crucial historical juncture and periodical production itself. As MSCA fellow, Dr. Grallert will receive crucial training at Universität Hamburg and will scrutinise a digital corpus of seven Arabic journals from Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo and Damascus with more than 7 million words (the result of his current research) through a combination of stylometric authorship attribution, social network analysis, and close reading of bio-bibliographical dictionaries. He will evaluate theoretical and methodological approaches, workflows, and tools developed in the Global North for their applicability to cultural heritage of the Global South. A secondment at Uniwersytet Jagielloński will provide methodological training in stylometry. The research objectives are to: (1) fill a gap in research by developing and evaluating methods for the study of Arabic periodicals; (2) challenge established narratives of the Arabic Renaissance (nahda) by re-introducing non-Syrian and Muslim authors and periodicals from beyond Cairo and Beirut commonly ignored by scholarly literature through the leading research question "What were the core nodes of authors and periodicals in this ideosphere and how did they change over time?"; (3) help establish the field of Arab Periodical Studies through community building across the postcolonial north-south divide. SIHAFA is committed to FAIR data and open access. Dr. Grallert will produce and publish: ground-breaking research to be published in English and Arabic; improved digital scholarly editions; authority files; an OCR model for Arabic periodicals; and a plain text corpus of authorship candidates.

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