Job Opening: Visiting Research Assistant Professor in Syriac Studies and Digital Humanities (Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt University and Syriaca.org invite applications for the open position of Visiting Research Assistant Professor in Syriac Studies and Digital Humanities. The term of appointment is one full year, beginning in fall 2015, with the possibility of renewal for one further year.

The Visiting Research Assistant Professor will work full time under the direction of Prof. David Michelson on the publications of Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal (http://syriaca.org/), a digital reference project sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The researcher will be affiliated with an academic unit at Vanderbilt University depending on expertise (Classics,Divinity, History, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Religion, etc.). The scholar will also be invited to take an active role in the life of Vanderbilt’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, including its Digital Humanities seminar.

The person hired for this position will be a specialist in Syriac studies with strong linguistic skills (ancient and modern) and considerable experience working with Syriac texts, both editions and manuscripts. There will be a strong preference for a candidate who has experience with digital humanities, especially TEI XML, but additional training in digital technology specific to the project will be provided as needed.

The researcher will be a contributing author to SPEAR (Syriac Persons, Events, and Relations), the New Handbook of Syriac Literature, Gateway to the Syriac Saints, and other Syriaca.org publications as needed. The researcher will collect and interpret data in Syriac and other languages, contribute to evolving data models, test user interfaces and XForms, collaborate with other project researchers, and perform additional project duties as needed.

Term of Appointment
The term of appointment is one full year, beginning in fall 2015, with the possibility of renewal for one further year. Applicants are expected to be in residence for the duration of the appointment.

How to Apply
Applications should be submitted online at: https://vanderbilt.taleo.net/careersection/jobdetail.ftl?job=1504387&lang=en

Please contact Prof. David A. Michelson (david.a.michelson@vanderbilt.edu) with any questions about the position or about the online application system.

A complete application will include the following materials:
1. A cover letter indicating applicant’s qualifications in Syriac studies and, if applicable, digital humanities;
2. A current curriculum vitae;
3. A scholarly publication, dissertation chapter, or digital project representing the applicant’s scholarly achievement or potential (these should be uploaded as attachments in the section marked “Resume and Cover Letter”);
4. Contact information for three referees.

The committee will begin review of applications immediately, with priority given to those applications received by May 22. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Required Qualifications:  
The Candidate must have previous research experience in Syriac studies, particularly Syriac literature. Reading ability in classical Syriac and at least one other ancient or medieval language as well as relevant modern languages is required. Candidate must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent by January 1, 2016.

Preferred Qualifications:  
We welcome candidates with an interest in digital research methods, such as the use of TEI XML. Ideal candidates should have additional expertise in one or more fields contiguous to Syriac studies, such as Jewish studies, Islamic studies, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean history, Byzantine studies, history of Christianity, Classics, or medieval history.

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Harvard CMES: Digital Scholarship Workshop in Islamic Studies

harvardDH2015

On Thursday, April 23, Prof Elias Muhanna will lead a Digital Resources Workshop for Islamic Studies, with Professor Roy Mottahedeh and András Riedlmayer. This workshop introduces various digital tools and methodologies that may be of interest to scholars of Islamic civilization. The topics discussed will include online text repositories, social network analysis, mapping tools, text encoding, image research, and other areas. No prior experience is necessary to attend.This workshop is open to Harvard CMES & NELC graduate students but space is limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Liz Flanagan, elizabethflanagan@fas.harvard.edu, by Friday, April 17.

April 23
2:00-4:00 pm
CMES, Room 102
38 Kirkland Street

Elias Muhanna, Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Brown University
qifanabki.com; islamichumanities.org

Roy P. Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History, Harvard University

András Riedlmayer, Bibliographer in Islamic Art and Architecture, AKPIA Documentation Center,
Fine Arts Library, Harvard University
Documentation Center of the Aga Khan Program
Harvard Library Guide to Islamic Art

Call for Papers: Distant Reading and the Islamic Archive

DH15-banner

Each year, the number of digitized books, inscriptions, images, documents, and other artifacts from the Islamic world continues to grow. As this archive expands, so too does the repertoire of digital tools for navigating and interpreting its diffuse and varied contents. Drawing upon such tools as topic modeling, context-based search, social network maps, and text reuse algorithms, the study of large-scale archives and textual corpora is undergoing significant and exciting developments.

With this in mind, the Middle East Studies program at Brown University is pleased to announce its 3rd annual Islamic Digital Humanities Conference, to be held onOctober 16-17, 2015. We cordially invite proposals for papers related to distant reading and other computational approaches to the study of the pre-modern and early modern Islamic world.

Faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, archivists, librarians, curators, and other scholars are welcome to apply. Candidates are requested to submit a title and abstract of 300 words and a CV to the conference organizers at digitalhumanities@brown.edu. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2015, and successful applicants will be notified by the end of May.

Papers should be no longer than twenty minutes and read in English. A collection of abstracts from previous conferences and workshops may be found on our website (islamichumanities.org) along with recorded webcasts, a list of digital resources, and announcements for related events.

There may be limited funding available to cover travel expenses and hotel accommodation for junior scholars. All other participants are asked to cover their own expenses. The conference will begin at noon on Friday, October 16 and conclude by the early afternoon of Saturday, October 17.

Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, one hour south of Boston and easily accessible by train and plane. For any questions, please contact Dr. Elias Muhanna at the email address above.

Here is a PDF version of this call for papers; please feel free to circulate it.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities at Boston College

The Institute for the Liberal Arts at Boston College invites applications for a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in Digital Humanities. We welcome applications from recent PhDs in any humanities fields who have expertise in digital approaches to scholarship, especially data mining, mapping and GIS, and/or visualization.   The DH Fellow will teach one class per semester, will be available to consult with faculty on the use of digital technologies in their research projects, and will organize workshops for faculty and graduate students on DH topics.

Candidates should have received a Ph. D. in an arts or humanities discipline by August, 2015.  They will be affiliated with the appropriate department at Boston College.  Salary is $65,000 with a $5,000 research budget.  Please submit a letter of application, CV, article-length writing sample, statement describing experience with digital technology, syllabus for a digital humanities course at either the undergraduate or graduate level, and three letters of recommendation by March 30, 2015.  Applications should be submitted online at apply.interfolio.com/28956

The search committee is being chaired by Professor Mary Crane.

Boston College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or other legally protected status. To learn more about how BC supports diversity and inclusion throughout the university please visit the Office for Institutional Diversity at http://www.bc.edu/offices/diversity.

Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut (2-6 March 2015)

aubIf you’re based in the Middle East and have an interest in the digital humanities, there’s a promising new initiative being organized at the American University of Beirut:

Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut
American University of Beirut
2-6 March 2015
#DHatAUB

The humanities in the twenty-first century have taken a decidedly digital turn. In some cases this means traditional questions are addressed with new digital skills or new modes of scholarly communication, in others, entirely new research questions are emerging with technology.

The main goal of the Institute is to create an environment where different stakeholders in the academic communities of Lebanon and the region learn together about new computing technologies and their impact on the humanities. This institute comes at a time when a number of experiments in digital approaches to the humanities have already been launched at local and regional levels.

DHI-Beirut is designed as a meeting place, between departments, between units of the university, between universities and research centers. It features courses, presentations and lectures, conceived with a collegial spirit of collaboration in mind. The courses bear no credit and there are no exams, just learning and experimentation. They should provide graduate students an introduction to selected digital skills for research for their theses. They are designed with students, faculty, IT and staff in mind. They will be taught by MA and PhD students, librarians, instructors and professors.

Courses will run from 2-6 March 2015. On 7 March 2015, we will hold the Arab World’s first ThatCamp, an unconference designed to bring those interested in humanities and technology together to discuss common goals. All are welcome at this event, if you have attended the institute or not.

DHI-Beirut is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Initiative (AHI), the Departments of Arabic, Computer Science and English as well as the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) and the Orient Institut – Beirut.

British Library Write-Up On 2013 Islamic DH Conference

BLHere’s a write-up by the good folks at the British Library about our 2013 Conference on the Digital Humanities and Islamic + Middle East Studies. Check out the original post for lots of beautiful images accompanying the write-up. Thanks to Nur Sobers-Khan and Daniel Lowe. 

Two representatives from the British Library attended the recent conference, ‘The Digital Humanities + Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies’, hosted by the Middle Eastern Studies Department of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Organised by Dr Elias Muhanna and held on 24-25 October 2013, this conference sought to bring together for the first time researchers and librarians using digital technologies in innovative ways to create and disseminate knowledge in the fields of Islamic and Middle East Studies

Throughout the lively conference discussion, particular themes were pursued that are very relevant to our own work at the British Library. Professor Beshara Doumani, director of Middle East Studies at Brown University, opened the conference by posing a number of important ethical questions about digital scholarship. For example, what ‘acts of violence’ are done to texts in the process of digitisation, translation, transliteration and indexing? What effect does the political economy of funding for digital projects have on the production of knowledge?

These questions became a running theme throughout the conference and were picked up by Travis Zadeh (Haverford College) in his talk “Uncertainty and the Archive: Reflections on Medieval Arabic and Persian Book Culture in the Digital Age”. He demonstrated how important textual elements are lost in the modern proliferation of searchable digital forms of Arabic and Persian classical texts. Moreover, he showed how certain genres of literature, for example, manuscripts on the occult and magic, are often excluded from digitisation projects since they reflect a social history that is at odds with organisations that fund and produce these new digital archives.

Other highlights from the conference include the keynote speech of Dr Dwight Reynolds (Professor of Religious Studies, UCSB), who focused on the monumental Sirat Bani Hilal Digital Archive. This archive contains audio recordings of poets and musicians from Upper Egypt whose artistic legacy would otherwise be lost. This resource also constitutes a teaching tool, with English translations, written transcriptions from Arabic oral recitations of the thousand-year-old epic, and an explanation of the historical background of the text.

Dr Afsaneh Najmabadi (Harvard) presented her important project Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran in a talk entitled “Making (Up) an Archive: What Could Writing History Look Like in a Digital Age?”. She introduced ways in which technology can be used to document and disseminate objects central to social and cultural history that would not normally be accessible to researchers using administrative and national archives. These objects include women’s household items, dowry registries and marriage contracts, family letters and personal photographs, as well as oral history interviews.

The difficulties and possibilities of using text mining techniques for the querying of biographical dictionaries were presented in a talk by Dr Maxim Romanov (Tufts) entitled “Abstract Models for Islamic History”. Dr Romanov accessed 29,000 biographical records to search for names, toponyms, and dates that allow the researcher to trace cultural or religious developments over an extended period or large geographical expanse. You can download a full copy of his fascinating paper here.

Dr Kirill Dmitriev (St Andrews University) presented the Language, Philology, Culture: Arab Cultural Semantics in Transition project to develop The Analytical Database of Arabic Poetry which will include comprehensive data on the vocabulary of early Arabic poetry (6th-8th centuries AD) in the form of an electronic dictionary.

Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative’s partners, Princeton University Library and Free University, Berlin, to create the groundwork for the preservation of manuscripts in private libraries in the Yemen together with the Imam Zayd ibn Ali Cultural Foundation.

This conference was an excellent opportunity for us to share information about the British Library’s major digitisation projects related to the Middle East, for instance the Endangered Archives Programme and the British Library’s partnership with the Qatar Foundation to digitise material related to the Persian Gulf and Arabic scientific manuscripts. We also had the opportunity to showcase current digitisation projects in the Asian and African Studies section of the Library, in particular, the Hebrew Manuscripts ProjectMalay Manuscripts Digitisation Project and Persian Manuscripts Digitisation Project, as well as the smaller Southeast Asian Manuscripts digitisation project funded by the Ginsburg Legacy, all of which are expected to come to fruition in the next few years. These projects will make thousands of the British Library’s manuscripts freely available to the public on our Digitised Manuscripts website and greatly open up access to our collections.

Daniel Lowe, Gulf History and Arabic Language Specialist, British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership, @dan_a_lowe

Nur Sobers-Khan, IHF Curator for Persian Manuscripts