An Egyptian Sheikh’s Literary World: Digitally Reconstructing Islamic Print Culture Through Mustafa Salamah al-Najjari’s (d. 1870) Book Collection

An Egyptian Sheikh’s Literary World is a digital project that I co-direct with Adam Mestyan (Duke University). We use a probate inventory made in Cairo upon the death of the intellectual Mustafa Salamah al-Najjari (d. 1870) to digitally reconstruct the 480 print and manuscript titles listed in his collection. Pairing the printed titles contained in this exceptionally large inventory with their likely editions, we then consult these editions to hand-gather further data, like their year of production, their authors, the names and locations of the presses that published them, and the names of the individuals associated with their publication. We use our enhanced data set to shed light on the geographies, evolving monetary values, and personages involved in this literary world. Our project is the first empirical history of the co-existence of manuscript and print culture in nineteenth-century Egypt, and we will digitally publish our findings, the data sets we construct, and the visualizations we generate from them.

Here is our active blog page, which lays out our work in greater detail and offers updates on our progress as we build out our data set:

The Afkar Project: Mapping Muslim Intellectual Networks in the Maghrib in the Interwar Period

Afkar is a digital project led by Malika Zeghal (Harvard University). It is an on-going collaboration that has now included multiple generations of graduate students, which is how I came to work on it. We hand-gather qualitative data from the fatwas and other questions sent to the journal al-Manar, to qualitatively and quantitatively explore the ideas, networks, and geographies engendered by this iconic periodical published from Cairo between 1898-1935.

Digital Library of the Eastern Mediterranean

The DLEM is a collaborative public portal project that I managed and helped to design from the Harvard Library between 2015-2017. It aimed to connect researchers to the many digital sources for Middle Eastern Studies that are already available online but which are often difficult to discover, and it also contributed to the digitization of sources that had not yet been available online. The PDF of the wireframe for the DLEM prototype is attached below.

Digital Resources for the History of the Middle East

Here is a list of websites that I’ve been compiling over the years for digital resources related to Middle Eastern Studies. Please contact me with sites to add, or broken links to fix.