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Welcome to IHC

Welcome to the Islamic History Commons, a networked space for scholars to connect with one another and share their work.We invite you to participate in a venture that will advance the scholarly understanding of the Islamic world by building a community of scholars who can share their research: Islamic History Commons.

As many of you will know, online academic networks are an increasingly important part of our research and teaching culture.  There are many examples, such as the MLA Commons, Digital Historians and Project Hieroglyph. You will also know that ours (Islamic history) is a relatively conservative field, and although there are signs of some digital awareness (see, for example, http://islamichumanities.org/ and http://www.medievalislamiceconomy.uwo.ca/), we need a catalyst to foster community and feature innovative work.  Informed by these and other examples (e.g. http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/, http://litlab.stanford.edu/?page_id=255 and http://alraqmiyyat.org/), we propose to establish one such network (‘a commons’)—that is, an on-line academic community.

This community will be made up principally by scholars who conduct research and teach on the Middle East (North Africa, the Middle East and Islamic Central Asia) from ca. 600 to ca. 1500 CE, although contributions from scholars working with Islamic sources on the non-Islamic world will also be accommodated. In time, we may consider an even wider chronological horizon. In addition to fostering scholarly communication amongst Islamicists, we are particularly keen to highlight and encourage new digital methods and approaches (such as, text-mining, topic modeling, GIS, etc.). To that end, we propose to establish a methodological section, which will feature introductory tutorials and selected studies from other disciplines and fields. Since most interesting digital studies are collective projects, we also hope to encourage collaborative projects between senior and junior scholars.  Members will register, and the community will be moderated so as to ensure that the site balances accessibility and high quality.

More specifically, the site has the following sections:

  • News & Announcements allows members to share important updates, such as upcoming events; new publications; calls for papers; grants and fellowships, etc. Registered members will be notified about any updates via email. Members need to join the group Announcements (see, Groups below) in order to post materials into this section.

  • Calendar allows members to share time sensitive information, which will help others to keep track of upcoming events.

  • Journal is the official blog of the Commons, where members are encouraged to share their thoughts about Islamic history; the Journal is envisioned as the main venue for the publicizing our work to the wider public. Members need to join the group Journal (see, Groups below) in order to post materials into this section.

  • Working Papers allows members to share their work in progress and solicit comments from other registered scholars; finished work can be archived here as well. Instructions on how to add papers will be added shortly; for now, please email us and we will post it for you.

  • Members is the directory of registered users and their activities @ IHC.

  • Groups is where members can create their own thematic groups to communicate with other members interested in the same themes. Registered members can add their communications and read those of their colleagues. All updates in these groups will be emailed to the members of relevant groups. At the moment there are three active groups:

    • Announcements for adding news & announcements;

    • Journal for blogging on Islamic history.

    • DH is organized to highlight digital and data-driven approaches to the study of the pre-modern Islamic world.

  • Activity logs all updates @ IHC.

In the nearest future the site will allow members to:

  • accommodate (dump) data/information/citations/insights that go un-used in finished research;

  • share and generate bibliographies;

Other facilities (such as maps and texts) may be added as interests and technologies permit. For now, however, we have a fully functional section for working papers. Working papers is a research format that has been used in sciences and social sciences already for decades; in the humanities it has been effectively used by the above-mentioned “Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics.” This format proved to be an efficient way of publicising research and soliciting feedback from colleagues. This format does not impede further publication in peer-reviewed journals, but allows scholars to share their research long before it is published; this is particularly important for studies that rely on digital methods. Members are encouraged to add their work in progress to that section (exact instructions on how to do this will be added shortly; in the meantime feel free to contact us in order to have your work posted). The system allows other scholars to comment on each paragraph of available papers; authors can respond to the submitted comments, thus generating online discussions.

The website is hosted at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  As you can see, the site is already active, but its success very much depends upon your and others’ participation.  We urge you to join and to encourage others to do so as well.

Since we want to ensure the academic character of our community, registration is moderated. Please send us you information if you want to become a part of this community.

Sincerely,

Chase Robinson
Maxim Romanov

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