Islamicate World 2.0

The Islamicate World 2.0: Studying Islamic[ate] Cultures through Computational Text Analysis

Course Name:
The Islamicate World 2.0
Dr. Maxim Romanov
Class Meetings
Paulinum P402, Tu,Th 19:00-20:30
Advanced module for Master of Arts and Master of Computer Science
PrerequisitesEnglish level B2 or higher
Method of Teaching: 
Seminar “The Islamicate World 2.0” (4 SWS) = 60h Präsenzzeit und 90h Selbststudium
5 LP = 150 working hours


Description: In this Global Classrooms course, University of Maryland and University of Leipzig students will come together to learn the basics of computational text analysis while participating as student researchers in the nascent project of exploring the vast—and largely unexplored—tomes of textual data about the Islamicate world. It will also introduce students to theoretical and methodological debates in the field global digital humanities. Like the digital humanities field that inspires its approach, it will be a highly interdisciplinary course that studies texts from multiple genres (lyric poetry to historical chronicles, legal treatises to the Qur’an) and languages (Arabic, Persian) with the aid of computational textual analysis tools. By taking this course BA+ and BSc students will get introduced to the field computational analysis of textual sources. They will get basic skills and competences in dealing with major methods and tools (focusing mainly of R). Humanists will learn the impact of new media on the humanities in order to pose new questions and develop new insights when dealing with literary and historical texts. Computer scientists will learn the main issues in the humanities and the digital humanities related to text analysis in order to deal with them in a digital environment and solve research problems by applying such techniques as topic modelling, social network analysis, text reuse and allusion detection, authorship attribution, and temporal spatial data visualization. Students will learn to interpret and classify historical and literary data, in order to text analysis workflows and to choose the best methods to solve research problems.

Goals: The goal of this course is to introduce methods of computational text analysis to BA+ and BSc students. The course is a part of the program developed by the Alexander von Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig and aims at providing teaching on the transition from pre-digital to digital text analysis. The course is addressed to both humanists, who are interested in learning the fundamentals of computational methods of text analysis, and to computer scientists who need to learn about research problems and methodologies in the humanities. A part of the course (October-December, 4 SWS) will run as seminars in class with the U of Maryland instructor and students participating virtually. This part will introduce students to tools and methods for computational text analysis. Needs and practical issues will be shown with examples from existing digital projects. The other part of the course (January, 4 SWS) will run without U of Maryland participation (their semester finishes in December). This part will focus on students’ projects, with a special (but not exclusive) focus on Arabic and Persian sources. The course gives BA+ and BSc students the opportunity to learn methods for dealing with representing research and editorial workflows that can be applied to many different kinds of source documents, and to participate in a collaborative environment that allows to work in teams, produce original scholarly work and therefore contribute to define and support a new model of open philology in a born digital environment.

For more details and a dynamic syllabus, see: