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Big Data and Mega Corpora in the Middle East Studies

Session II-02, 2022 Annual Meeting

On Thursday, December 1 at 5:30 pm

RoundTable Description
Massive collections of digital texts and data offer mind-boggling new opportunities for scholars throughout the humanities and social sciences. It is now possible to download and search through corpora of thousands of texts, collect and analyze millions of online comments, and collect and display innumerable digital materials that will form archives of our era for future generations. This session -- the third and final iteration of a MESA Thematic Conversation that began in 2019 -- offers striking examples of these new capabilities and their emerging use in Middle East studies. In addition to substantive research findings, each presentation will briefly discuss the software tools used in the project. The session is geared both toward scholars who are already working in this area and scholars who would like to learn more about the possibilities. This session is part of an initiative to create a community of Middle East studies scholars who are interested in developing and sharing computational tools and resources, bringing together scholars in the digital humanities and computational social science. The presenters at this third thematic conversation illustrate the use of these new digital tools in multiple fields within Middle East studies: pre-modern history, political science, and sociology. A historian will provide an overview of IslamAtlas, a research project aimed at the study and digital edition of the geographical texts and maps usually attributed to al-Istakhri and Ibn Hawqal. A political scientist will review the nuts and bolts of text analysis through an examination of portrayals of Muslim women in US news media, downloading and analyzing thirty-five years of New York Times and Washington Post reporting. A sociologist will map networks and discursive frames from a sample of Turkish daily newspaper columns over four years since the Gezi Park Reistance. As an outgrowth of this Thematic Conversation, we hope to hold workshops in upcoming years for hands-on training in the collection and analysis of big data and mega corpora, both for current practitioners and beginners.
Disciplines
Other
Participants
Presentations
  • Islamophobia and Media Portrayals of Muslim Women: Computational Text Analysis of US News Coverage This presentation will review the nuts and bolts of text analysis through an examination of portrayals of Muslim women in US news media, downloading and analyzing thirty-five years of New York Times and Washington Post reporting.
  • IslamAtlas: An Overview This presentation will provide an overview of IslamAtlas, a research project aimed at the study and digital edition of the geographical texts and maps usually attributed to al-Istakhri and Ibn Hawqal.
  • Framing Struggles and the Gezi Park Resistance: Mapping the Field of Political Opinion in Turkey This presentation examines political discourse on the Gezi Park Resistance, focusing on a sample of Turkish daily newspaper columns over four years since the event. Using computational text analysis hand-in-hand with network analysis, I visualize the field of political opinion in Turkey through mapping networks of newspapers and columnists based on their position-takings regarding the Gezi Resistance. I also map the network of the key frames that refer to the Gezi Resistance, based on the columnists’ and newspapers’ usage of them.