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The Praxis of Digital Humanities: Expanding Horizons and Transforming Scholarship in the Arab/Islamic world

March 6-7, 2024 

Department of Arabic and Translation Studies (ATS)

American University of Sharjah (AUS)

Call for Papers

The emergence of digital humanities has revolutionized the landscape of academic research, providing unprecedented opportunities for scholars to explore, analyze and interpret literary texts and media in ways that were previously unimaginable. Particularly in the context of the Arab/Islamic world, the application of digital technologies has become increasingly crucial in expanding the horizons of scholarship, whether in exploring the power of computations and machine learning of languages such as Arabic, or in applying new methodologies in the analysis and interpretation of different kinds of data (textual, visual, audio, geospatial, network, etc). Digital humanities not only enable the preservation and dissemination of Arabic/Islamic literature and cultural heritage, but also facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and offer new insights into the intricate connections between literature, media, religious studies, history, translation, computer science and other fields of study. 

The Department of Arabic and Translation studies at American University of Sharjah (AUS) is pleased to invite you to participate in a two-day symposium on the Praxis of Digital Humanities. The symposium aims to bring together scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines to explore the ways in which digital humanities approaches and technologies are revolutionizing the study, interpretation and dissemination of literary texts and cultural production in the Arab/Islamic world. It also aims to emphasize the importance of digital humanities and its transformative impact on the study of Arabic/Islamic literature and media in the present and the future. By focusing on an array of topics, including digital archives, computational analysis, close and distant reading methods, digital editions, spatial analysis, translation, storytelling, cultural heritage preservation, lexicography and dialects, this symposium seeks to illuminate the multifaceted ways in which digital technologies are reshaping our understanding and interpretation of the Arab/Islamic literary and cultural traditions. Through this interdisciplinary exploration, we aim to address the challenges, opportunities and limitations associated with digital approaches, and to foster innovative research collaborations that expand the frontiers of knowledge in the Arab/Islamic context. 

The symposium invites original contributions that explore the intersection of digital humanities and literature/media in the context of the Arab/Islamic world. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Arabic/Islamic literature and media
  • digital archives and databases of historical Arabic/Islamic literature and media
  • computational analysis and visualization of Islamic religious texts
  • digital tools and platforms for analyzing Arabic/Islamic literature and media data
  • close vs. distant reading methods of Arabic/Islamic literature and media
  • digital editions and critical editions of Arabic/Islamic texts
  • digital mapping and spatial analysis of Arabic/Islamic literary landscapes
  • digital storytelling and oral history
  • digital humanities and Arabic/Islamic cultural heritage preservation and sustainability
  • digital methodologies in Arabic/Islamic lexicography
  • digital humanities approaches to Arabic dialects
Arabic/Islamic literature in translation
  • digital humanities and Arabic/Islamic literature in translation
  • incorporating translations into digital collections for cross-cultural accessibility
  • translation and digital reception studies: analyzing the impact of translations on the digital audience's perception of Arabic/Islamic texts
  • translation and gamification in DH: using translation tasks in digital games for language learning and cultural understanding
  • translation and natural language processing (NLP): integrating NLP techniques in translation tasks for Arabic/Islamic texts
  • translation and sentiment analysis in Arabic/Islamic social media
  • using translation in augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications for Arabic/Islamic literature and culture

Keynote Speaker

Professor Umar Ryad, University of Leuven

Keynote Lecture Title:

Challenges and Opportunities in Digital Humanities for Arabic and Islamic Studies


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About the Speaker:

Umar Ryad is a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium and the Chair of the Department of East Asian and Arabic Studies. Prior he has worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Leiden (2008-2014) and as Associate Professor at Utrecht University (2014-2017). He earned a BA in Islamic Studies in English from Al-Azhar University in Cairo (1998), followed by an MA degree in Islamic Studies (2001) and a PhD degree (2008), both from Leiden University. His current research includes the dynamics of the networks of pan-Islamist movements, Arab reception of Orientalism, the European trans-imperial connections with the Hajj, transnational Islam in the modern world and the application of Digital Humanities to Arabic and Islamic Studies. He led a European Research Council (ERC) project which focused on the “History of Muslims in Interwar Europe and European transcultural history” (2014-2019). Ryad also taught at the universities of Bern and Oslo; and was a research fellow at the University of Bonn, the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (Free University of Berlin), the Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin and the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz. He is a board member of the Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies (NISIS).

Submission Guidelines

Scholars, researchers and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts of original research aligned with the symposium's themes. Submissions in English or Arabic are welcome (abstracts in Arabic should include an English translation). Abstracts should be concise and well-structured (approximately 250-300 words), providing an overview of the paper's objectives, methodology and key findings. All abstracts will undergo a double review by the scientific committee.

You may send your abstract with a copy of your passport and a passport-size photo against a white background to: atsconference@aus.edu.

Publication Opportunity

Selected papers presented at the symposium, which are not under review elsewhere, will be eligible for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Digital Islamicate Research (published by Brill) and/or Dragoman: International Journal of Translation Studies (published by ATI and Garant). Authors will receive notification regarding the publication process following the symposium.

Symposium Program

Please click here for the symposium program. 

Important Dates

Extended Abstract Submission Deadline | October 15, 2023

Notification of Acceptance | November 1, 2023

Symposium Dates | March 6–7, 2024


Registration Fees | USD 150
(includes coffee breaks, lunch for 2 days and the symposium dinner)

Reduced Rate for Full-time Student Presenters | USD 100

Registration Deadline | January 15, 2024

To register, please click here or scan the QR code.



Presenters and attendees are responsible for making their own accommodation reservations. However, AUS has secured a special discounted rate for conference participants at Centro Sharjah Hotel, which is the closest hotel to AUS.

For booking, please click here and use this code: ROAUSCON

 Complimentary transportation to and from the hotel and the university will be provided.

Contact Information

For inquiries and abstract submissions, please email us at atsconference@aus.edu.