Urban Topography and Political Economy in the Middle East

A Digital Humanities Workshop Comparing Istanbul and Cairo

November 20-21, 2017

Duke University


This innovative workshop organized by the Archives of Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean program at the History Department, Duke University, brings together leading historians and scholars of the modern Middle East with experts in visualization technology. The main focus is visualizing urban development of Istanbul and Cairo in a comparative angle. We propose to compare methods of digital humanities concerning visualizing temporal change in (becoming) metropolises, for educational and scholarly purposes. At the intersection of history, economics, urban studies, and digital humanities, the workshop fills a crucial gap in scholarship about urbanization in the Middle East and contribute to the study of the transition from imperial cities to nation-state metropolises.

The workshop consists of four parts:  1) An introductory keynote address 2) a panel on topographical data, 3) a panel on visualization technologies, and 4) a concluding discussion comparing methodologies explored for historical Istanbul and the digital tools for similar projects on Cairo.

Co-sponsored by Archives of Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean, Department of Economics, History Department, Duke University Center for International and Global Studies, Duke Libraries, Political Science Department, Digital Humanities Initiative and PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, Information Science and Studies, Center for French & Francophone Studies, and Duke University Middle East Center