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Digital Islamicate Paleography and Codicology Summer School, The Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, June 1-August 20, 2021

June 1 - August 20

Digital Islamicate Paleography and Codicology Summer School

June 1-August 20, 2021

The Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland (Roshan Institute-UMD) is offering a free, stipend-supported twelve-week online summer course on digital Islamicate paleography and codicology. We are seeking graduate students interested in the intersection of Arabic-script paleography and codicology with digital humanities methods and technologies. The course will run from June 1st to August 20th, and will be capped at five graduate students. The course will be free of charge, and students selected for participation will be given a $5,000 stipend in return for their participation and completion of the course requirements.

The Digital Islamicate Paleography and Codicology Summer School is a part of the Automatic Collation for Diversifying Corpora (ACDC): Improving Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for Arabic-script Manuscripts project, generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (HAA-277203-21). The ACDC project is based in the Roshan Institute-UMD and Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences. The students chosen for participation in this course will have the opportunity to learn more about the exciting new possibilities for collaboration between the fields of computer science and those of the humanities.

Course Details:

The course, taught by Dr. Jonathan Parkes Allen, will have a two-fold focus. It will cover in some depth the breadth and diversity of Arabic-script manuscript traditions through paleographic and codicological analysis, encompassing Arabic and Persian as well as Arabic-script production in other languages, while also introducing students to digital applications and methods relevant to Islamicate manuscript studies, from digital annotation and training data production for handwritten-text recognition to GIS tagging and analysis of manuscript corpora. Students will learn about ongoing efforts to utilize advancements in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the use and study of the Islamicate manuscript tradition as well as future possible paths they might take in light of those advances. In addition to instruction by Dr. Allen, guest speakers both in the history of Arabic-script manuscripts and in digital humanities methods and technologies will be featured.

The first week of the course will feature a three-day intensive workshop, after which class will be held once a week, 1-3 PM (day of the week to be determined in consultation with the participants). The expected student time commitment will be around fifteen hours per week, including class time and out of class work and readings. All classes will be held online.

This course will be of use to any graduate students interested in Arabic-script paleography, the codicological study of the Islamicate manuscript tradition, and the use and development of digital tools and methods for paleographic and codicological study. The only stipulations for initial consideration are that students must:

1) be currently enrolled in a masters or doctoral program

2) have demonstrated reading competency in Arabic, Persian, or preferably both;

3) demonstrate a strong interest in learning about (though not necessarily have preexisting training in) Islamicate digital humanities.

Please see the course website for more details: http://islamicate-dh.github.io/AboutDPC.

Inquiries and applications (an up-to-date CV and a cover letter explaining interest and applicability) can be directed to the course instructor, Dr. Jonathan Parkes Allen: jallen22@umd.edu, or to the director of the ACDC project, Dr. Matthew Thomas Miller: mtmiller@umd.edu. Applications will be accepted up until March 15th; we will notify students selected for participation by March 20th.

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