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Catch Me If You Can!

Approaching the Arabic Press of the Late Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean through Digital History

Abstract

The essay explores the use of digital history for the systematic study of the periodical press in the late Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean (1906 –1918) as a discursive field. It evaluates the methodological and practical challenges of digital history as rooted in the socio-technical infrastructures of the Global North when applied to the Global South. It does so using a case study of four Arabic journals from Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, and Damascus. After outlining the need for building a corpus and the challenges presented by this effort, this article explores a digital corpus of a total of circa 2.65 million words through (social) network analysis and stylometric authorship attribution.