Associate Professor, NYU Abu Dhabi

About Me

I am a digital humanist and medievalist.

I am Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at New York University Abu Dhabi located on Saadiyat Island in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Previously, I was Associate Professor in the Department of English at the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. I served as Chairperson of AUB’s Department of English from 2010-14.

My work is in dialogue with global research communities, but importantly also aims at creating communities of digital research in the arts and humanities across the global university (NYU), as well as at a regional (MENASA) and local (UAE/Gulf) level.

In digital humanities, I am interested in what might be called location-based or site-specific inquiry working with geospatial data to model phenomena of human culture, a field that has become known as the spatial humanities. The digital map interface interests me as a medium of data assemblage of cultural materials, both historical and contemporary. I am also particularly interested in mobile media and their role(s) in the spatial humanities for multilingual environments and through social, participatory creation. Furthermore, the spatial humanities projects that I often stem from non-Western cultures.

In digital medieval studies, I am working to create open, inclusive corpora for computational textual research in medieval studies. Such research allows us to make micro-, meso- and macro-level observations about the interrelatedness of bodies of texts as well as to discover patterns of discursive similarity, thereby expanding traditional notions of intertextuality. I work with geo-visualization, network visualization and alignment as ways of framing old and new questions in literary history. Machine learning for entity extraction is an important methods for connecting my interests in corpora and the spatial humanities.

In medieval studies, I have been interested for many years in placing medieval literature in a global, comparative, multi-lingual context. My research has focused on the mobility of texts between the Arabograph world of the southern and eastern Mediterranean and medieval Europe. I work in a number of medieval European and Mediterranean languages: middle English, old / middle French, Latin, old Spanish, medieval Italian and Arabic. I have published on questions of mouvance, compilation, rewriting and patronage in late medieval courts.

I firmly believe that, if empowered by the methods in the critique, creation and management of digital knowledge, the Arab region can work to close the knowledge gap across many media. I am convinced that creating knowledge from within, and disseminating it openly and freely, allows us to critique received discourses about language, society and culture, supplanting them with alternative, informed ones.

Keywords for my research

digital humanities; spatial humanities; open corpora; knowledge creation; AI for culture; multilingualism; comparative literature; medieval studies; French studies; Arabic studies

Header image: @DJWrisley, Vase, Conjunto Arqueológico Madinat Al-Zahra