More inclusive, more active, more digital. The Digital Orientalist 2022/2023

We are back. And we are excited. As more and more activities resume in-person after all around the world, the Digital Orientalist continues to do what it does best: connecting online people and ideas to open a new year of conversations about the digital world. New members have joined us, setting the stage for a more comprehensive agenda.

We concluded last year with a conference in June, themed “Infrastructure.” Did you miss it? Would you like to refresh you memory about what new projects are being developed? Twice a month on Wednesday, from September to March, we will publish on our youtube channel the recordings of many talks, free to you and all to watch, use in class, or to get ideas.

Our media presence continues to grow, with +50K views to our website so far in 2022, regular growth on Twitter and Facebook.

We are grateful to everyone for the support and continuous engagement. It is you, our readers, who made possible for the Digital Orientalist to develop into what it is today: a place where ideas turn into occasions.

The Digital Orientalist’s Team for 2022/2023

Over this summer, we have also been active recruiting new members, receiving more applications than what we could possibly accept! Along with it, we underwent some restructuring.

Cornelis van Lit, the founder of the Digital Orientalist, continues to lead the project and offer support for the growth and functioning of the team. His post, “ScanTailor: Installation Instructions and Impressions,” continues to be one of the most viewed posts.

Maddalena Poli is the new Editor in Chief, taking over responsibilities previously managed by Daigengna Duoer, who did an excellent job in guiding the team during the a.y. 2021/2022. Maddalena joined the DO in 2020, and has written about digital tools, their limitations, and their impact in the workflow when researching ancient Chinese documents written on bamboo strips.

Next in line are Editors, i.e. those who oversee and supervise the activities in each of our four area studies. Mariana Zorkina continues to serve as Editor for Sinology. She has discussed the hidden perils of digital data, in a widely-circulated post “Can we really trust Digital Humanities?“. The Sinology team sees the return of Lu Wang, who has written about text mining and data cleaning; and the addition of Henry Jacobs, who will bring to our attention emerging databases to research ancient Chinese writings.

The team for Northeast Asian studies continues to be supervised by James H. Morris, a well-known member of the DO. In this group, we find as returning members Michele Eduarda Brasil de Sá for Japanese studies and Elizabeth Lee for Korean studies. The new members are

Byungjun Kim for Korean studies. Byungjun researcher at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology with a focus on investigating tools like machine learning, bibliometrics, and natural language processing;

Joanne Bernardi as guest contributor for Japanese studies, who has a long experience in developing DH project and using DH tools in educational settings;

Anna Oskina, also guest-contributing for Japanese studies with a focus on DH and translating.

One of the novelty of this year is the establishment of a Central Asia team, composed of both returning and new members, who will strengthen the focus on areas attracting more and more attention. The Editor is Rachel Griffith, a new addition to the DO. Rachel comes to us already fluent in DH, which she used to analyze handwriting in Tibetan writings, among others.

Among the returning members, Daigengna continues to discuss DH projects and tools for Buddhist studies, connecting Mongolia, Tibet, Manchuria, Republican China and Imperial Japan.

Tom Newhall, who joined us last year, is a returning member. Tom does research on Chinese Buddhist monastic rule books. His connection with DH comes from understanding how text analysis can be used to digitize and study this written material.

Adrian Plau, also a returning member of the Central Asia team, focuses on Indian studies. He is an analyst at Wellcome Collection, and has written about their collection of manuscripts, mapping, and has co-authored a well-received piece on how to catalog materials in different languages to make it as user friendly as possible.

The Central Asia team welcomes three more members. Christopher Diamond is our new contributor for South Asian studies. He is the co-founder of ANUBhasha, a collective of philologists using DH and working on premodern South Asia documents.

Alice Casalini works on Buddhist Art in Central Asia, in the area of Gandhāra. Alice’s connection to DH comes from the desire to use digital tools for artistic and archeological reconstructions, as well as in educational venues.

Last but not least, we have the largest group of this year’s Digital Orientalist composition. Middle East and North East African Studies, under the guidance of Jonathan Robker, will bring to you the voices of 12 people all engaged with DH. As returning members:

  • Cornelis van Lit, the DO founder;
  • So Miyagawa, who has written about Ancient Egyptian and Coptic Manuscripts;
  • Elizabeth Bishop, who discusses the issue of colonization in African studies and how to move forward;
  • Emphrem Ishac, a specialist of Syriac Liturgical Studies;
  • Shiva Mihan, working with DH and Islamic Art;
  • Theodora Zampaki, a scholar of Greco-Arabic studies applying DH to her research.

We have then several exciting additions. Tyler Kynn is a professor of Ottoman studies, and created The Hajj Trail, a tool to simulate 17th c. hajj journeys and used in educational settings. Anaïs Wion is a researcher of the history of Christian Ethiopia in 15th to 19th cenutires.

Zachary Butler, PhD candidate at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, applies DH to New Testament Studies. Büşranur Bekman will continue Fatma’s exploration of DH in Ottoman Studies, along with Elene Giunashvil. Mark Boersma will focus on digital resources to learn languages.

Finally, Amany Abd El Hameed is a PhD candidate at Helwan University. She is a consulting scholar for the Penn Museum Heritage Center, and for the DO she will discuss the use of DH in curatorial settings.

And there is more!

Along with this vast array of voices, we will also have pieces by external contributors about databases, 3D printing, and more. As usual, the academic year will culminate with a conference in June 2023, free to all.

We look forward to connecting with you.

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