Persuasive Maps: P.J. Mode Collection

Persuasive Maps is a collection of more than 800 maps collected by P.J. Mode housed at Cornell University library. This collection holds maps dating from the 1800s to the present day and covers various geographical areas of the world.

….While this map provides a reasonably accurate view of the world as known in 1681, it was intended primarily for religious education, bound (folded) into copies of English-language bibles and other religious works of the 17th and early 18th centuries (Shirley 1983, #457). The seven days of creation are illustrated in the panels at the top of the map. Below are the expulsion from Paradise, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, God speaking to Moses, the Ten Commandments, the Crucifixion and the Ascension. The voice of God is represented by Hebrew characters…The map is centered on Eden.

Persuasive Cartography seeks to communicate more than geographical information and intends to influence opinion or to send a particular message. Since maps represent a subject viewpoint, cartographers needed to decide what information to include or exclude.

Maps sit somewhere on the spectrum between science and art and subjectivity and objectivity. The maps of this collated collection are chosen because they communicate messages beyond geographical information. For instance, they illustrate a whole range of human concerns from religious, political, military, commercial, moral and social.

On May 3, 2016 P.J. Mode in a presentation to The Grolier Club of New York and New York Society, gave an interesting talk entitled “Deconstructing Persuasive Cartography”, in which he elaborated on the concept and idea of Persuasive maps and discussed different examples of maps from his collection. Link to the video

 

…Lady Liberty, wearing a cape labeled “Votes for Women,” stands astride the states (colored white) that had adopted suffrage. She holds aloft her torch, bringing “enlightenment” to women in those states still in the dark. The faces of these women are turned up to the light, and some reach out in hope. (Many have fashionably short hair and hats, reflecting the middle and upper class core of the suffrage movement. Dando 2010, 224)….

Along with developments in technology and communications, the methodology of persuasive cartography has also developed. “The collection reflects a variety of persuasive tools: allegorical, satirical and pictorial mapping; selective inclusion or exclusion; unusual use of projections, color, graphics and text; and intentional deception.”

The collection can be searched or browsed by subject, posted date or the entire collection. Each item provides more information about the item such as title, subject, date, creator, size/extent, and collector’s note. The collector’s note are the result of P.J. Mode research and analysis.

 

 

The Book: Print and Manuscript in Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East (1450-1650)

The book: Print and Manuscript…” is a free online course offered by Harvardx on edx (which is an online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT University). This module is about the history of the book and printing.

Books have played an important role in human history and life. At one time, books were the unique means of transmitting information and knowledge and thus shaped humanity’s understanding of the world. Books have existed in various forms and over the course of time have undergone significant changes. Developments in materials, printing techniques and methods have all affected the structure, format and availability of books.

This online course sheds light on various historical aspects of the book, such as, physical structure, and production. The course starts by exploring the history of the early printed book in Europe (1450-1650); then it expands to address printing methods in East Asia with a focus on China and its woodblock printing methods. Lastly, it explores the production of manuscripts in the Islamic world and Middle East with a focus on the “Ottoman context, where a vibrant manuscript culture remained dominant until 1800.”

 

Moreover, illustrated books, handwritten and marginal annotations in books are discussed along with examples of manuscripts that are available online in the Harvard Libraries, which are accessible for deeper investigation and studies.

 

In addition, McGill’s valuable collection of manuscripts and rare books can be explored in order to gain a better and deeper understanding of various aspects of books and manuscripts. More information on Islamic Manuscripts at McGill can be found here.

A list of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman-Turkish Manuscripts held at Islamic Studies Library Collection can also be accessed here.

Center for Contemporary Islam

The Center for Contemporary Islam (CCI) is part of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town. CCI was founded in 1995 in response to the Department of Religious Studies’ mission to understand and study various aspects of religion in contemporary African society.  Many projects have been completed at CCI, whether independently or in collaboration with other scholars and institutes from all over the world. Projects  cover a wide range of topics related to Islam and Muslim society such as: Islamic Law in Africa; Religion, Culture and Identity in post-apartheid South Africa; Muslim Publics in Africa; Islam, Gender and Sexuality; Islam and Manuscript Cultures in sub-Saharan Africa; and Muslim Intellectuals in the Lake Chad Transnational Space.

One of the CCI’s objectives is to provide a platform from which researchers can share and reflect their ideas and thoughts about Islam and Muslims. This has led to the creation of two publications both with a focus on Islam in Africa:

  • The Journal for Islamic Studies (JIS) – a peer-reviewed publication accredited by the Department of Education (South Africa)
  • The Annual Review of Islam in Africa (ARIA) – a forum for young and established researchers to publish their findings in a shorter and accessible format.

JIS can be accessed through McGIll Library from here.

ARIA is also accessible online from 1998 to 2016 click here.

Muslim Heritage: Discover the golden age of Muslim civilization

Muslim Heritage is a web portal launched by the “Foundation for Science and Technology and civilisation” (FSTC) in 2002. This is one of its major projects in the study of Muslim heritage with the purpose of advancing human civilization. It is an online education community of Muslims and non-Muslims, which aims to raise awareness on the relevance and importance of Muslim heritage. The portal contains thousands of peer reviewed articles, numerous reports and essays, as well as news on Muslim heritage related topics and events.

The portal is well organized and materials are classified based on main subjects (i.e. Science, environment, culture and people, etc.) and then sub-classified (i.e. Astronomy, chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Art, Agriculture, Geography, etc.). Moreover the searching features helps to retrieve information in different formats faster and easier.

The idea for the founding of the FSTC was initiated by a professor of Mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester, with the hope to establish an organization to research inventions and the cultural roots of early discoveries that originated in non-western world and which still affect our world. This organization is a non-political, non-sectarian and non-religious in approach and its mission is stated as:

  • To foster an accurate understanding of the thousand years of exceptional advances in science, technology, medicine and the arts made by men and women within the Muslim World from the 7th century onwards.
  • To generate social cohesion, cultural awareness and respect through the exploration of Muslim and World heritage and how it is woven into our global society and civilization so that we all share and benefit from this heritage.
  • To promote science and learning as an alternative to negative or extremist behavior.

This academic channel aims to discover and shed light on Muslim civilizations and heritage and therefore is designed to study most Muslim countries and cultures. The diversity in their approach is reflected by the various gathered resources all made accessible through this portal. For example, the Architecture and Art section covers geographical locations from China to Syria, Turkey and Iran.

  

Muslim Heritage can be find on social media via : Twitter Facebook Email

Iran’s Cultural Heritage sites (Virtual tour)

Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism organization of Iran (ICHTO) was founded in 1985 and is administered by the government of Iran. The institution ICHTO is responsible in co-operation with UNESCO in safeguarding, preserving and promoting the cultural, natural, tangible and intangible heritage of Iran.

ICHTO provides information (mostly in Persian) on different heritage sites within Iran and they have recently added a virtual guided tour (in English and Persian) of different sites.  UNESCO’s website also provides full descriptions of these protected sites.

Each country’s heritage showcases part of its identity, history, culture and values as well reflecting a source of inspiration and life. The world of today was received from previous generations and cultural heritage and artifacts are gifts of their knowledge and life. These not only carry a fascination to observe, but are also valuable sources from which to learn about how civilization, culture and humanity has changed and developed throughout history. However much of this heritage is irreplaceable, unique and fragile.

For example, the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran

“The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, in the north-west of the country, consists of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices – the oldest of

Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran @UNESCO © Sorush Angabini

which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century – are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian.”

UNESCO with the collaboration of state parties all around the world aims to protect the cultural heritage that bears such Values, which are important to be protected for future generations. For that reason the state parties are responsible to identify, promote and take necessary measures to safeguard their heritage as well as to present them to UNESCO along with a complete nomination file containing their Outstanding Universal Values, history and complete introduction to the respected cultural heritage. If all the required criteria are met than that site may be inscribed on the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

Twenty-two cultural sites of Iran are inscribed on the UNESCO’s list. These sites can be browsed on ICHTO’s website based on their geographical location. By clicking on the name of the site the virtual tour and map of the site will be accessible.

Golestan Palace (Iran (Islamic Republic of)) @UNESCO © Sorush Angabini

 

“Historiography of Early Modern Ottoman Europe” (HOE) Database

Bibliographical Database Historiography in Ottoman Europe (15th until 18th centuries)

The modern historiography practices in Western Europe is different from historiographical traditions in ancient world. These practices does not necessarily reflect nor acknowledge the existence of rich historiographical traditions. On the other hand Sources that formed the cultural frameworks of Ottoman Europe were mostly religious writings, however the polyglot historiography of that region sheds light to the secular part of writings, which are considered as important primary sources for social and cultural researches. Therefore the Bibliographical Database Historiography in Ottoman Europe (15th until 18th centuries)  HOE was launched by the Department of the History of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and the University Library of the Ruhr-University in Bochum to fill the gap and to provide a comprehensive bibliography on the historiographic texts written in all languages of Ottoman Europe for the period of 1500 to 1800.

HOE database provides meta-data on various published and unpublished primary and secondary historiographical sources of Ottoman Europe (ex. chronicles, histories, hagiographies, inscriptions, maps…) which can be found under the “Main section” of the database. Information about particular collections and references, can be found under the “Tool section”. This database also offers information about content, manuscripts as well as author, title and edition of the materials. When available this information is linked to online resources too.

Sharia Source

SHARIAsource is a flagship research venture of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School.

The mission of this programme is organizing information available from all over the world about Islamic law in an accessible and useful manner. SHARIAsource is not a religious organization nor does it advocate any particular group or institution. It concentrates on academic principles and involvement by including diversity of various perspectives, peer-reviewed analysis and free and open exchange of ideas.

SHARIAsource creates a platform of storing Islamic law’s primary sources and it cooperates with various team of editors from all over the globe; moreover it provides the opportunity for people to analyze critically the mentioned sources and it also promotes research in order to shed light on academic as well as public discourse about Islamic law.

Their well-organized and classified portal provides access to cutting-edge content and context regarding Islamic law. Through this portal numerous resources can be browsed by Topics & Themes; Geographic Regions, Empires & Eras; Editors and Contributors and Document Types (ex.: Historical/Contemporary primary sources, Expert Analysis, legal documents, etc.). In addition to providing access to full text documents, the number of available resources associated to each category is presented as well which can be very useful to academics, journalist and policy makers.

Additionally readers who are interested to know about special events and news, their blog provides them with useful information in that regards.

“SHARIAsource was developed with support from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and from the Luce and MacArthur Foundations.”

 

Syrian Print Archive

Syrian Prints Archive  is an independent documentary initiative “without any political, partisan or religious affiliations”, that provides archiving and storing services for Syrian print media issued since the outbreak of the March 2011 Revolution, regardless of content or orientations. Between March 2011 and the end of 2014, Syrian media witnessed a significance rise in the number of print publications.

These publications showcase the development of Syrian media and represent the new attempts at pluralism in Syria. Furthermore, the intellectual, social, political, economic and literary content of Syrian print publications is an important part of Syria’s recent memory, which documents a significant stage of the country’s history.

However, approximately 70% of these publications are no longer published due to various factors such as printing, technical or marketing problems, as well as a lack of reliable and stable host platforms. The value of these publications and their preservation were among the initial incentives to preserve and provide access to this huge collection. In November 2014, the website Syrian Prints Archive was officially launched during the first conference of Syrian Journalist Association in Gaziantep, sponsored by NPA.

This archive provides various interesting and helpful browsing and searching features. Aside from being fully text searchable, the site offers other useful search criteria. Searches can be conducted using titles and personal names along with complete references to associated articles and a number of related publications. Moreover this archives presents a variety of informatics info-graphs containing useful statistics on Syrian print publications.

أرشيف المجلات الادبية والثقافية العربية

 أرشيف المجلات الدبية والثقافية العربية This is an open access archive of various Arabic resources, containing digitized journals, books and articles from all over the Arab world.

This archive aims to preserve Arabic literature and cultural heritage as well as serving research and educational purposes. For that reason, a great number of journals (201), books (20,996) and articles (268,065) have been digitized. The collection covers a long period of time, ranging from journals dated in 1876 up to the present from different countries such as, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Algeria.

أرشيف المجلات الادبية والثقافية العربية is a searchable archive. Journals can be browsed by title and books are listed based on the author’s name.

Some of the important titles available on this database are as follows (some are available at McGill, Islamic Studies Library):

المقتطف from 1876 to 1952;  At Islamic studies library

الهلال from 1892 to 2007;  At Islamic studies library

المشرق from 1989 to 1914;  At Islamic studies library

لغة العرب from 1911 to 1931;  At Islamic studies library

الكرمل from 1981 to 2009;  At Islamic studies library

Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al-Tanjim (The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology)

Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al-Tanjim (التفهيم لاوائل صناعة التنجيم) is a Persian book of instruction in the elements of the Art of Astrology written by a celebrated Iranian scientist Abu- Rayhan al-Biruni, in 440-362HD/ 973-1048 AD.  It is one of the oldest texts in Mathematics and Astrology and has had a deep scientific influence on the world since most Iranian and non-Iranian scientists have made use of this text in their scientific works and papers.

The global significance and values of this book made it to be recognized as an outstanding World Documented Heritage by UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme and in 2011 its oldest existing manuscript in Persian was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of documented heritage. (More information and Nomination file about this manuscripts is accessible here)

The main purpose of Al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sana’at al- Tanjim is to introduce the principles of astrology. The book begins with geometry and arithmetic and continues with astronomy and chronology, moreover Biruni explains the use of the astrolabe for astronomical and astrological purposes. This book consists of 530 questions and answers in an understandable manner for new learners of science. Each new topic starts with a question posed by an imaginary student and ends in an answer by an invented professor. Biruni wrote this book responding to Reyhanah’s request – the daughter of Hussein/Hassan Khwarizmi in 420 HD/ 1029 AD.

What makes this book particularly precious and adds to its rarity is its scientific and linguistic significance, its physical specification and the time of its transcription – less than hundred years after author’s death.

From the linguistic point of view this self-study on Astrology is considered an important work in Persian language since Biruni used the most original and oldest terms and expressions of the Persian language regarding history, traditions and chronology of the Iranians in this book. Moreover Abu- Rayhan al- Biruni used some figures and drawings in order to explain difficult mathematical and astrological concepts in a simplified manner; both the figures and the script were written in bright red and black color.

This manuscript has been digitized by National Library and Archives of Iran and is available on DVD and can be accessed at Islamic Studies Library at McGill.