Launched in 2009, the Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research (AMAR) is a private Lebanese organization working towards the preservation of recorded and printed Arab musical tradition of the Nahda (approx. 1903-1935). AMAR also aims at supporting on-going scholarly research in musicology, and promoting traditional Arab music. To do so, AMAR actively collects, catalogues, and digitizes printed scores and audio records, organizes public lectures, scientific conferences, and musical concerts, and ensures its unique collection is accessible to worldwide researchers and the general public.
Today, AMAR has one of the largest known record collections of Egyptian/Syro-Lebanese Arab music from 1903 through to the 1930s. AMAR also has some partial collections of Lebanese studio recordings that date back to the 1950s.
The geographical focus of the foundation’s work spans from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, the Arab Gulf to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and includes minority groups existing in these countries such as the Syriac, Kurdish, and Coptic communities as well as Sufi orders. If initially, AMAR’s dissemination work relied primarily on CDs and booklets, with the rise of the Internet, efforts were redirected towards the creation of “a website that will deliver Arab music at the highest quality that available technology allows.”
On the website, visitors will find a dynamic timeline highlighting important contributors to the development and circulation of traditional Arab music. Despite some limitations outline in the introductory paragraph, the timeline remains an interesting source of information.
Complementing the timeline, the Artists & Music section offers a different way to navigate the various singers, and composers included in the database:
Moreover, in the past ten years, AMAR produced over 200 Podcast episodes (in Arabic) focusing on individual artists, musical techniques and/or instruments. And the list of events available on a dedicated page gives a idea of the variety of manifestations AMAR participated in and organized: exhibitions, concerts, panels, film screenings, etc. Unfortunately, the most recent ones go back to 2021: one can only hope they will resume activities in this area soon. The Documents page gives access to lengthy and well-documented papers on various people and topics:
Last, the Products page is where one can order materials published by the foundation from, mostly CDs but also a monograph:
It is worthy to note that traditional Arab music enthusiasts will find original music available for listening in a number of the website’ sections (Artists & music, Podcast, and Products). Be advised that the sound quality varies from one recording to another.
For more information, we invite you to consult the Press and Press TV Kits, and/or contact the AMAR Foundation. Their website is available in Arabic and English.
Before concluding this semester, we had the occasion to do an email interview with one of our Library student worker, Dhruv Mehndiratta, with whom we had the opportunity to work for few semesters.
We would like to thank Dhruv and all our student workers for their hard work and dedication!
1.Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an international student from India, majoring in Mathematics and Economics (minoring in Political Science). Having grown up around Delhi, I know Hindi, Urdu, and English. I also took German throughout school but unfortunately am nowhere near adept at it. I joined McGill in Fall 2020 as a U0 student, but, courtesy of COVID-19, was only able to come physically to Montreal the next year in August 2021 for the upcoming Fall semester.
2.What made you want to apply to work for the library?
Other than the obvious perks of it being a campus job perfectly suited for a part time employee/full-time student, the thing that really drew me to work at the library was the opportunity to undertake organizational tasks in a calm and orderly manner – and get paid for it! I’ve always taken comfort in order and organization and knowing I would get to do it in a positive working environment with union protection & rules was all I needed to know before applying.
3.What kind of work have you been doing?
The work has varied over time, but so far I have done barcoding, vacuumed books in HSSL1, updated records on WMS2, re-shelved books, assisted patrons in a number of ways, installed and shifted books onto new shelves.
4.Has working in the library helped you in any way or form?
Other than the regular stream of income, working in the library has given me the opportunity to get to know some great people, feel a part of the city, as well as providing me with something solid but still flexible to fix my schedule and keep myself busy.
5.Have the other languages you know helped you in you work in the library?
While my knowledge of Hindi and Urdu hasn’t been necessary, it is fun to sometimes be able to pick up a book and understand what it says while most other in the university would not. Plus it’s always fun to hear some people confidently mis-pronounce words in a language you know very well.
6.What aspect of the work did you like the most?
My favourite task so far has easily been updating records on WMS. I find it easy to get in a continuous rhythm and on occasion I don’t even notice how much time has passed. In general, however, the organizational nature of most, if not all tasks, is what I enjoy most.
7.What is –so far– your most vivid memory of your times as a student time at McGill?
On March 20 of 2022, I was in a café around Rue Rachel and saw a bunch of McGill students in giraffe costumes jaywalking. I’ve seen funnier things happen, for sure, but as far as vividity goes, that’s number one.
8.Do you have any suggestion or recommendations for other students like yourself? Is thereanything you would like to share about your experience of working and studying?
I would definitely recommend getting a Work/Study Authorization and submitting an application to a bunch of on-campus jobs, all McGill libraries included. It allows you to meet a bunch of people, get some professional experience (which is especially important if you’re an international student wanting to stay in Canada), provides you with a constant source of income which can either finance your lifestyle or give you with the opportunity to start saving, and the hours are extremely flexible. As far as studying goes, if you have the opportunity to take only 4 courses a semester instead of 5, do it, because you will definitely understand the material better. I’ve always had to take five course semesters, and there’s always been at least one course where I feel like I could’ve learned better and more efficiently, even if I ended up with an A. A way to get some four course semesters if you’re on a tight schedule with regards to your degree is to take some summer courses.
9.Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I feel like I’ve shared all I can. Working at the library has been a great experience and everyone who has the ability to try and work there if they can!
Thank you very much for your time, Dhruv, and we would like to wish you best of luck in all your endeavor!
1.HSSL: Humanities and Social Sciences Library
2.WMS: Worldshare Management Services is Library cloud-based management platform.
Disclaimer: The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Islamic Studies Library.
The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive (IPSOLHA) is an online archive for primary and secondary sources related to the legal and administrative history of the Indian Princely States started in 2021. Originally sponsored by the Society of Fellows of Dartmouth College, and a Digital Scholarship Grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies Digital Learning Initiative, the project later received support from the Department of History and Information Technology & Consulting at Dartmouth College as well as the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) at the Center for Research Libraries.
“During the period of British colonial rule, there were hundreds of semi-sovereign, semi-autonomous states across the South Asian subcontinent. (…) these states (…) were incubators for innovative legal, administrative, and political ideas and offered a unique counterbalance to the hegemony of British rule. Yet despite their unique history, studying these states is complicated by the scattered nature of their archival remains.“
The main objective of IPSOLHA is to make the archives relating to these Princely States ,more easily accessible by identifying, cataloguing, and digitizing them when possible to support the legal and administrative history of the Indian Princely States. At the time of our visit, the database included the description of more than 3,000 individual documents, and future efforts will focus not only on continuing to enrich the database with new materials, but also on promoting it as a research tool starting with a series of presentations by Elizabeth Lhost, principal investigator.
The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive proposes eight categories based on resources types to browse the collection:
Each category displays a list of sources -in a customizable view- some of which accessible online, others to be consulted on site at their holding institution. The left-hand side menu allow visitors to filter results by Subject Headings, Document type, Language, State, and Holding Institutions.
Specialists will particularly appreciate that documents in many languages (English, Gujarati, Hindi, Hindustani, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu, etc.) are included in the database, and that Princely States are identified for each source.
For each item listed, IPSOLHA provides a lengthy description including Subject Headings and Type of resource tags allowing to navigate documents within the database (Main & IPSOLHA tabs), and instructions for accessing the materials (Access tab):
Interested scholars can get in touch with the project team at ipsolha [at] gmail.com, use the Contact form, or follow updates on Facebook, Twitter.
RIWAQ is a non-profit organization funded in 1991, and its goal is the protection and development of Palestine’s architectural heritage by documenting and restoring architectural heritage sites and buildings.
Documentation of Palestine history and cultural heritage have been challenging throughout its history. Primarily because of the destruction of many of architectural and cultural heritage, especially during Nakba (1948) where many of Palestine’s cultural heritage sites were destroyed along with villages, buildings, etc. Secondly due to lack of accurate and scientific registry of architectural heritage, in other words, due to various reasons such as the impact of the system of power, or colonialism, it seems that even the existing documentations of Palestine’s heritage have been conducted to serve a mission or an agenda and not necessarily to serve scientific purposes.
Therefore, in response to the great need in documentation, preservation, and discovery of Palestine’s cultural heritage, public space enthusiasts and heritage activists established RIWAQ. At first it was formed as a project called RIWAQ Registry of Historic Buildings in Palestine, which resulted in creation of a database of historic buildings in Gaza Strip, West Bank, especially to register the most endangered components of cultural heritage.
Later, between 1994 to 2004, 50320 historic building were documented by RIWAQ registry from various villages and cities, which later was also published in three volumes. Moreover, the field work conducted by RIWAQ team resulted in creation of 400 GIS map and a collection of photographs.
RIWAQ’s archives contains a rich collection of over 50000 analog photographs and more than 100,000 digital photographs. This collection presents Palestine’s documentary heritage from 1980’s and show cases its transformations.
“Archives are perceived as the memory of a nation archival documents, transcripts, photos, and maps narrate the everyday life of a given society. They bear witness to the main crucial turning points in the history of society.”1 Thus RIWAQ’s archive is an important and valuable source of information/knowledge to Palestine’s cultural heritage.
However, RIWAQ’s work is not limited to documentation of historic and architectural sites, but their work changed the paradigm in the field of heritage from economic, social, and environmental liability into an important tool for economic and social change. Their focus has been mainly on the rural areas and by taking on restoration of villages in Palestine they also helped job creation along with preservation of the cultural heritage sites. Moreover, their project helped raising awareness about the role of cultural heritage in Palestinians identity.
“Through its work, RIWAQ has succeeded in responding to the vital question of what it takes to rehabilitate an entire town, not only physically, but socially, culturally, and economically.”2
To this end, an interesting and interactive map of Jerusalem’s rural areas has been created. This map is a collection of sketches documenting oral history in that area.
By clicking on different parts of the map user will have access to a more data that narrates an object’s history, a popular vocation at the time or an artifact, etc. It also provides information about where the data is collected with the name of the narrator as well as pictures of those places and more detailed drawings.
Besides their active role in documentation and restoration of cultural and architectural heritage, RIWAQ also offers workshop and training in specialized topics and techniques such as the structural analysis of stone structures, traditional iron works, mural paintings, and photometry to those interested in working in restoration field.
Riwaq won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
RIWAQ’s website provides access to a wide range of different types of information, such as maps, photos, articles, etc.
Tell us a little about yourself. (Background, field of research, etc)
I work on pre-modern traditions of commentary in two fields: commentaries written on the Qur’an, a genre called tafsīr, and commentaries on works of balāgha, a field that encompasses aspects of Arabic linguistics, stylistics, and literary theory. The bulk of my research is in the period widely referred to in Islamic studies, for better or for worse, as the post-classical period, covering from around the twelfth century to modernity. I work on the content of commentaries from this period, as well as broader questions related to the history and development of that genre of writing, and the scholarly cultures and environments in which such practices of writing emerged. Much of the scholarly output from that period remains extant in manuscript form, and even when the works are published, their manuscripts contain a wealth of other types of information that is invaluable for reconstructing intellectual history. That is a roundabout way of saying that I also work quite a bit with manuscripts.
a. Follow up question: what drew you to this area of research?
I find commentary writing fascinating, especially in the fields of tafsīr and balāgha. The nature of commentary writing is that it is integrative, meaning that it brings in a number of other disciplines to bear on whatever it is discussing. In many ways, commentaries reflect the latest in the field from a variety of disciplines in the pre-modern period. As you get into more expansive commentary literature, you start to see what pre-modern scholars thought was the horizon of interpretive possibilities when it came to language use. Oftentimes – not always – you find that what they have to say about the Qur’an and language interpretation is directly relevant to theories that are being offered on these topics today.
I have long been interested in the language and style of the Qur’an, as well as issues related to how language is interpreted. How the Qur’an is and/or ought to be interpreted is of course a continuing matter of debate outside of academic circles. When I was an undergraduate, I began to write papers on some aspects of Qur’anic style, and I drew on the Qur’an commentary tradition, the natural place to look for insight on those matters. I wrote a paper on Qur’anic rhyme, and another paper on Qur’anic humour. Neither of those papers were very good, but both of them inform a larger project I am now working on related to the intertwined development of balāgha and tafsīr. It is nice to see these undeveloped ideas turn into something substantial much later. Sometimes you don’t know how what you are researching will come together or show its importance later.
I would go on to receive substantial training in reading commentaries. After my MA, I moved to the Middle East, where I was trained for many years in the close reading of a range of texts, including some texts in tafsīr and balāgha, and related fields like grammar, and made use of commentary and supercommentary writing, the latter being commentaries written upon commentaries. This was invaluable training for me because this type of close attention is a feature of traditional Islamic pedagogy and requires a large time investment from the end of both student and teacher. I am very grateful for those who invested substantial amounts of their time in me. I was able to study some medieval handbooks word for word, like al-Taftāzānī’s Mukhtaṣar al-maʿānī, a fourteenth century primer in balāgha that was central to balāgha and tafsīr. It engendered its own commentary tradition, and it is still studied to this day. That book is also an important piece of the research I do today. That kind of training had – and continues to have – a significant impact on my ability to read and engage with the texts in my field, and it also shaped how I think about the traditions from which those works derive.
I am also drawn to these areas of research precisely because they are under-researched. This is in part because scholars have long been interested in origins in Islamic studies. As a corollary, works from later times have often been depicted as originating from a period of decline, and stamped by their period. For these reasons, most of the works in what we can call the post-classical period have received little to no attention. Just as an example, even though the Mukhtaṣar I just mentioned was central for hundreds of years, and even though there is probably no major manuscripts library without a copy of this work, if not dozens of copies, there is nothing substantial written on it in the western academy. This, at least to me, creates this strange dissonance in how we present and engage with the past, where works like this that were clearly important are understudied, while other works which were relatively less important enjoy the continued attention of scholars today. Even worse, the ideas and theories that developed in this long period of scholarship remain relatively unknown, which creates its own host of problems. For example, sometimes the same theories are assumed to have no precedent and are simply replicated today. The long and the short of it is that because of my training in these areas, I want to make substantial contributions to our knowledge of two fields which are critical and have relevance today but remain understudied.
I should say something about manuscripts. Using manuscripts is unavoidable in the field because so much of the heritage of Islamic scholarship is available only in manuscript form and restricting yourself to printed works severely limits the scope of your scholarship. Even before any type of formal training in manuscripts, I was using manuscripts for research or just for interest. A lot of the time when I would look for a book, its manuscripts would come up in internet searches; someone had helpfully uploaded a copy to some internet forum or site. Some of those forums have unfortunately gone defunct and have been replaced to varying degrees with other sites or types of social media. In my undergrad and MA, I started to work on some of Walid Saleh’s manuscripts projects related to tafsīr, and that was my first formal training in that area. For example, I read with him the entirety of a treatise he was editing by a Mamluk scholar named al-Biqāʾī, and did some work for Professor Saleh on the introduction another scholar, al-Aṣfahānī, wrote for his tafsīr. During my PhD, I worked on another manuscripts project with him; we edited a lacuna that was missed in a recent printed edition of an eleventh century tafsīr work by al-Wāḥidī. I also worked on a manuscripts project for Jeannie Miller on using marginalia in manuscripts of al-Jāḥiẓ’s Kitāb al-Ḥayawān, or Book of Animals, to trace the transmission of that work. That project informed some of the focus on paratexts in my dissertation. Those were some of the influences in my work on manuscripts.
2. What can you tell us about your dissertation?
I wrote my dissertation at the University of Toronto, although from home would probably be more accurate, because I actually researched and wrote it almost in its entirety during the worst of the pandemic. I had received a grant from U of T to do some manuscripts research at the Süleymaniye library in Istanbul, which I did for a couple of months in the fall of 2019. When I was there, I looked at manuscripts of the two main works of an eleventh century grammarian, ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī, his Dalāʾil al-iʿjāz (Markers of Inimitability) and his Asrār al-balāgha (Secrets of Eloquence), because I was working on ʿAbd al-Qāhir for a larger project. During the pandemic, in the Spring of 2020, I began to work on these manuscripts in earnest, thinking that the research on their paratexts would result in an article. But that one article became two, then morphed into three, and then I realized I had a whole new project. I think that’s probably a common experience for scholars doing continued research in the humanities. And that became my dissertation. It recently won the Malcolm H. Kerr dissertation award, honorable mention for the humanities.
The dissertation itself was meant to show how we can trace an intellectual history, in this case primarily related to balāgha and tafsīr, through the use of paratextual material. In this case, I made use of paratexts, here meaning any written material other than the main text itself, taken from over thirty manuscript copies of ʿAbd al-Qāhir’s works. ʿAbd al-Qāhir’s works, especially the Dalāʾil, were foundational for the emerging discipline of balāgha. They would serve as the basis for later textbooks and commentaries in that field.
I used paratextual evidence – ownership notes, colophons, and substantive marginal notes written by scholars who owned copies of his works – to show how these classic works were not lost, as is sometimes claimed, but were rather used, engaged with, and reintroduced throughout the postclassical period up to the modern era. In a specific sense, my dissertation was about these two works, and balāgha and tafsīr, and commentary writing in the post-classical period. However, because I was primarily using paratextual evidence, the project was in a larger sense about broader concerns in book history, scribal and scholarly communities, and intellectual history.
3. What are you working on right now, any specific project?
I have a few projects occupying me. I am currently working here at McGill on the tradition of supercommentary writing on the Qur’an and what it meant to practice Qur’an commentary by the seventeenth century in the pre-modern period. Supercommentaries, by this time, had become a massive endeavour and had become their own genre of writing: they had their own set of concerns and references. I am working on a type of pre-modern footnoting, which is one strategy to manage the information in these large projects. I discovered this strategy in manuscripts of a supercommentary in tafsīr by a seventeenth century scholar, Shihāb al-Dīn al-Khafājī, who wrote his commentary on the tafsīr of al-Bayḍāwī, a fourteenth century scholar. This dovetails nicely with my dissertation, because supercommentary writing is part of that engagement with ʿAbd al-Qāhir, and also because Shihāb al-Dīn al-Khafājī, coincidentally, is one of the most famous owners of ʿAbd al-Qāhir’s works. I am also working on a monograph that traces the interrelated history of balāgha and tafsīr, with a focus on some broader issues, including verbal irony and rhyme in the Qur’an. That is a project that focuses on the content of the commentary and supercommentary traditions in those disciplines, and so it complements the focus on paratexts in my other project. Finally, I am working on revising my dissertation into a monograph for publication.
4. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I received a grant from the Max Weber Foundation to do some manuscripts research this year in Italy, Istanbul, and India, so I am very excited about that. I am presently in Rome now. I saw a massive flock of starlings swarming by the Vatican, which was my first time seeing that. It’s spectacular! I am examining copies of commentary works in my two primary fields for their paratextual evidence. I am optimistic that they will contain a wealth of evidence useful for reconstructing how these works were transmitted and used. In general, I hope that even more scholars will study the content of commentary writing and manuscripts from this period. It is mostly untouched material, and there really is no shortage of amazing discoveries awaiting the unsuspecting researcher.
At the end, we would like to thank you for participating in this interview for the library blog, this is greatly appreciated. And we wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Islamic Studies Library nor McGill University
PhD Candidate at Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University
1.Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sabeena Shaikh and I’m a PhD candidate in the Institute of Islamic Studies. Originally, I’m from Texas where I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. After, I completed my M.A. at Columbia University and then made my way to McGill in the Fall of 2016. My field of study is the intersection of literature, history, and gender/sexuality in the Indian Subcontinent from approximately the 17th– 20th centuries. In particular, I am interested in courtesans who authored poetry in Urdu and Dakkani and have embarked on a project to recover their voices devoid of an exoticizing, fetishizing, and orientalising gaze. Outside of McGill I enjoy teaching Bollywood fitness classes and spending time with Cilantro (Cilly pronounced silly), my rambunctious and adorable dog.
2.What made you want to come study at McGill?
I was welcomed at McGill by a very enthusiastic and friendly supervisor named Pasha Khan. Aside from the allure of living in a Francophone city in North America, I was immediately drawn to the kind of pluralistic and diverse society I found in Montreal. It is a truly unique place that I am fortunate to call home.
3.How do you enjoy the student life, work life, and social life at McGill?
The PhD is sometimes a lonely process, but I have found a good group of colleagues with whom I can celebrate and commiserate. My absolute favorite aspect of the PhD is teaching, and I have been fortunate to instruct and serve as a T.A. [Teaching Assistant] or grader for various courses over the years. While it often makes managing time difficult, I find the most fulfillment from my teaching responsibilities. I think my social life is a bit more active than most PhD students, but perhaps that is because I am naturally an extrovert. McGill has plenty of opportunities to meet, engage, socialize, and interact with other graduate and undergraduate students and its centrality in the city makes it a perfect place to meet young professionals as well.
4.What is your research area?
My research area is pre-modern history and literature in South Asia.
5.what drew you to this area of research?
I began my language journey as an undergraduate in the Hindi-Urdu Flagship at the University of Texas at Austin. I think I fell in love with Urdu poetry while participating in a study abroad program as a Junior and the rest is history!
6.What are you working on right now, any specific project?
Right now, I am reading an 18th century manuscript written by a Deccan courtesan in which there is a very interesting masnavi that seems to be autobiographical. I hope to read this masnavi against the ghazals that this person has authored to say something substantial about their personality.
7.What courses are you currently teaching?
Currently I am teaching Introductory Urdu-Hindi and I have a great group of students that make our early 8:30 am class time tolerable.
8.Are/were you involved in any extra curricular activities (i.e. committee service, volunteering, organizing a conference/workshop, etc.)? If yes, tell us about them.
I have participated in various extracurricular activities (perhaps why I’m still writing my dissertation!) but the most substantial were perhaps my role as the ISLAC [Islamic Studies Library Advisory Committee] representative for MIISSC [McGill Institute of Islamic Studies Student Council] for which I received funding to provide some renovations in the Islamic Studies library, my role in organizing an Islamic paleography and codicology workshop in 20181, and my role as the president of MIISSC many times over. Currently I am serving as the BIPOC [Black Indigenous and People of Color] Graduate Network Coordinator for PGSS [Post Graduate Students Society] and learning about equity and inclusion in various departments at McGill. I like to think that I am an engaged member of McGill and particularly the Institute of Islamic Studies because it is a home away from home for me and many others. I’m simply trying to do my part to make our time here more enjoyable, memorable, and impactful.
9.What is –so far– your most vivid memory of your times as a student time at McGill?
Every year I look forward to the MIISSC Graduate Student Symposium and some of my favorite memories are from the friendships and conversations I shared with other graduate students from around the world. I also really enjoyed the Islamic Studies Poetry Night I held in 2019 where people recited in Persian, Kurdish, Urdu, French, Arabic, German, Albanian, and so many more languages to give the vibe of a true mushaira (poetry gathering). It was a truly magical evening of polyglots and poetry lovers.
10.Do you have any suggestion or recommendations for other students like yourself? Is there anything you would like to share about your experience of working and studying?
I am perhaps not the perfect example of this, but I think it’s important to have a life outside of the PhD, to have interests and hobbies where you can unwind and relax and to find a support system on which to rely. Graduate school is difficult, and I am a big believer in celebrating the small wins to stay motivated and excited about your project.
At the end, we would like to thank you for participating in this interview for the library blog, this is greatly appreciated. And we wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors!
1. see picture 1- 3.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Islamic Studies Library nor McGill University
The Palestinian Oral History Archive digitizes, indexes, catalogues and provides access to over one thousand audio and video testimonies by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Through producing a multi-media database of audio-visual interviews, testimonies and life stories, this project aims to document and preserves the collective experience of Palestinians about Nakba (1948-49) where 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and forced to their neighboring Arab countries.
The beginning of this project goes back to mid- 1990s when Nakba Archive and the Arab Resource Centre for Arts (AL-JANA) started to collect and document these testimonies, by interviewing the members of the first-generation Palestinians refugees in Lebanon. Creation of more than eight hundred video and audio testimonies was the result of their work, which later was incorporated into one collection by POHA.
The value of Oral history collections resides in the fact that it allows for learning about the perspectives and individuals’ narratives that otherwise might not have a voice or not being recorded in the history. (WALBERT, 2011)1. Moreover, at times in history, interview is the only source for collecting information about a place, event or individuals. (Baylor University, 2012)2.
As such this collection is an important resource and Sleiman and Chebaro (2018)3 also mentioned:
This collection is important because it provides a unique primary source on perspectives that are almost not recorded or acknowledge officially. Moreover the oral history gives voice to more people and includes marginalized populations as well as the ordinary people. Palestinian oral history collections have immense potential to contribute to a new historiography of the Nakba since they provide a unique primary source that captures perspectives rarely recorded or acknowledged in official narratives.
POHA organized the collection into four categories:
“1.Uprooting,” constituting the majority of the collection, comprises the entirety of the Nakba Archive series (558 hours of video recordings) and a part of AL-JANA’s (136 hours of audio recording). Here, the focus is on the refugees’ experience of mass displacement during the Nakba, their “uprooting”; this section also comprises accounts of life under the British Mandate and during the 1948–49 war, including the experiences of exile and displacement in Lebanon.
“2.Folktales” (172 hours of audio interviews) encompasses pre-1948 elements of intangible culture in the form of Palestinian folktales, storytelling, traditional songs, proverbs, and poems.
“3.Ayn al-Hilwat” comprises 36 hours of video recordings of women from the ‘Ayn al-Hilwah refugee camp in South Lebanon talking about their occupations, their family lives, and their roles in the establishment of the camp.
“4.Biographies” includes 160 hours of audio, recording the life stories of men and women who played important roles in their communities, or served as models and inspiration there.”
Access the collection from here : https://libraries.aub.edu.lb/poha/Search/Advanced
The interviews are thoroughly indexed and are searchable. Each entry is fully catalogued and has the proper subject(s). Furthermore, each entry has all the details such as the name of the interviewer, interviewee, the duration of the interview and etc.
Founded over in 1999 by Kathryn Haddad and Saleh Abudayyeh, Mizna is an Arab-American not-for-profit organization promoting the artistic and cultural production of contemporary South West Asian and North African (SWANA) artists. Mizna is based in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul), Minnesota, USA.
The online platform aims at “reflect[ing] the depth and multiplicity of [the] community and has been committed to being a space for Arab, Muslim, and other artists from the region to reclaim [their] narratives and engage audiences in meaningful and artistically excellent art.”
In 2003, Mizna engaged in producing the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival (TCAFF) which has become “the largest and longest running Arab film fest in the Midwest”. TCAFF has been showcasing contemporary cinema from the Arab World and from the Arab diaspora, produced by emerging, independent, and established filmmakers, with the objective to present the Arab and Arab American communities in all their complexity far from the stereotyped ways in which they are often depicted in mainstream Western media.
Morgan Library & Museum, located in New Your City, is a museum and an independent research library and is famous for its manuscripts’ collections which mainly consists of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, yet Morgan Library and Museum houses various important Islamic manuscripts as well.
An online exhibition, “Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan” show cases some of these manuscripts containing exceptional paintings as well as religious and secular documents. These manuscripts range from the one that highlight works of “science, biography, history, and poetry” to Qur’an manuscripts. This exhibition provides access to a rich and diverse collection of Islamic manuscripts dating from the late Middle Ages to the nineteenth century.
“Included are such important manuscripts as the Manāfi˓-i hayavān (The Benefits of Animals)—one of the finest surviving Persian examples—and the richest illustrated life of the beloved poet Rūmī (1207–1273). Also featured are pages from the Mughal and Persian albums that Pierpont Morgan acquired in 1911 from Sir Charles Hercules Read, Keeper of British and Medieval Antiquities at the British Museum, and miniatures illustrating the work of great Persian poets.”
Manuscripts are digitized with high resolution which makes it easy to look at various details and vivid colors in paintings. Each page or painting comes with a more detailed information about its time of creation as well of a description about its content.
To read more about how the Morgan’s Islamic collection came to existence click here .
Established in 1968, CEDEJ (Centre d’Études et de Documentation Économiques Juridiques et Sociales) is a French Research Institute whose main Branch is located in Cairo, Egypt. The core objective of CEDEJ is to facilitate and support multidisciplinary field research focusing on Egypt and surrounding countries like Sudan where a small Branch is located.
CEDEJ map library per se is quite unique: it holds “a multi-scalar collection of cadastral, topographic, and geographic maps covering all of Egypt” running from the end of the 19th century to the 1990s. In November 2021, CEDEJ launched an ergonomic, dynamic and interactive online catalog allowing users to access, extract, and explore textual and geo-referenced data: CEDEJ carto.
cedejcarto.org Portal offers to discover the collection via three different options:
The advanced search allowing to cross-search location, scale, series and date of publication
The search by index allowing to access maps/plans based on the series they pertain to (among the 71 existing series)
The search by location allowing to access maps/plans by a simple a click on a large map of Egypt.
Scholars should note that cedejcarto.org is not a database of scanned maps where they will find high resolution images available for download. This portal is a dynamic and interactive online catalogue that will help them identify maps and plans relevant to their research among the large collection of cartographic documents held by the CEDEJ library. Materials can then be requested by filing out the dedicated form and submitting to email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about usage permissions, people can visit the map library webpage.