Maxim Romanov, Doctoral Candidate in Arabic & Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies in LSA, studies public preaching in the pre-modern Muslim world. In his work he relies on text-mining techniques that appeared at the intersection of statistics, linguistics and computer science, combined with historical GIS, sociological quantitative methods, interpretative approaches from cultural anthropology, and the critical analysis of primary sources that is traditional for Islamic studies.
Biographies of prominent Muslims often mention places they visited. By seeing the change in the frequency of mentions of geographical places over time, we can glimpse how the centers of Islamic culture appeared, flourished and faded away.
This visualization shows the top 100 locations from the biographies of al-Dhahabi’s Ta’rikh al-islam, the 52-volume biographical collection from the 14th century CE that covers 700 years of Islamic history and includes over 30,000 biographies of individuals who left a mark on the historical map of Islamic culture. The size of the circles is proportional to the number of mentions of the place.
Video courtesy of Maxim Romanov