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Accessing Arab American History: A Digital Archive with Dr. Akram Khater

Jun 22, 2021 | 05:00 PM - 06:00 PM

Image Credit: Marcel Gaida & Ibrahim Abdou

This event is part of our Mighty Magazines Online Series.

About the event 

Arabs have been elided from American history. Their 150 years of rich and complex voices, lives, achievements, and challenges have been pushed aside by US Orientalist tropes that render them only as a menacing "Other." In part, this is driven by the silences of the archive. Until recently, the material of their history has been dispersed and inaccessible except for dedicated and funded researchers. The Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies--following in the footsteps of Alixa Naff, the Arab American National Museums and few others--is working to change this through a project to digitize and render textually searchable the corpus of early Arab American print media. My talk will explore this effort to gather, digitize, and develop an Arabic OCR program all in an effort to create the first searchable database of Arab American newspapers, journals, and books. I will also explore the challenges and pitfalls of such a political project.

About the speaker

Dr. Akram Khater is Professor of History and holds the Khayrallah Chair in Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University, where he also serves as the Director of the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. His books include Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921, and Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East. He has produced Cedars in the Pines, a PBS documentary on the history of the Lebanese community in North Carolina, and is senior curator for a museum exhibit on the same topic. He has just completed a new award-winning documentary titled The Romey Lynchings, which narrates the history of racial violence against early Arab immigrants. In addition, he is the senior curator for Turath: An Exhibit of Early Arab American Culture.  He is co-editor of Mashriq&Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migrations.


Moderator: Prof. Dr. Refqa Abu-Remaileh (PalREAD)

Series Coordinator: Ibrahim Abdou (PalREAD)

Dissemination: Marcel Gadia (PalREAD)

Time & Location

Jun 22, 2021 | 05:00 PM - 06:00 PM

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  • PalREAD, Arab American History, History
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