Till Grallert

Research Associate

Till Grallert joined the OIB in 2014. His research and teaching focuses on the social and spatial history of late Ottoman cities, the socio-linguistics of early Arabic newspapers and digital humanities (DH) outside the global north. He completed his PhD at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies in 2014 with a thesis entitled “To Whom Belong the Streets? Property, Propriety, and Appropriation: The Production of Public Space in Late Ottoman Damascus, 1875 – 1914.” Till’s current research project aims at establishing a genealogy of urban food riots as a “repertoire of contention” (Tilly) and as genuine political negotiations of the social contract between the rulers and the ruled in the Eastern Mediterranean between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries. He is a co-organiser of the “Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut,” the developer and a core contributor to “Project Jarāʾid,” an online chronology of Arabic periodicals before 1900, and he contributed to a recent collection on “Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies” (ed. Elias Muhanna, 2016). Within the framework of his research project “Open Arabic Periodical Editions” (OpenArabicPE), Till works on open, collaborative and scholarly digital editions of early Arabic periodicals such as Muḥammad Kurd ʿAlī's journal al-Muqtabas and ʿAbd al-Qādir Iskandarānī's al-Ḥaqāʾiq.

Open Arabic Periodical Editions (OpenArabicPE) (Till Grallert)

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“Women on the streets!: a genealogy of food riots in the Middle East between the 18th and 20th centuries“ (Till Grallert)

This project scrutinises the phenomenon of urban food riots in the Middle East between the mid-eighteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries as contentious performances that form and follow certain repertoires (C. Tilly).

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a. edited volumes

  • Dege, Martin, Till Grallert, Carmen Dege, and Niklas Chimirri, eds. Können Marginalisierte (Wi(e)der)sprechen? Zum politischen Potenzial der Sozialwissenschaften. Gießen: PsychoSozial-Verlag, 2010.

b. in preparation

  • Grallert, Till. To whom belong the streets? The production of public space in late Ottoman Damascus, 1875–1914

Journal articles and book chapters

  • Grallert, Till. ‘Urban Food Riots in Late Ottoman Bilād Al-Shām as a “Repertoire of Contention”’. In Crime, Poverty and Survival in the Middle East and North Africa: The ‘Dangerous Classes’ since 1800, edited by Stephanie Cronin, 157–76. London: I.B. Tauris, 2019.

  • Grallert, Till. ‘The Journal al-Muqtabas between Shamela.Ws, HathiTrust, and GitHub: Producing Open, Collaborative, and Fully-Referencable Digital Editions of Early Arabic Periodicals—with Almost No Funds’. In Advances in Digital Scholarly Editing: Papers Presented at the DiXiT Conferences in The Hague, Cologne, and Antwerp, edited by Peter Boot, Anna Cappellotto, Wout Dillen, Franz Fischer, Aodhán Kelly, Andreas Mertgens, Anna-Maria Sichani, Elena Spadini, and Dirk van Hulle, 401–6. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 2017.

  • Grallert, Till, Jochen Tiepmar, Thomas Eckart, Dirk Goldhan, and Christoph Kuras. 2017. Digital Muqtabas CTS integration in CLARIN. In CLARIN2017 Book of Abstracts.

  • Grallert, Till. ‘Mapping Ottoman Damascus through News Reports: A Practical Approach’. In Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies, edited by Elias Muhanna, 175–98. Boston, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

  • Grallert, Till. ‘To Whom Belong the Streets? Investment in Public Space and Popular Contentions in Late Ottoman Damascus’. Bulletin d’Études Orientales 61 (2012): 327–59.

  • Dege, Carmen, Martin Dege, Till Grallert, and Niklas Chimirri. ‘Widersprechen!’ In Können Marginalisierte (Wi(e)der)sprechen? Zum politischen Potenzial der Sozialwissenschaften, edited by Martin Dege, Till Grallert, Carmen Dege, and Niklas Chimirri, 471–95. Gießen: PsychoSozial-Verlag, 2010.

a. submitted

  • Grallert, Till. ‘Open Arabic Periodical Editions: A Framework for Bootstrapped Scholarly Editions Outside the Global North’. Edited by Alex Gil and Roopika Risam. Digital Humanities Quarterly, Special Issue ‘Minimal Computing’ (2021).

  • ‘Catch Me If You Can! Computational Approaches to Track the Late Ottoman Ideosphere of Authors and Periodicals in the Wasteland of the “Digitised” Arabic Press’. Edited by Simone Lässig. Geschichte Und Gesellschaft, Special Issue ‘Digital History’ (2021).


  • Andrews, Molly. ‘Biografie und Geschichte: Dynamiken individueller und kollektiver politischer Erzählungen’. In Können Marginalisierte (Wi(e)der)sprechen? Zum politischen Potenzial der Sozialwissenschaften, edited by Martin Dege, Till Grallert, Carmen Dege, and Niklas Chimirri, translated by Till Grallert, 347–405. Gießen: PsychoSozial-Verlag, 2010.

Book reviews

  • Grallert, Till. “Weber, Stefan: Damascus. Ottoman Modernity and Urban Transformation 1808–1918” Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 108, no. 1 (2013): 39–51

a. in preparation

  • Review of: Ayalon, Ami. The Arabic Print Revolution: Cultural Production and Mass Readership. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. for H-NET.

  • Review of: Chalcraft, John. Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. for Contemporary Levant.

Digital projects

Organization of scholarly meetings

  • Co-organiser with Najla Jarkas, Elie Kahale, Maya Sfeir (all AUB), and Pierre France (OIB): “Digital Humanities Institute — Beirut (DHIB) 2021”, a series of online workshops on digital pedagogy, minimal computing, emergency tool-kits, and funding opportunities, spring 2021.

  • Co-organiser with Najla Jarkas, Elie Kahale and Maya Sfeir (all AUB): “DHIB 2019”, themed Consolidating Local, Regional, and Consortial Collaborations in Digital Humanities Communities , AUB and OIB, 3–5 May 2019.

  • Co-organiser with Maike Neufend (META Journal, Marburg): international workshop “On Troubles of Translation”, in conjunction with DHI-B, AUB, 3–5 May 2019.

  • Organiser: international workshop “Ritualised reactions to subsistence crises: Food riots in the Ottoman Empire and its successor states in the Middle East”, Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB), 18–19 January 2019.

  • Co-convenor with Kathryn Schwartz (Harvard): panel “Regulating Print in the late Ottoman Empire: a new look into the question of censorship”,  Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 18–21 November 2017.

  • Co-convenor with Elizabeth Saleh (AUB): weekly reading group “political economy”, OIB, 3 December 2015 – 10 May 2016.

  • Co-organiser with Astrid Meier and Torsten Wollina (OIB): international workshop “Establishing a framework for scholarly editing and publishing in the 21st century”, OIB, 9–10 March 2015.

  • Co-organiser with Martin Dege, Carmen Dege and Niklas Chimirri (FU Berlin): international conference “Kongress der Neuen Gesellschaft für Psychologie”, Freie Universität Berlin, 28–30 June 2008.

Invited talks and workshop participation

  • Talk: “Global DH and Minimal Computing” at the workshop (online) “Digitizing the Humanities, the Digital in the Humanities: An Introduction to Digital Humanities in the Indian Context”, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India, 18 December 2020.

  • Discussant: “Panel 2: Feminist Archival Practices” at the workshop (online) “Archiving, Recording and Representing Feminism: The Global History of Women’s Emancipation in the 20th Century”, German Historical Institute, London, 10–12 December 2020.

  • Keynote on computational approaches to the Arabic press at the conference “Jewish, Christian and Muslim Historical Press: Digital Practices”, Open University of Israel, 13–14 July 2020 (declined due to living in Lebanon).

  • Paper: “Open Arabic Periodical Editions: a framework for bootstrapped scholarly editions outside the Global North” at the workshop (online) “L'interopérabilité des données de la recherche: textes, images, bases de données”, IFAO, Cairo, 2 June 2020.

  • Seminar session: “Streets: remodelling public places between Paris and Beirut”, American University of Beirut (AUB), course “Assembling the Middle East: Infrastructure and Materiality” (Dr. Elizabeth Saleh), 12 February 2020.

  • Workshop: “Forschungsdatenmanagement”; Arbeitskreis Digital Humanities der Max Weber Stiftung (MWS), MWS, Bonn, 3 December 2019.

  • Paper: “Tracking the Late Ottoman Ideosphere: Computational Approaches to the Wasteland of the ‘Digitised’ Arabic Press” at the workshop “Creating Spaces, Connecting Worlds: Dimensions of the Press in the Middle East and Eurasia”, Zurich, 31 October – 2 November 2019.

  • Workshop: “An Egyptian Sheikh’s Literary World: Digitally Reconstructing Islamic Print Culture Through Mustafa Salamah al-Najjari’s Book Collection”, Duke University, Durham NC, 12 October 2019.

  • Workshop: “The Early Modern Christian Cultural and Literary Heritage in the Eyes of Nahḍa Scholars”, University of Oxford, 26–27 October 2019 (declined due to parental leave-of-absence).

  • Paper: “Open Arabic Periodical Editions: a framework for bootstrapped scholarly editions outside the global north” at the Akademie Colloquium “Whither Islamicate Digital Humanities? Analytics, Tools, Corpora”, Amsterdam, 13–15 December 2018.

  • Guest lecture: “Food riots as part of a repertoire of contention in late Ottoman Greater Syria” as part of the workshop “Area knowledges and disciplinary / interdisciplinary knowledge”, Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt, 18–20 June 2018.

  • Workshop: “Textual Analysis Using Stylometry”, American University of Beirut (AUB), Beirut, 24–25 April 2018.

  • Workshop: “Digitalität managen”; Arbeitskreis Digital Humanities der Max Weber Stiftung (MWS), MWS, Bonn; 14–15 December 2017.

  • Workshop: “Nachhaltiges OA[Open Access]-Publizieren in den Area Studies: Wie offen sind die Nahoststudien?”; Center for Near and Middle East Studies, Philipps Universität Marburg; 8–9 December 2017.

  • Talk: “Werkstattbericht: Arabische Buch- und Rezeptionsgeschichte in Open Arabic Periodical Editions (OpenArabicPE)”; SFB980, Freie Universität Berlin, 1 June 2017.

  • Digital Humanities Abu Dhabi; New York University Abu Dhabi, 10–12 April 2017 (teaching, presentation).

  • Talk: “OpenArabicPE: a use case for TEI XML”; Florida State University, Tallahassee, course “Digital Egyptian Gazette: a full-text paper from 1905” (Dr. Will Hanley), 22 March 2017.

  • Digital Humanities Institute — Beirut; American University of Beirut (AUB), 10–12 March 2017 (teaching).

  • Workshop: “Jara'id 2.0—Indexing the Early Arabic Public Sphere: A Workshop in Arabic Digital Humanities”; DUKE University, 11–12, 14 November 2016.

  • Workshop: Digital Ottoman Project, second workshop; Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, 19–25 June 2016.

  • Talk: “The journal al-Muqtabas between, HathiTrust, and GitHub: producing open, collaborative, and fully-referencable digital editions of early Arabic periodicals—with almost no funds”; American University in Cairo, 12 April 2016.

  • Seminar session: “Genealogy of food riots in Bilād al-Shām as a ‘repertoire of contention’”; AUB, course “Food and Culture: An Anthropological Perspective” (Dr. Elizabeth Saleh), 8 April 2016.

  • Talk: “Wessen Strasse ist die Strasse? Brotunruhen und die Produktion öffentlicher Orte in Städten der Bilād al-Shām in spätosmanischer Zeit (1875–1920)”; Institute of Geography, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz; 26 January 2016.

  • Analyzing Text Reuse at Scale / Working with Big Humanities Data”, Universität Leipzig, Institut für Informatik / Digital Humanities, 14–16 December 2015.

  • Digital Humanities Summer Institute” (DHSI), University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada, 1–19 June 2015.

  • “To whom belong the streets? The tramways of Damascus as an example for the production of public space in late Ottoman times.” Orient-Institut Beirut, 10 September 2013.

  • “Geschichte und Gesellschaft im Damaskus des 19. Jahrhunderts.” Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden, 21 February 2013.

  • “To Whom Belong the Streets? Investment in Public Space and Popular Contentions in Late Ottoman Damascus.” Urban Studies Seminar of the Zentrum Moderner Orient and the EUME program of the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin, 2 May 2011.