Gaza during the Late Ottoman Period

This research project by Yuval Ben-Bassat (University of Haifa) and Johann Büssow (University of Tuebingen) aims at the reconstruction of the political, social, and economic history of the population in the Gaza region during the late Ottoman period (1860-1914), which is a crucial step toward a better understanding of the complex social fabric in Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean on the eve of the nation-state era.

In cooperation with Khaled Safi (Al-Aqsa University, Gaza) and Michael Derntl (eScience-Center Tuebingen) and supported by an international team, we analyze a variety of different sources such as the Ottoman census of 1905, petitions and sharia court records. Thereby we focus on varied issues such as the changing relationship with the imperial center, rural-urban relationships, migration and demographics.

In order to handle the considerable mass of information on Gaza’s population which we gain from our sources—the census alone provides us with details on more than 3,000 households and 20,000 individuals in Gaza city—we work with a PostgreSQL database. A web-based user interface, which builds on eScience-Center’s open source tools, allows researchers to insert and collaboratively edit historical data. It also allows to perform data analyses (e.g. the density of occurrence of social characteristics in certain areas of the city) and to generate interactive maps and social network graphs from the database.

Selected screenshots of the web-based database user interface (click to enlarge).

Project news can be found on our website, where we also provide an interactive historical map of late-Ottoman Gaza.

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