Applying Digital Methods to the Study of a Late Ottoman City: A Social and Spatial Analysis of Political Partisanship in Gaza

Yuval Ben-Bassat, Johann Buessow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article takes the understudied Ottoman city of Gaza in southern Palestine at the end of the nineteenth century as a case study to illustrate the new possibilities available today to researchers of the Middle East by combining the study of historical sources with GIS and other digital technologies. It first surveys the main sources available for the study of this city, some of which have only become available to researchers in recent years. It then describes the construction of a comprehensive database based on these sources and ways to run statistical analyses based on it. Finally, it presents the research results on maps and aerial photos connected to a GIS system. The case of Gaza can thus serve as a model for studying other cities in Ottoman Greater Syria and the Ottoman Empire in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-554
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: . The site presents additional explanations about our methodology and provides access to some results from the project, the database and applications which were developed by the project members in collaboration with experts from the University of Tübingen’s eScience Center and the University of Bochum’s central library. The project was supported by a grant from the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (grant GIF 1226) and by travel grants from the German Academic Exchange Service ( DAAD ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Copyright 2020 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


  • GIS
  • Ottoman Census of 1905
  • Ottoman Gaza
  • factionalism
  • network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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