Researchers: Akram Khater, Jodi Steward Khater, Micah K. Holland, Marjorie Stevens, and Lauren Meyer
Mapping the Mahjar is a digital humanities project that recounts the history of Arab immigrants in the United States. Through an interactive visual display (ArcGIS), the first phase tells the story of business owners who were part of the initial wave of the Arab diaspora in the United States, using data from the Syrian Business Directory, published in 1908, to map more than 3,000 businesses as part of the project. Going one step further, this segment of Mapping the Mahjar also tells the personal stories of more than 70 individual business owners using information mined from census records, naturalization documents, passport applications, and city directories. In telling this particular story, Mapping the Mahjar interweaves Arab-Americans into the very fabric of early 20th-century American social, cultural, political, and economic life. It situates them in practically every county in America, thus undermining the post-9/11 narrative that sees Arab-Americans as not only “new arrivals” but also alien to America and its values and ways..