The Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative (DLAC) supports a wide range of digital projects, methods, and applications at the college. A number of these projects involve the analysis and visualization of geospatial and textual data. DLAC team members provide both technical and conceptual consultation, create tutorials, and train faculty and student colleagues in the software used to create these projects.

To provide an illustration of one such project, Professor Caleb Elfenbein and collaborators have created Mapping Islamophobia, which gathers, analyzes, and maps incidents of anti-Muslim hostility and expressions of negatives attitudes toward Islam and Muslims in the United States, as well as the myriad ways in which Muslim Americans respond to them. A companion website, Confronting Hate, further investigates and documents the outreach efforts of Muslim Americans. The project gathers news reports of incidents and responses covering a time period that will eventually date back to 2001. The project is built upon two sets of data: the Islamophobia dataset and the Countering Islamophobia dataset, both of which are available for download. Information is gathered from media sources with clear editorial oversight, newspaper databases, Google news alerts, and other agencies tracking anti-Muslim activity and Muslim responses. For example, this scrolling map shows the accumulation of Islamophobic events and incidents from 2008-2018, indicating when and where spikes of activity occur.

Each item in the “Islamophobia Dataset” includes a date, geolocation and state, an event short name, an event description, a source, and is coded in two ways: (1) an Event Class [using one of six designations: “crimes against people,” “crimes against property,” “public speech,” “public campaigns (targeting community),” bias-related incidents (targeting individual or specific group),” and “legislation (targeting community)”] and (2) Gender of Victim(s). Incidents and events affecting American Muslim communities in general are coded, as opposed to an individual or group of individuals, “male and female.”

In the “Countering Islamophobia” dataset, each item includes a date, geolocation, an event short name, an event description, a source, and is coded with one of the following categories: “political outreach,” political activity,” “community outreach,” mosque open house,” “interfaith efforts,” and “ask a Muslim.”  That data is then mapped, with color-coded pop-up points to reveal further information.

In addition, there are narrative presentations on a sample of data points presented on the Confronting Hate website. For each category of items in the Countering Islamophobia dataset, several items are highlighted, with a brief description of the event along with a link to the original news source. For example, under the categories “Interfaith Efforts,” three specific examples are illustrated.

Mapping Islamophobia is an ongoing project. New information continues to be added to the datasets,  to both keep the project current and to extend the presentation of data back to the year 2001. Currently, the mapping visualizations are presented in the Carto platform, but plans are to incorporate more interactive web applications based on ArcGIS software.

Interested in learning more about how DLAC support data gathering, analysis, and visualization in digital liberal arts projects? Get in touch with Mo Pelzel at pelzelmo@grinnell.edu.

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