Suzanne Conklin Akbari

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Suzanne Conklin Akbari is Professor of Medieval Studies in the School of Historical Studies. She has expanded the range and methods of exploring texts from the Middle Ages, pushing the boundaries of traditional readings and exploring shared histories. Her research has traced the evolving relationship between sight and knowledge as manifested in a range of poetic texts, explored the relationship between Islam and Christianity, challenged the notion of medieval European literature’s insularity, and highlighted the influence of Arabic poetry, music, and philosophy.

Akbari is deeply interested in the relationship of the local and the global, especially as understood through the work of those who contribute to the field of Indigenous Studies, both academic scholars and traditional knowledge-keepers.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 27
  • Between Diaspora and Conquest: Norman Assimilation in Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina Clericalis and Marie de France’s Fables
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    This chapter examines Norman identity and diaspora comparatively, throught texts composed in Sicily and England.
      5  37
  • Automated Transcription of Gə'əz Manuscripts Using Deep Learning
    (The Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), 2023)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    ;
    Atiya, Alexandra
    ;
    Delamarter, Steve
    ;
    Derillo, Eyob
    ;
    Gervers, Michael
    ;
    Gillespie, Alexandra
    ;
    Grieggs, Samuel
    ;
    Jacobs, Jarod
    ;
    Kwon, Christine
    ;
    Lockhart, Jessica
    ;
    Scheirer, Walter
    ;
    Tilahun, Gelila
    This paper describes a collaborative project designed to meet the needs of communities interested in Gə'əz language texts – and other under-resourced manuscript traditions – by developing an easy-to-use open-source tool that converts images of manuscript pages into a transcription using optical character recognition (OCR). Our computational tool incorporates a custom data curation process to address the language-specific facets of Gə'əz coupled with a Convolutional Recurrent Neural Network to perform the transcription. An open-source OCR transcription tool for digitized Gə'əz manuscripts can be used by students and scholars of Ethiopian manuscripts to create a substantial and computer-searchable corpus of transcribed and digitized Gə'əz texts, opening access to vital resources for sustaining the history and living culture of Ethiopia and its people. With suitable ground-truth, our opensource OCR transcription tool can also be retrained to read other under-resourced scripts. The tool we developed can be run without a graphics processing unit (GPU), meaning that it requires much less computing power than most other modern AI systems. It can be run offline from a personal computer, or accessed via a web client and potentially in the web browser of a smartphone. The paper describes our team’s collaborative development of this first open-source tool for Gə'əz manuscript transcription that is both highly accurate and accessible to communities interested in Gə'əz books and the texts they contain. ጥልቅ እውቀትን ለረቂቅ ጽሁፎች ስለመጠቀም ሳሙኤል ግሪግስ፡ ኖተርዳም ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ጀሲካ ሎክሀርት፡ቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ አሌክሳንደራ አትያ፡ ቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ገሊላ ጥላሁን፡ ቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ሱዛን ኮንክሊን አክባሪ፡ አድቫንስድ ጥናት ኢንስቲትዩት፡ ፕሪንስተን ኒው ጀርሲ፤ ኢዮብ ደሪሎ ሶ.አ.ስ. ለንደን ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ጃሮድ ጃኮብስ፡ ዋርነር ፓሲፊክ ኮሌጅ፤ ክሪስቲን ኮን፡ ኖተርዳም ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ሚካኤል ጀርቨርስ፡ ቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ስቲቭ ደላማርተር፡ ጆርጅ ፎክስ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ አሌክሳንድራ ግለስፒ፡ ቶሮንቶ ዩኒቨርሲቲ፤ ዋልተር ሸሪር፡ ኖተርዳም ዩኒቨርሲቲ። መግለጫ ይህ ጥናት የሚገልፀው የግዕዝ ቋንቋ ፅሁፍን እና ሌሎች መሰል ትኩረት ያልተሰጣቸውን፣ ባህላዊና እና ጥንታዊ ሥሁፎችን ለመማር ወይም ለጥናት የሚፈልጉ ማህበረሰቦችን ፍላጎት ለማርካት የጥምር የጥናት ቡድናችን ስለቀረፀው ቀላል እና ሁሉም ሊጠቀምበት ስለሚችል መሣሪያ(ዘዴ) ነው።፡ይህ መሣሪያ የብራና ፅሁፍን የመሰሉ ረቂቅ ፅሁፎች የተፃፉባቸውን ገፆች ምሥል በማንሳት እና ፊደላትን ለይቶ በሚገነዘብ ጨረር (optical character recognition (OCR)) በመጠቀም ምሥሉን ወደ መደበኛ ወይም ሁለተኛ ፅሁፍነት የመቀየር ችሎታ ያለው ነው። ይህ ኮምፒዩተር ላይ የተመሰረተ ዘዴ ወይም መሣሪያ የግዕዝ ቋንቋን ልዩ ባህርዮች ለይቶ እንዲያውቅ ሲባል ስለቋንቋው ያገኘውን መረጃ ወይም ዳታ የመንከባከብ እና የማከም ሂደቶችን አልፎ እንደ አንጎል ነርቮች መረብ እሽክርክሪት የሚመስል ኮንቮሉሽናል ሪከረንት ነውራል ኔትዎርክ (Convolutional Recurrent Neural Network) በመያዙ ገጽታዎችን እና ምሥሎችን ወደ ፅሁፍ ይቀይራል። ይህ ለሁሉም ተጠቃሚዎች ክፍት የሆነው ጽሁፍ ለተማሪዎች እንዲሁም ለኢትዮጵያ ጽሁፍ ጥናት ተመራማሪዎች የሚጠቅም ብቃት ያለው እና በቀላሉ በኮምፒዩተር ተፈልጎ ሊገኝ የሚችል ከመሆኑም በተጨማሪ የግዕዝ ጽሁፎቹ የኢትዮጵያን እና የኢትዮጵያን ህዝብ ታሪክና ባህል ግዕዝን በዲጂታል/በኮምፑተር ቀርፆ በማስቀመጥ በቀጣይነት እንዲኖር ያስችላል። አመቺ የሆነ ተጨባጭ ሁኔታ ሲኖር ደግሞ ይህ ለሁሉም ክፍት የሆነ የ OCR የግዕዝን ምስልን ወደ ፅሁፍ የሚቀይር መሣሪያ ወይም ዘዴ ሌሎች ትኩረት ያላገኙ ረቂቅ ፅሁፎችንም እንዲያነብ ተደርጎ ሊሰለጥን ወይም ዲዛይን ሊደረግ ይችላል። ይህ የፈጠርነው መሣሪያ/ዘዴ የተለመደውን ግራፊክስ ፕሮሰሲንግ ዩኒት (GPU) የተባለውን በኮምፕዩተር ምሥሎችን የማንበቢያ እና ማሳለጫ ዘዴ መጠቀም አያስፈልገውም። በዚህም ምክንያት ከሌሎች ዘመናዊ የአርቲፊሻል ኢንተሊጀንስ (AI systems ) ዘዴዎች አንፃር ሲታይ ሃይለኛ የኮምፒዩተር አቅም አይፈልግም። ይህንን መሣሪያ/ዘዴ ያለ ኢንተርኔት ወይም በይነ- መረብ ከግል ኮምፒዩተር፣ በኢንተርኔት እንዲሁም ወደፊት ኢንተርኔት ባለው የእጅ ሥልክን በመጠቀም ማስኬድ ይቻላል። ይህ ጥናት የሚገልጸው በአይነቱ የመጀመሪያ የሆነው እና ለሁሉም ክፍት የሆነ እንዲሁም በተገቢ ሁኔታ ጥራቱን ጠብቆ በጥምር ተመራማሪዎቻችን የበለፀገው መሣሪያ/ዘዴ ለማናቸውም በግዕዝ መጽሀፍቶች እና ውስጣቸው በያዙት ፅሁፎች ላይ ጥናት ለማድረግ ለሚፈልጉ ግለሰቦችም ሆኑ ማህበረሰቦች ሁሉ ጠቃሚ መሆኑን ለማስገንዘብ ነው።
      11  36
  • Practices of Commentary: Medieval Traditions and Transmissions
    (ARC Humanities Press, 2023)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    ;
    Goodman, Amanda
    The comparative or connected study of localized intellectual traditions poses special challenges to the global turn in medieval studies. How can we enable conversations across language groups and intricate cultural formations, as well as disciplines? Practices of commentary offer a compelling opportunity: their visual layouts reveal assumptions about the relative status of text and gloss, while interpretive interlinear or marginal prompts capture the dynamic relationships among generations of teachers, students, and readers. The material traces of manuscript usage—from hastily scrawled marginal notes to vivid rubrication—illuminate the shared didactic and communicative practices developed within scholarly communities. By bringing together researchers working on specific cultures and discourses across Eurasia, this volume moves toward a global account of premodern commentary traditions.
      43  110
  •   34  32
  • Erasing the Body: History and Memory in Medieval Siege Poetry.
    (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      58  73
  • The Ends of the Body: Identity and Community in Medieval Culture
    (University of Toronto Press, 2012)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    ;
    Ross, Jill
      65  80
  • The Persistence of Philology: Language and Connectivity in the Mediterranean
    (University of Toronto Press, 2013)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      34  48
  • The Non-Christians of Piers Plowman
    (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      39  40
  • Ovid and Ovidianism
    (Oxford University Press, 2015)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      22  92
  • Ekphrasis and Stasis in the Allegories of Christine de Pizan
    (Ohio State University Press, 2015)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      24  51
  • Sight Lines: The Mirror of the Mind in Medieval Poetics
    (Brepols Publishing, 2016)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      18  88
  • Seeing Jerusalem: Schematic Views of the Holy City, 1100-1300
    (Manchester University Press, 2018)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    ;
    Mittman, Asa Simon
      22  55
  • Where is Medieval Ethiopia? Mapping Ethiopic Studies within Medieval Studies
    (Getty Publications, 2019)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      20  171
  • The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer
    (Oxford University Press, 2020)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
    ;
    Simpson, James
      38  73
  • The Rhetoric of Antichrist in Western Lives of Muhammad
    (1997)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      10  103
  •   37  71
  •   7  37
  •   8  41
  • Embodying the Historical Moment: Tombs and Idols in the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César
    (Duke University Press, 2014)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      7  27
  • Race, Environment, Culture: Medieval Indigeneity, Race, and Racialization
    (Bloomsbury, 2021)
    Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
      47  161