HST6089: Wikipedia and Medieval History
15 credits (Semester 2019-20: Autumn)
Module Leader: Dr Charles West
Please note: this module is subject to approval by the University's Learning and Teaching Committee
'Editing a Wikipedia page is the easiest way to share your historical knowledge of a topic – and not just with a few people, but with the world. But this course not only gives you practical experience in Wikipedia editing, it also asks you to reflect on the process.' Dr Charles West
Wikipedia is today probably the world’s chief source of historical knowledge. Every day, its pages on history are read by many thousands of people. Yet professional historians tend to avoid engaging with it. This course seeks to change that. As well as discussing critical perspectives on Wikipedia, you’ll receive practical training in creating or editing a page on a historical topic you’ve chosen. You’ll then apply your studies in a hands-on way to improving the encyclopedia’s coverage of the Middle Ages, and reflect on the kind of historical knowledge of the period it promotes and disseminates. You don’t need a background in medieval history for this course, but please note that you will be required to edit a page on a medieval topic.
This module aims to:
By the end of the module, you (should be able to):
|Seminar hours||Tutorial hours||Independent Learning|
This module will be taught in five two-hour seminars. Each of these seminars will address a different aspect of the knowledge politics of Wikipedia (Learning outcome 2), based on readings from the critical literature. After a practical session on editing in seminar 3 (LO1), students will identity a page to create or edit, on the basis of which experience they will write a reflective essay (LO3).
Provisional seminar topics are:
- The rise of Wikipedia
- Why edit Wikipedia?
- How to edit Wikipedia
- Problematising Wikipedia
- Wikipedia and the Future of Medieval History
|Assessment||% of final mark||Length|
Assessment for this course is a 3,000 word reflective essay (LO3), linking the your practical experience of editing a Wikipedia page (LO1) to the Wikipedia studies literature (LO2) discussed in class.
- D.G. Halsted, 'Accuracy and quality in historical representation: Wikipedia, textbooks and the Investiture Controversy', Digital Medievalist, 9 (2013)
- T. Hitchcock, 'Confronting the digital: or how academic history writing lost the plot', Cultural and Social History 10 (2013), 9-23
- T. Leitch, Wikipedia U: Knowledge, authority and liberal education in the digital age (Baltimore, 2014)
- M. Phillips, 'Wikipedia and History: a worthwhile partnership in the digital era?', Rethinking History 4 (2016), 1-21
- C. West, 'Wikipedia in the History Classroom', Wikimedia UK Blog, May 2018
*The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.