New Article on #DigPed at #PAFA: “Activism in the Classroom: #Wikipedia and #AmericanArt”


Wikipedia userpage for Sbeetham

As I turn toward the reality of another semester that is rapidly circling the drain post-Thanksgiving, here’s a quick announcement of my new article on digital pedagogy in the latest issue of Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. Titled “Activism in the Classroom: Wikipedia and American Art,” it summarizes an assignment that I developed for my students in “Women and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Fall 2015, in which students formed groups to create or edit articles about American women artists for Wikipedia. I originally discussed this assignment at CAA earlier this year as part of a panel organized by Bob Cozzolino, which was titled “Claiming the Unknown, the Forgotten, the Fallen, the Lost, and the Dispossessed.” In spring 2016, Panorama invited us to turn our panel into a special issue of the journal, which we did over the summer, and the result is now in the fall issue. I’m very glad that this material is now available to other art historians, and I hope it will prove useful to college instructors looking to expand the scope of their course assignments.

A brief excerpt:

Working with Wikipedia is one way to get students involved in conversations about who is represented in American art surveys, and which artists deserve further attention. For my students at PAFA, it was an opportunity to make a real-world impact through class assignments, and several of the students expressed satisfaction with this aspect of the project after the semester ended. In increasing the coverage of underrepresented artists in online databases and encyclopedias, there is still much work to be done. Making this an explicit goal of classroom instruction can be rewarding for both students and educators.

In case you are considering adding a Wikipedia component to your classroom, I created a section on this site with all of the Wikipedia Resources that I used in my own assignment – feel free to adapt them as you see fit, and let me know the results!

For my full article, CLICK HERE. To access all of the articles from the “Claiming the Unknown” special issue, CLICK HERE. And to see the full table of contents for this season’s issue of Panorama, which includes many fine articles, CLICK HERE.