The Past's Digital Presence, February 19-20, 2010


04 - Digital Politics and Society: " An Experiment in LGBTQ Community History-Making"

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This paper describes the challenges and successes involved in launching, a MediaWiki website on LGBTQ US history hosted by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York, Graduate Center.’s most radical feature is not its subject matter, but its message that people outside of academia can contribute to the historical understanding of sexuality: invites everyone to be an historian. This aspect of has raised some resistance from scholars who fear that community-created histories are unreliable and insubstantial. At the same time, building a community of active users who contribute to has been much harder than its creators imagined. Digital humanities are often described as capable of democratizing knowledge production. Using as a test case, this paper will examine how the democratic potential of the digital humanities is, in practice, very difficult to achieve.

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This Article is Open Access