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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Charles Martel in the Digital Age (PGHC11591)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCharles Martel (d. 741) was an early medieval ruler of the Franks with a controversial modern reputation. In this course, we shall explore Martel's early medieval world through the historiography and the primary sources, and use this knowledge to consider Martel's public representation on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which students will be trained to edit for themselves.
Course description The course begins with an exploration of modern research into the age of Charles Martel and into the ruler himself, as well as into how his reputation has developed over time. Then we shall assess how accurately this current research is reflected in Wikipedia, the world's main source of historical knowledge in the public realm, and students will apply their expertise to make some improvements to the site. Finally, we shall draw on this 'case study' to reflect on the implications of Wikipedia in particular, and the digital turn in general, for the creation and dissemination of historical knowledge of the Middle Ages. As part of this course, you will be trained in how to edit a Wikipedia page relating to Charles Martel, broadly defined, though the assessment will be based on participation and a final reflective essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Charles Martel in the Digital Age (Online) (PGHC11592)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Set the reign of Charles Martel in its eighth-century context, including with reference to Christian/Muslim relations.
  2. Make their own edits to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
  3. Reflect on their experience in mediating between academic and public understandings of the reign of Charles Martel.
  4. Reflect on the difference between academic and public representations of medieval history, with special reference to Wikipedia.
Reading List
Philip Baun, 'Memory and far-right historiography: the case of the Christchurch shooter', Memory Studies 15 (2022), 650-665

Amy Bruckman, Should you believe Wikipedia? Online Communities and the Construction of Knowledge (Cambridge, 2023)

Heather Ford, Writing the Revolution: Wikipedia and the Survival of Facts in the Digital Age (Cambridge, Mass., 2022)

Heather Ford, 'Rise of the Underdog', in Wikipedia @ 20, ed. Joseph Reagle and Jackie Koerner (Cambridge, Mass, 2020), pp. 189-201

Maribel Fierro (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Muslim Iberia (London, 2020)

Paul Fouracre, The Age of Charles Martel (Harlow, 2000)

Paul Fouracre and Richard Gerberding, Late Merovingian France (Manchester, 1996)

Mike Horswell, 'Wikipedia and the crusades: Constructing and communicating crusading', in The Crusades in the Modern World, ed. Mike Horswell and Akil Awan (London, 2020), pp. 111-128

Sam Ottewill-Soulsby, The Emperor and the Elephant: Christians and Muslims in the Age of Charlemagne (Princeton, 2023)

James Palmer, 'The making of a world historical moment: the Battle of Tours (732/3) in the nineteenth century', postmedieval 10:2 (2019), 206-218

Roy Rosenzweig, 'Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past', Journal of American History 93.1 (2006), 117-46

Prema Smith and Ben Marwick, 'World Heritage Sites on Wikipedia. Cultural heritage activism in a context of constrained agency', Big Data and Society 8 (1) (2021)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Personal and academic learning that makes a positive difference to themselves and to the world around them.

Personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate ideas, evidence and experiences from an open-minded and reasoned perspective.

Effective and proactive individuals, skilled in influencing positively and adapting to new situations with sensitivity and integrity.

Skilled communication to enhance their understanding of a topic or context and to engage effectively with others.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Charles West
Course secretary
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