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FYSB 1422: Art, AIDS, Activism

Course Guide for Art, AIDS, Activism

First-Year Seminar: Art, AIDS, Activism

Welcome! This course guide brings together resources related to art and activism and the AIDS crisis. While many of the resources provided place the AIDS crisis in US centered and historical frame, it is important to keep in mind that the AIDS crisis is global and ongoing. These resources are only a starting point.

Please feel free to make an appointment with me to broaden your focus. You can book directly into my calendar using the "Schedule Appointment" button on the left, or email me at mwisner@barnard.edu.


In this guide you will find:

  • Web resources and encyclopedias to get solid background information (below)
  • Places to find books in print and online
  • Databases for locating scholarly and peer reviewed journal articles, reviews, and newspaper articles
  • Large image databases with collections specific to this topic
  • Primary sources for doing archival research
  • Information for citing your sources and writing in art history

 

Image: ACT UP, Silence = Death, 1987. Color lithograph.  Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org.

Using Encyclopedias in your Research

Wikipedia

As the world's largest encyclopedia, Wikipedia's coverage is vast. You are more likely to find articles on obscure topics in Wikipedia than you would anywhere else. But is Wikipedia accurate? While Wikipedia can be edited by anyone in the world (including you!), scholarly encyclopedias like Encyclopedia Britannica are written and edited by experts in their fields. However, 2005 study in the journal Nature weighed the accuracy of science articles on Wikipedia against the more scholarly  Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia was found to be nearly as accurate in the 42 articles investigated. Encyclopedia Britannica refuted these claims. When using Wikipedia, or any encyclopedia for that matter, it is wise to verify what you find.

Strengths of Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia is updated frequently. New information can be, and often is, added to the site within minutes. Due to editorial limitations, scholarly encyclopedias are usually updated annually. 
  • Because Wikipedia crowd sourced, there is the potential for a broader authorship than is found in academic publications. 
  • Citations in Wikipedia offer a wider array of materials, including articles and resources that are available for free and online.

Weaknesses of Wikipedia

  • Editors on Wikipedia are not necessarily experts. Authorship on Wikipedia is often anonymous or obscured.
  • Articles are always changing, making them difficult to cite in your research. An article you read today, may look quite different tomorrow.
  • Articles can be vandalized, providing wildly inaccurate information.

Ways to use Wikipedia

  • Use Wikipedia to get a general idea about a topic you are interested in.
  • Wikipedia is great for generating keywords for further searching in CLIO and elsewhere.
  • Check the citations, recommended resources and external links to guide you to more scholarly work.

Scholarly Encyclopedias

Similar to Wikipedia, these resources provide an overview on a given topic, but the authors are experts in the fields they are covering. Below you will find a few general encyclopedia collections with coverage across a wide variety of fields. 

 

[image] Suze Meyers, Feminist Wikipedia, 2016.

Specific Encyclopedias

AIDS Web Resources