Submissions:2018/Wikipedia’s Gender Gap and Disciplinary Praxis: Representing Women Scholars in Digital Rhetoric and Writing Fields

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2018.

Wikipedia’s Gender Gap and Disciplinary Praxis: Representing Women Scholars in Digital Rhetoric and Writing Fields

Theme (optional)
Inclusion & Diversity
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Matthew Vetter
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)
Indiana University of Pennsyvania

Wikipedia’s gender gaps, the result of a predominance of male editors and the correlating uneven participation and coverage of marginalized groups, are by now both well-known and well-documented (Cohen, 2011; Collier and Bear, 2012; Glott, Schmidt, and Ghosh, 2010; Gruwell, 2015; Wadewitz, 2013). This presentation reports on an attempt to interrogate these gaps in coverage as they manifest in discipline-specific representations, especially representations related to the academic fields of computers and writing, digital literacy, and digital rhetoric. Preliminary analysis of Wikipedia articles related to these fields demonstrates a severe lack of coverage, which, given these fields’ attention to digital literacies, should be improved. This presentation reports on a bibliometric method of citation analysis (Eyman, 2015; Kaur, Radicchi, and Menczer, 2013) across five Wikipedia articles related to these fields in order to show how the gender gap manifests in the absence of cited research by non-male scholars. To address these content gaps, this project moves beyond analysis to define and engage in acts of critical digital praxis within Wikipedia, asking students to edit the encyclopedia to improve representation of women and women’s research in computers and writing and digital rhetoric fields. Descriptions of such editorial work and its implications, furthermore, provide a model for disciplinary praxis, and graduate pedagogy, in which students and professor work together to engage in the critique and remediation of Wikipedia’s disciplinary content and gender gaps. As a larger example of critical digital analysis and participation, this presentation also describes efforts to unpack and critique the ways in which media, even those professing an open-access and democratic ethic, perpetuate social hegemonies of marginalization.

Length of presentation
20 min
Special requests
Please do not schedule during the workshop I have also submitted with Alexandria Lockett. Technology requirements - Capability for slide show
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