From the rise of the Religious Right to the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the Iran-Contra Affair and Challenger Space Shuttle accident to the launch of MTV, from the plague of AIDS and the crack epidemic to the fierce debates around the sex-porn wars and the “welfare queen,” events, individuals, and policies of the 1980s radically redefined understandings of sexuality and gender in the United States. The students of American Conflicts & Cultures: The 1980s at Trinity College learn to interpret and contextualize cultural objects by connecting the intimate and global topographies of these events and identifying the ways that they still affect our daily lives. As a project of public humanities, students worked together to build a timeline of the key events of the 1980s relating to their paper topic, and edited entries in Wikipedia related to their work to add further citations, data, and information regarding their research topics–read the 2015 class’s work below. The research that students do does not end on the page but serves to extend knowledge to the world while showing students their own agency and role in the production of knowledge. Enjoy!

Thanks to my students for an incredible semester! Many thanks also to Sara Koopman for the introduction to Wikiwash that allows you to track Wikipedia edits in real time and also show edits from specific editors.