Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hoaxing for History

In 2008 Mills Kelly, a lecturer at George Mason University, crated a hoax historical figure called Edward Owens as part of his class 'Lying About the Past'. This figure - a fictional late nineteenth-century pirate - went on to have a rich digital life, spawning articles, Wikipedia entries and the like. When Kelly revealed the hoax at the end of his class, he caused quite a controversy, with even Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, taking notice.

Recently, Mills Kelly has announced that he intends to do the same again. What do you think of these deliberate hoaxes? Are they ever acceptable? And do they have a pedagogical value?

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