Online news from the past – ancient Greece on YouTube and the seemingly revival of a holistic academic education

Online news from the past – ancient Greece on YouTube and the seemingly revival of a holistic academic education

Author: Jesús Muñoz Morcillo – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Co-author: Andrea Geipel – Munich Center for Technology in Society (TUM), Germany

Popular science web videos are short, understandable and entertaining films that are explicitly been produced for the internet. This new medium comprises a great variety of producers, themes and aesthetics that are changing the production and dissemination of knowledge and the way people get in touch with it. Whenever we speak about science web videos most people think of edutainment video content on STEM topics, i.e. (Natural) Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The Humanities do not seem to belong to this definition, even if the research methods in the broad field of the Humanities are scientific as well: Philosophers, philologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, or art theorists also use hypotheses and verification methods for the production of new knowledge, which often relays on complex interdisciplinary approaches. Otherwise, we would not be able to understand the influence of platonic ideas through the ages, the changing societal function of art or the origins of today political and war conflicts, so as to mention a couple of themes. Against this background, it is very comforting to see that some YouTubers are contributing to the dissemination of general and specific knowledge on the classical antiquity, which constitutes the fundament of western civilization. In the light of this moderate but considerable trend, some questions arise. Is the YouTube content, related to Ancient Greece, reliable at all? Which are the most popular topics? And, is there a difference in the way of explaining topics and knowledge of the classical antiquity and of the STEM disciplines? In order to address these questions, we have analyzed 30 popular YouTube videos about Ancient Greece comparing the results with the main characteristics of STEM-related online videos as described in recent research. The interim results indicate that, compared to popular YouTube videos on STEM subjects, antiquity is usually presented as an area for general education rather than as a research field.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices