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Smarthistory Call for Essays

posted by Christopher Howard — May 09, 2014

Khan Academy’s mission is a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, and the site has ten million unique visitors each month. During the past year, the art-history content alone was visited by every country in the world, save three, and Khan anticipates that this material will reach more than four million visitors during the fall 2014 semester. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization whose content is free and free of advertising.

Smarthistory at Khan Academy seeks to bring the expertise of individual scholars and curators to a new global audience. In fact, Khan Academy is now partnering with select museums. And thanks to the nearly one hundred contributors that “claimed” topics and submitted essays during their first call in October 2013, Smarthistory has published close to ninety new essays. To get a sense of their vision, read Steven Zucker and Beth Harris’s recent post on the blog for AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums.

If you are interested in sharing your expertise in the form of short introductory essays, Smarthistory could really use your help. The website’s founders, Zucker and Harris, seek art historians, archaeologists, and conservators in many areas of study; they have a particular need for specialists in African, Asian, precolonial American, and Pacific art. Together we can ensure that strong, global art-history content is well represented.

Smarthistory has created an interactive list of topics, a Trello Board, with an eye toward supporting introductory art-history courses. If something critical is missing, please let Zucker and Harris know. Once you’ve decided on a topic, send an email to Zucker and Harris (along with your CV). If everything is in order, you will be added to the Trello Board, so that you can claim that topic.

Here are the essay guidelines:

  • Length: 800–1,000 words
  • Writing style: informal, experiential, contextual
  • Content: for teaching (not original research)

Essays are reviewed and edited by Harris, Zucker, and Smarthistory’s contributing editors. As a general rule, Smarthistory looks for the narratives a great professor tells his or her class in order to make students fall in love with the history of art.

All accepted contributed content is published on both and All content is published with a Creative Commons attribution noncommercial, share-a-like license. You remain the owner of your content, and your contribution is always attributed.