CONTEXUTALIZING A WORK OF ART This assignment involves putting the work of art you chose for Assignment 1 back into its historical and cultural context.


CONTEXUTALIZING A WORK OF ART This assignment involves putting the work of art you chose for Assignment 1 back into its historical and cultural context. This paper should be approximately 5-6 pages in length (SEE General Information & Writing Guidelines on Blackboard for further format instructions). v GOALS: You are not looking to study the specific work of art you wrote about for Paper #1 so much as to relate it to its broader cultural context. In fact, you are not likely to find information directly about the Houston work. [If you do, be sure you also answer the following bigger questions] This assignment asks you to discuss the subject and the religious, social, and political or other cultural context of the work of art you wrote about in Assignment 1 in order to put it back into that context. o CRITICAL THINKING: As you do your research and look again at the work you selected to write about, be sure to define a thesis to guide you. The thesis could be a question or a particular issue that you want to find out about in relation to this object. ALSO: Think about the sources you are using as making an argument, not only as sources of information. What assumptions might they be making? Do different sources give different perspectives on the work or its role in its culture? What do you find compelling or, in contrast, not convincing based on what you have learned in the course.

v RESEARCH: What does the object tell us about the culture and people from which it comes?

v TIP: Think of taking the work out of the museum and putting it back into the world from which it came. INTEGRATE the visual analysis of the work you did for your first assignment (revised, using feedback from the grader, and selected to be relevant) into a new paper that explains how the work of art you chose reflects its original cultural context. DO NOT CUT AND PASTE your previous paper word for word.


Ø ID the type of work you wrote about for Assignment 1 and the parts of its culture to which it relates. Since you are not likely to find many (if




any) sources that deal directly with the exact object you are working on, these will be your starting points for research

Ø TO GUIDE YOUR RESEARCH & WRITING, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS in relation to your work of art: o What kind of function or purpose might this work have served for its culture and what did it mean for the people of that culture? § Was the work connected to the culture’s religious practices or beliefs?

§ Is it related to the political structure or to power politics? § Is it related to the social structure of the society? § Is it connected with specific historical events or circumstances of the work’s time and place?

§ Be specific about the social, cultural ideas, experiences, or values the piece reflects

o Investigate the subject matter, but don’t go overboard with details that don’t contribute to the goal of this assignment! (you may have to drop some of the details you had put in Assignment 1) Make sure you can relate the subject matter to the culture and the part of the culture it addresses. § Is it a figurative theme (represent people, buildings, animals, plants) or purely decorative – eg plant forms or geometric or organic shapes; or just lines?

§ Is it related to the religious system or beliefs of the culture?


Use your textbook AND a minimum of TWO OTHER SOURCES [See Choosing, Using, and Citing Sources on Blackboard for information about acceptable types of sources to use]

These sources may include:

Ø RECOMMENDED OR REQUIRED READINGS on Blackboard Ø E-BOOKS (equivalent to printed books) Ø NO MORE THAN HALF OF ALL THE SOURCES YOU USE MAY BE FROM THE INTERNET and the internet sources you use MUST be connected with a MUSEUM, UNIVERSITY or other ACADEMIC site. (usually .org OR .edu)




o See CHOOSING, USING AND CITING SOURCES for more detailed information on acceptable types of sources and how to use and create citations acknowledging your use of them

Ø FINDING BOOKS AND ARTICLES Ø Here is an online research guide put together by the Arts Librarian:

Ø GO TO: Ø SCROLL DOWN TO: Research Tools

o SELECT Art Databases Ø CHOOSE FROM (or try several!)

o Art Full Text (art history journals with articles on line) OR o JSTOR (on-line journals with articles in various disciplines, including art history but also history, religion, etc)

o Oxford Art Online (encyclopedia written by art historians and acceptable for art history papers)

Ø Do a Keyword or use “Boolean” searches (using two words with AND or OR between them are often better than simple subject searches as they usually produce more focused and useful results o Examples: Hellenistic AND sculpture; Greek AND bronze AND sculpture; Roman AND sarcophagus; Roman AND sculpture

Ø USING SOURCES FROM THE INTERNET (other than the databases you can find on the Art & Architecture Library website) ONLY those associated with a museum or university will be accepted for papers in this course. These can be identified by the url that ends in .org for museums or .edu for universities

Ø Here are some good places to search for general background information on the type of object you are writing about and the culture from which it comes o OXFORD ART ONLINE (remember Wikipedia is NOT an

acceptable source for a college paper – See CHOOSING, USING, AND CITING SOURCES)

o The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

o The British Museum:

Ø Googling a topic is not an acceptable way to find a reliable source.




Ø RE-READ THE TEXTBOOK and other assigned readings (as well as relevant recommended readings) that pertain to the culture and type of object you have chosen. TAKE NOTES on those readings if you didn’t the first time. REVIEW the powerpoints from class relevant to the work of art you are writing about. o NOTE: If you wrote on a work of Greek pottery, BE SURE to use the Recommended Reading selection on Greek pottery as one of your sources. IF YOU WRITE ON ANY GREEK WORK OF ART, USE THE POLLITT READING on Blackboard OR the full book from which it is excerpted.

Ø WRITE DOWN THE PAGE NUMBERS from which you have taken information and/or ideas next to the material you have taken from that page. [You will need this information for your footnotes or in-text citations when you write your paper] If you are using an online source there probably will not be page numbers. o REMEMBER: If you use information or ideas of any kind from a source (including your textbook) other than class notes you must provide a citation at the end of the sentence or paragraph where you have used a source

o Make sure you understand the information and ideas and PUT THEM IN YOUR OWN WORDS. § Do not quote secondary sources, but do cite any information or ideas you get from them.

§ If you copy the words of your source into your paper that is PLAGIARISM and may lead to your failing the course. Changing just a word or two is not enough to claim it as your own.

Ø OUTLINE THE MAJOR IDEAS, VALUES & INFORMATION about the culture that you will use to put your work of art back into its original context

v WRITING YOUR PAPER: KEEP IN MIND: The goal is to write a single, coherent paper that talks about the work of art as an expression of its culture

Ø INTEGRATE o STYLISTIC ANALYSIS you did for Assignment 1 (taking into account the grader’s comments




§ Use only those parts of your first paper that help you explain the object as a product of its cultural context


Ø Write a separate INTRODUCTION that identifies the work of art you discuss AND sets out your THESIS or main ideas about its cultural context and significance.

Ø Write a CONCLUSION that summarizes the main points you have made in your paper (You will lose points for “fluffy” endings that do not pull together important elements of your paper.)

Ø ADD an extra page for the Bibliography with the full bibliographic information for each source you use.

Ø USE FOOTNOTES OR IN-TEXT CITATIONS for each source and page from which you take information. If you know a standard citation format you may use it. If you don’t know a standard citation format SEE CHOOSING, USING, AND CITING SOURCES on Blackboard o You will also have to CITE THE MUSEUM WALL LABEL again for this paper

SEE Choosing, using, and Citing Sources and General Information & Guidelines on Blackboard for further details.

Submitting Your Writing Assignments We are using TURNITIN assignment tool in Blackboard as a means of detecting and preventing plagiarism. TURNITIN also records the time and date that you turn in your paper.

You WILL NOT turn in a hard copy of your paper but ONLY upload it to


To post your papers on Blackboard you do NOT need a code! -Go to the course homepage on Blackboard

-Click on the computer-like link for the Assignment you want to upload -This should bring up a screen with an option to upload your paper.




-Click Upload to submit your paper. Be sure all your pages are in one document!



IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE UPLOADING YOUR PAPER -Immediately contact the help line at the bottom of the course Blackboard

homepage -Notify me through mail on Blackboard.

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