Reading Options for Reading Reflection Assignment (I will add them to the attachment)
- , “The Local and the Global: The Multiple Visual Worlds of Ivory Carvers in Early Modern Sri Lanka,” in Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History, ed. Zoltán Biedermann and Alan Strathern (London: UCL Press, 2017), 113-140.
- , “Lights on the Antipodes: Francisco de Holanda and an Art History of the Universal,” The Art Bulletin 102, no. 4 (2020): 37-65.
- , “The Southern Indian ‘Devil in Calicut’ in Early Modern Northern Europe: Images, Texts and Objects in Motion,” Journal of Early Modern History 18 (2014): 15-48.
Quality matters more than quantity (some can say a lot with very little), but you should aim for roughly 700 words. See tips below.
Suggested General Structure
- The first half of your paper should summarize and analyze the reading. Draw on the saying/doing skills that you’ve developed in tutorial. Your analysis can be split into two paragraphs:
- One paragraph should introduce the topic of the reading, the author’s approach, and the author’s argument.
- A second paragraph should summarize the body of the essay, explaining how the author supports the argument with particular contexts and sources.
- In the second half of the paper, reflect on what you think of the author’s argument or approach by drawing from the class lectures and/or from the other course readings. Is the argument convincing or problematic? Are there contexts or concepts from the unit that you think further support the argument or that you think move the argument in another direction?
- You may want to compare one or two examples from class to examples discussed in the reading. This is where you’ll find the themes come in especially handy. Compare context as much as content.
Tips for Writing an Analysis
- You’re not simply reporting the information from the reading. You’re analyzing and explaining the argument of a particular author.
- Remember the author’s name and keep making it clear to the reader that you are summarizing that author’s opinion: “According to [so-and-so], …”; “In [so-and-so’s] view,…”; “[So-and-so] compares …”; “In this political context, [he, she, they] argues, ….”
- If you’re not sure what pronoun to use for the author, look them up on Google to see what he/she/they prefer.
- The first time you mention an author, provide their full name. Thereafter, you can refer to them by their family name/last name.
- Use your own words and sentences. This is NOT an exercise in picking the right quotations. In fact, we’d rather you not use quotations at all. We’re looking to see how well you understand the ideas, so summarize broader passages as you understand them.
- You need to synthesize but you also need to be precise.
- If an author is comparing forms or subjects across several images, be specific about what kinds of images are most prominent for the argument. Prints, altarpieces, manuscripts, drawings, frescoes, etc?
- If primary sources (sources from the time period) are important in providing context, what kind of primary sources? Published treatises, poems, documents, letters, etc.?
- If it’s literature that the author uses for context, clarify what kind of literature. Ancient poetry, Renaissance poetry? Pastoral poetry, epic poetry, tragedy, panegyric, elegy? The more precise you can be, the easier it will be to explain why these sources are important for the argument.
- If secondary sources (i.e. more recent academics or intellectuals) are central to the argument, what kind of secondary sources? Art historians, social historians, post-colonial historians, anthropologists, philosophers, psychoanalysts, feminists?
- Don’t just mention what the author talks about. Explain what they have to say about it. Provide some specific details. Write as if your reader is a friend who isn’t in the course. You’ll need to be clear with your explanations.
- Keep your sentences simple and direct. Don’t cram everything into one sentence.
Tips about Length
- If you’re substantially over, you either need to tighten up your writing or you need to synthesize more information.
- To tighten your writing, try to simplify your sentences and be more direct. Cut out general or broad statements, and be precise right from the outset. Take out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs that don’t add tangible or observable clarity to the point. Your readers can’t visualize or recognize what makes a picture “beautiful,” for example, nor can they identify what makes a work “effective” or “successful.” They can, however, visualize qualities or conditions from adjectives like “monumental,” “life-sized,” “ornate,” “soft,” “heavy,” “rigid,” etc.
- To synthesize your information, focus more on the big ideas, concepts, or contexts and then select the most essential details that help you explain the ideas, concepts, or contexts. While it’s great that you’ve recorded every fact in every sentence, descriptions of every point suggest that you haven’t really made sense of the argument.
- If you’re substantially under 700 words, you probably need to explain concepts and contexts with a little more detail and description