Description of Assignment:
Earlier this week you wrote a closely-observed formal comparison
between two sculptures, and we discussed Richard Brilliant's
"deep" iconographic analysis of Roman sculpture-tracing
sculptural gestures and connecting them to military gestures.
The director of the writing center also joined us yesterday
to discuss the analogy between critical looking and critical
reading. Our next project will involve working in groups in
order to develop a contextual reading of a given Indian architectural
monument, connecting the visual style of a monument to its
religious or political context. As a group, you will want
to come up with a proposed answer to these questions: Why
is the architectural plan of this monument laid out the way
it is; why is the sculptural program organized
the way it is; and why does it use the sculptural
style it does? For example, you might argue that the rise
of the fig-leaf religious sect, which saw god as an abstract
entity symbolized by fig leaves, was key to the proliferation
of fig-leaf imagery on your monument; and to the monument's
overall layout in the form of a fig leaf. Or you may argue
that a particularly despotic ruler patronized the construction
of this temple, and commissioned the depiction of beneficent
rulers in order to counteract his negative image.
You will work as a group on learning more about this monument,
developing a thesis about why the monument looks the way it
does, and teaching the class about the monument. Then you
will each write your own double-spaced 5-page paper on some
aspect of the monument in which you have specialized, adhering
to the overall interpretation you have developed as a group.
This paper will be due in class next Wednesday (week 2, day
You will develop your group presentation and your individual
paper by way of a series of steps.
Step 1. For the last hour-and-a-half of class today
(week 1, thursday) we will go to Tutt library for a one-hour
introduction to library and electronic resources, including
interlibrary loan and the EBSCO database, with Krystyna Mrozek,
interdisciplinary programs librarian. Following this orientation,
you will need to find at least two articles and two books
which address your monument, either in whole or in part. Obtain
these sources (i.e. if you find a relevant article you must
download or photocopy it) and bring them to class with you
tomorrow (Friday). As a group, you also need to hand
in a single one-page bibliography listing each of these sources
in the Kate Turabian bibliographic format. Friday
Krystyna will join us and she and Tamara will discuss the
merits, or limitations, of the sources you have found; and
Krystyna will demonstrate the use of additional databases
for finding books and articles on your topic. Some of you
may also want to make an appointment to meet with Krystyna
Mrozek in the afternoon for more help finding sources. Reference
librarians are also available at the Tutt library reference
desk over the weekend.
Step 2. Alongside your research project, divide up
the chapters of the short book Darsan: Seeing the Divine
in Indian Art among your group. Meet preferably Saturday
morning at the library to share with each other the overall
points of the chapters you read.
Step 3. Regarding your research project, over the
weekend (preferably Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning)
find at least 3 more sources that address your
monument (you need at least 7 sources total). Now that you
have found these sources, it is time to read them. Decide
how the group will read and summarize these sources. Do you
all read everything? Do you divide up readings? In addition,
how might you divide up coverage of the monument for your
presentations? One division of labor might be the following:
one person handles the sculptural program, one person handles
the architectural design, and one person handles political
or religious issues--or subtopics of that nature. You will
need to continue meeting regularly and informing each other
on your separate pieces, so that you can ultimately knit together
your various aspects, forming a multi-faceted contextual interpretation
of the temple or palace.
Step 4. Monday morning hand in an annotated
bibliography and a two-page rough draft on your section of
the analysis. Bonnie Stapleton will talk with you
about how to organize effective oral presentations. Class
is dismissed early. Meet with Tamara in order to pull slides
for your presentation and go over your proposed plan for the
presentation. Prepare your presentation in consultation
with each other. Consider preparing handouts. Optimally
students would also add another page or two to their paper
Step 5. Tamara will provide feedback on the
two-page rough drafts, although they are not graded.
Each group gives their 20-minute in-class presentation.
Students in the audience will be responsible for remembering
main points regarding all monuments covered. Audience members
will also fill out ungraded responses regarding the effectiveness
of various components of each student's presentation. The
group will receive a group grade for their presentation, which
will be 30% of their grade for this project. Each student
will also be asked to indicate, on a separate sheet, approximately
what percentage of the project each project member was responsible
for. Tamara will not assign individual grades based on the
percentage of group work carried, but she will make note of
them, particularly in cases where it is indicated that a single
member of the group put in a particularly low level of effort.
Tamara will be available from 1:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon
in her office (#203 Packard Hall) should any of the groups
wish to meet with her. The writing center is also available
to help prepare group presentations.
Step 6. At start of class Wednesday, each student
hands in their 5-page paper. These papers will account
for 70% of your research project grade. Each paper should
start out with an explanation of the "why?" thesis
developed by the group; and should then back up the thesis
by way of particular aspects of the monument. All papers need
to include xeroxes of the monument at the end, and a bibliography.
Please use footnotes or endnotes whenever you draw upon the
work of others which goes beyond simple statements of fact.
Please use Turabian-style notes.
Step 7. Class will not meet in order to give you time
to review images and information concerning Indian sculptures
and architectural monuments to be covered in the midterm.
Step 8. 2-hour midterm on Indian sculptures and architectural