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 Women & the Arts Assignments

Please note that without an officially documented medical emergency, there will be no make-up work or incompletes. Also, I strongly discourage late papers, as they will not earn you full credit for your work. For each day past the due date, your paper grade will drop by a letter grade. Completion and submission of all assignments are your own responsibility. For information about needs for alternate academic accommodations, contact the Disability Services Coordinator, Student Center 214, 678-466-5445, disabilityservices@clayton.edu.

There is no formal research paper assigned for this class. We will have weekly quizzes, several short-essay exams, and a final exam to assess terms and concepts learned in our course. You will also be responsible for group and individual presentations. Your active participation and willingness to keep pace with the material in these and the following assignments are essential to your success.

Quizzes, Exams, & Final Exam (45% total)

Throughout the semester we will conduct several quizzes, exams, and written assignments—both in-class and out-of-class—that will help us understand the course material more thoroughly. If necessary, we will also have weekly quizzes on our assignments. All assignments and quizzes are designed to help you keep up with your readings, stay prepared for class, and better engage with the course material.

Refer to the Comments Guide to understand my editorial marks on your written papers.

Group presentation & discussion leadership (20%)

Additionally, throughout the semester students in groups of two or three will take turns giving a research presentation and leading the class discussion of selected artists. During the second week of class, you will sign up for the topic and date for which you will be responsible. See the Group presentation & discussion leadership page for full details.

Before you and your leadership partners give your presentation, you should each research your chosen topic thoroughly so that you may present your material with confidence. Then **together as a group** you will prepare a 1-page handout for your classmates that:

1)     Briefly (3-5 sentences max) summarizes the artist’s main themes and influences

2)     Praises at least two points AND critiques at least two points about her style/work

3)     Poses provocative questions for the class to discuss after your presentation

4)     Lists your reference sources in proper bibliographic format

During your presentation, you should:

5)     BE CREATIVE using many visual, written, performative, and/or aural aids

6)     Connect her work to inspirational artworks/artists not assigned for our course

7)     Connect her work to other artworks/artists assigned for our course

8)     Be prepared to answer questions about your artist from your classmates  

Individual Research Presentation (20%)

Over the course of the semester, you will research an aspect of women's roles in the arts that is of particular interest to you, drawing from the issues raised in class but a topic/subject other than what we’ve studied in class.

Step 1: Select Your Topic

The choice and scope of your topic is up to you, as long as it pertains to women & their role/impact/representation/etc. in the "high arts." Note that for the purposes of this course, we are distinguishing the "high arts" from the "mass media" or "popular arts." That is, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Katharine Hepburn, and Oprah Winfrey are all fantastic women in the mass-media arts, but they are therefore more appropriate subjects for our Women & Popular Culture course (CMS 3810).

For our Women & the Arts course, then, you might analyze the work of a single woman artist (a painter, poet, director, photographer, dancer, composer, writer, performer, etc.); you might explore gender/race/sexuality roles within a particular woman's artwork; you might compare and contrast two women artists; you could analyze theoretical tensions in a woman's artwork or oeuvre...

Step 2: Submit Your Proposal

A one-page, written project proposal is due early during the semester. (See schedule for due date.) This should include a one-paragraph thesis statement and an outline of your presentation's main points, arguments, supportive artworks, etc. List in MLA format a few bibliographical sources on this initial proposal if you have them (encouraged).

    IMPORTANT: Do NOT copy and paste information from the Internet for your proposal; that is plagiarism and NOT the goal for this assignment. Such superficial research does not qualitatively expand your knowledge of the material or mine. You may start researching your ideas on the web, but your written proposal--and certainly your presentation--should do much more than simply rephrase or repeat information available on the Internet.

Step 3: Conduct Your Research & Expand Proposal

Consult a minimum of five scholarly sources following your initial search and choice of topic. These will include scholarly articles from professional journals like Art in America, Art Journal, Film Quarterly, Opera News, etc. and books from university presses (e.g., Routledge, Oxford University Press, University of Georgia Press, etc.).; they may NOT include internet sites or popular press sources like Variety, Rolling Stone, Spin, etc. for magazines or Doubleday or Houghton Mifflin, Random House, etc. for books. If you choose to consult these popular sources, you must list their bibliographical information as well, of course, but you must have studied five credible, scholarly sources in addition to these pop sources.

To find these scholarly sources, search in GALILEO rather than Google or other web search engines. Try multiple searches available through the Humanities databases, via subject categories like "Art, Architecture and Art History" or "Film, Music, and the Performing Arts." These subjects will link you with database indexes like the Art Index, Music Index, Arts & Humanities Index, MLA Bibliography, Film Literature Index, etc. If you use general databases like ProQuest, make sure to select a search consisting of scholarly articles only.

A more detailed, revised outline of your presentation is due near midterm. (See schedule for due date.) This proposal includes a bibliography in MLA format of your minimum number of scholarly sources and as much detail as possible about how you will present your research to the class, including types of media you will use (PowerPoint slides or audio clips, etc.).

Step 4: Present Your Research and Annotated Bibliography

At the end of term, each student will present your findings to the class during a short 10-minute presentation including visual/aural images, clips, passages, etc. of your studied artist's work.

On this day, you should provide everyone in the class with a one-page handout about your selected artist. I encourage you to be creative, concise, and thorough on this handout, summarizing highlights about your artist's biographical and artistic life as well as places that your classmates might look to find more information on your artist or her artworks themselves (if applicable to her medium). You might wish to reproduce a few of your visual aids on this handout as well, if space permits.

An annotated bibliography in MLA format is due the day of your presentation at the end of term. (See schedule for due date.) This should detail each research source with a paragraph of annotation for each describing the major ideas of the author and the usefulness of the work for your research.


You'll only have 10 minutes, so keep it simple.

Focus on your artist's artwork and themes rather than her biographical information. Refer to class themes when you can--women's centered community, for example.

Always refer to your artist by her LAST name, unless you personally know her well enough to call her by her first name.

Definitely include visual images of your artist and of her work too. If you'll be reading poems, type them into PowerPoint too.

Don't forget the one-page handout! Include images and sources for more information.

Refer to the Comments Guide to understand my editorial marks on your written papers.