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Art Appreciation 1301 - Schafter, Debra: Spring 2017: Home


  1. Spiritual Belief

Representational Images & Objects

Monotheistic (Judaism, Christianity): icons

Polytheistic (Hinduism; Shintoism): nature worship

(kachinas, kami)

Nontheistic (Buddhism)

                Abstraction and the Spiritual

                                Ritual performance: masking, pagents

                                Non-representational: Islam, Protestantism, Buddhism,

     modern abstraction (Kandinsky)

Sacred spaces:

(kiva, garbha graha, shrines, pilgrimage church, Kaaba, missions)

  1. The Cycle of Life

Birth & Youth

Aging and Mortality

The arts of death; memento mori, vanitas

Burial and the Afterlife

Tombs, sarcophagi

  1. Love and Sex

The sensual and the spiritual

Hinduism – Kami

Classical mythology – Aphrodite/Venus, Eros/Cupid

Imaging desire (courtship and sexuality)

  1. The Body, Gender, and Identity

The Physical Ideal

Constructing Female Identity

                Images of fertility; performance art


Construction Male Identity

Challenging Gender Identity

  1. Cultural Identity
  1. Power

Politics and Prestige

Gender and Power

Ethnicity and Power

  1. Science, Technology, and the Environment

Technology and the Arts

Camera Arts

New Media

Technology and Architecture

Art and the Environment

Research Paper Assignment

            In this class you will be required to write a research paper on the topic of a particular theme represented in works of art and/or architecture.  You will also make a class presentation on the same topic, using a presentation method of your own choice (see Final Presentation description below).

Getting Started:

Part 5 of your textbook (8th ed.; Chapters 21-27) is dedicated to various themes explored in works of art and architecture over a variety of cultures throughout history.  As a starting place for this assignment, I have outlined these themes, giving greater detail to how they might be addressed (see attached sheet). 

Step 1:  Browse through these seven chapters in your textbook, looking for works of art and/or architecture that interest you for a research project.  From the list that I have provided, identify where your selected topic falls within the outline of themes.  Reading that section of your textbook carefully, identifying specific artworks and/or structures that represent that theme.   

Step 2:  Write a brief proposal for your Research Paper, identifying:

  1. the theme you will be investigating;
  2. types of artworks that fit into that theme, and
  3. specific works of art represented in your textbook that represent the theme.

This proposal is due on March 20 (Start II: March 30), and will be returned to you March 22 (Start II: April 4) with approval and suggestions to help you research your topic.

Research:  On Monday, March 27 (Start II: April 4), you will begin your research at the library; this session with the Reference Librarian will take place during our regularly scheduled class time. At that time, the librarian and I will help you locate scholarly resources that will allow you to better understand the artworks and structures that fit into your selected theme.

Final Paper

The contents of your paper should include the following:

  1. A clear description of the theme you have chosen to investigate;
  2. The culture(s) within which you will explore this theme (e.g. American and/or European art, art of Latin America, Asian art and/or architecture, etc.)
  3. A thorough description of the works of art and/or architecture that represent this theme and why it does so.  In total, four or more works should be examined, only two of which can be works represented in your textbook, but at least two more that you have discovered through your research (four works minimum).
  4. A summary of how the various works you have examined represent the theme.  Here you may want to summarize similarities and differences in how particular artists, architects, and/or cultures have approached the chosen theme.

Your final paper will be a well-written essay, approximately five pages in length (standard font, double-spaced), with at least four to five cited sources.

Cited Sources: No more than one of your sources should be a webpage (that is, something that exists only as a webpage).  When using an internet source, remember that it must be legitimate, meaning that it is authored and published by an academic or art institution (look for .edu or .org websites).  When published sources are included in your final paper, you must provide proper citation.  You may use either MLA style or the Turabian Style.  Information on how to use either style is available through the SAC Library website (see   Your final paper will be due on April 19 (plus your final presentation proposal).  All late papers will lose one-third a letter grade per day they are late.

LAST - Final Presentation:

After completing your paper and turning it in, you will be asked to briefly present its contents to the class sometime during the last week of the semester.  The format of your project can range from creating a website on your topic (or some aspect of it), to simply presenting a very brief (5-minute) illustrated lecture using Powerpoint or other presentation software.  In whatever manner you decide to present your topic, be sure to show good visual examples of the art and/or architecture.  You will be required to give me a Proposal for your final presentation on the day you hand in your completed Research Paper, April 19, letting me know the following:

1) the topic of your presentation (it may be a very brief summary of your

    research paper topic, or just one portion of it),

2) how you will make your final presentation (if other than PowerPoint).

SAC Library, Moody Learning Center, 2nd-5th floors

Moody Learning Center, 4th floor


2nd floor (North) - Reference collection, Reference desk, LIBRARIANS, Internet computers, Group Study Rooms

2nd floor (South) - Library Instruction classrooms

3rd floor - Circulating collection (check out books & media), Circulation desk, Group Study Rooms

4th floor - Library McAllister Collection & Performance Area, Group Study Rooms, Quiet Study Area, Reserve collection, Reserve desk, Interlibrary Loan, GET CHANGE & PAY FINES $$

5th floor - Library Faculty & Staff Offices, Acquisitions, Discoverying

Subject Guide

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Eileen Oliver
San Antonio College Library
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