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ARTH 325 The Cutting Edge: Art and Architecture Since 1900: Getting Started

Understanding the Assignment

Note: This is a summary of the assignment. Check the syllabus for more information.

Develop an interpretation of a work of 20th century art based upon your close analysis and the existing scholarly literature.

Situate it in relation to both the artist’s larger oeuvre and the broader aesthetic and social context in which it emerged, you should begin with your observations of its material and formal characteristics.

Write a 7-8 page paper using the Chicago Manual of Style


October 4: Outline that includes a thesis statement, evidence, and summary bibliography of at least six scholarly sources

December 6: Final paper due

Background Information

Use different types of sources for background information.

  • Subject encyclopedias are a great way to start your search on almost any subject, since they present overviews of topics,
  • Surveys, edited books or anthologies by various authors can give you a broad viewpoint.
  • Articles, typically found through databases, can be helpful in understanding the scholarly conversation about the topic.

Developing a Thesis

Once you've chosen a topic, think about a research question that you use to develop a working thesis. As you explore more deeply into your topic, you will inevitably encounter information that will both support and contradict your working thesis. Evaluate and refine your thesis in light of what you've found.

When you've completed and reviewed the information you gathered in the research process, your next step is develop an argument based on your working thesis. 

Using a Variety of Sources

  • Seek out a variety of sources: books, essays in books, journal articles, catalogs, images and more.
  • Use a variety of search tools: Primo, multiple databases, Google Scholar.

Liaison Librarian Information

Angela Weaver's picture
Angela Weaver
Collins Library 131