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ARTD 3138/7138: Journey to Wakanda: African Art and Popular Culture: Projects

Special Topics in Art History, Graduate Seminar (R6)

Discussion Groups

Weekly Reflection Papers

Weekly Reflection Papers (worth 10 points EACH, 11 papers in total)

To help prepare our weekly classroom discussions, students should write a two-page summary of the assigned readings every week, beginning with Week 2. The reflection papers should address the following:

      • The major points of each reading and how they relate to the week’s topic.
      • Reference and explain in your own words any definitions or theories thatyou find particularly important.
      • Any information that you would like to clarify.

*For the weeks focusing specifically on the film and its characters, students should assess:

      • How does learning about the original context and cultural meanings of specific African art forms change your understanding of the film and its characters?
      • Does this additional knowledge complicate specific characters and their depiction on screen? Are the cultural forms relevant and appropriate to the character and/or physical setting?

Example: Queen Ramonda’s crown is inspired by a Zulu isicholo, which among the Zulu, signifies that a woman is married. How does this reference to an isicholo help tell Ramonda’s story? What is potentially left out or ignored from its original context in its translation to film?

In addition to the above prompts, the main focus of your reflection papers should address how assigned readings have changed or enhanced your understanding of the film and its characters.


Graduate Student Project

Graduate Students - Final Reflection Presentation

In addition to the final reflection podcast, graduate students will be expected to provide a 10-minute presentation via Zoom, addressing how this class has influenced their own research and/or artistic productivity. As the majority of graduate students are studio majors, this means that each student will need to address how the course has made them think differently about the creative process and their own artwork. As part of this presentation, grad students are required to share examples of their artwork, along with a concise and thoughtful artist’s statement (which can be shared orally). If a graduate student is not in the studio art program, they will have to discuss their research interests and share how the theories and readings from this course have influenced their research practice.

Due Date: December 3rd, via ZOOM (during regularly scheduled meeting time)

Final Reflection Podcast

Final Reflection Podcast

In place of a final exam, you are expected to record a 15-minute podcast discussing:

      • your initial reactions to Black Panther (5 minutes)
      • how the course discussions and readings have enhanced and/or complicated your understanding of a specific character from the film (10 minutes)

You should begin your podcast by introducing yourself and your perspective, followed by a brief summation of your initial thoughts and reactions to the film (this section should be no longer than five minutes). The remaining ten minutes should focus on one the film’s characters, assessing how allusions to specific forms of African dress enhance, reiterate, complicate or conflict with the character’s on-screen persona and status.

For example: If a student chose T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and the previous Black Panther), how does his clothing and bodily adornments indicate his status as a leader and ancestor? Are there any forms of African dress that, in your opinion, would have functioned as stronger indicators of his status or personality, or does his dress appropriately reflect his social status? You may choose to analyze more than one costume to support your perspective, but limit your assessment to only one character from the film. You may choose a character discussed in class, or one that is not extensively addressed. You should rely primarily on readings from the course, although you can certainly use online scholarly resources to enhance your arguments.

Remember, although podcasts may sound casual, they are rehearsed and carefully written to ensure clarity and relatability. To that end, there will be three submission dates, to help ensure that you are working towards an informed and thoughtful final project:

      • OCTOBER 15, by 5PM – Submit selected character and specific costume choices via e-mail.
      • November 5, by 5PM – Submit rough draft script for podcast, should include introduction and part of the assessment (make sure to practice to ensure the length of intro is correct).
      • December 3, by 5PM – Submit final, recorded podcast and typed script.

The recording can be done on a computer or cell phone, but make sure that there is limited background noise and that you speak clearly and loudly. You will likely need to practice your podcast several times (and possibly record several times) before you arrive at the final podcast you submit. You will be required to submit your final, written script (via e-mail) as part of your final project.