Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Questionable Bits

On the whole, the American Art papers are very agreeable to read: pretty literate and usually showing a good degree of understanding of their topics. But they would not be student papers if there were not occasional lapses in phrasing and thought, would they? For example:
"Lovell tried to show how the American family photo evolved over time across the 18th century." (Photos in the 18th century?!)
And, on an exam, one student identifies Harlem Renaissance painter Palmer Hayden as Arnold Palmer. Well, I suppose Palmer Hayden may have played golf and Arnold Palmer may have painted, but they're not the same person. Another student, while correctly stating that Edmonia Lewis was the first woman of African and Native American descent to make her career in art, got a little carried away and said she was the first woman to go to college, which she was not (although she was one of Oberlin's earlier nonwhite female students). Another rather charming error: Emmanuel Leutze's Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way was identified as Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Toll. I have to admit I much prefer the latter title.
I was delighted to see evidence of considerable study on the Intro to Modern exams. Of course, there were still some errors of fact and interpretation, and most of the students could have written more, but they really made a pretty universal effort to learn the material in the second half of the course. Major progress for some of them, especially those with no prior background in art history (which was really most of the class).
Really, despite the occasional weird bits, I am quite happy with both groups.

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Blogger Kristen said...

Oh this is just too good: "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Toll"!!!

I hope you are able to collapse for a bit now that grading is done!

December 17, 2008 6:20 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

I think several of us will have a hard time teaching the correct title after this.

As for collapsing, well, once I get on the plane, perhaps. If I can get myself to write more job applications, that's the afternoon task... Maybe.

December 17, 2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Of course, there were cameras as early as the 16th century. They were a bit obscura, though. And by coincidence, the working title of "Star Wars" was "For Whom the Empire Tolls". Darth Vader's character was sadly misconstrued as the villain, however. Merry Christmas, Karla!

December 25, 2008 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember making mistakes like this (-and probably would still be doing so if I hadn't finally left school for the mean old work world)...I remember one particularly cringe worthy paper wherein I referred to Gandhi as 'Ghandi' throughout.

Sigh. Simple fatigue and information overload short had circuited my brain. But the memory still rankles.


December 31, 2008 3:27 AM  

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