HUMANITIES 1315 – RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT
**TO PREPARE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT – YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE YOU CAN ACCESS THIS WEBSITE:
AND DOWNLOAD THE WECHAT APP TO YOUR PHONE. YOU WILL BE INTERVIEWING CHINESE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN SHENZHEN, CHINA ABOUT A WORK OF ART TO COMPLETE YOUR ESSAY.
So far, we have focused on art and culture of the Western world. As we have learned, the art produced by a culture reflects the beliefs and values of the culture that produced it. For each era and style we have studied, you have been learned to identify ‘Cultural Values/Characteristics’ that are visible in the art of that era, and that reflect that era’s cultural values. As you have learned, as culture and society change, art changes as well to reflect changing values.
In your research paper, you will be asked to compare two works of art – one from a western country/culture, and one from a non-western country/culture. You will only focus on ONE of the eras of art that we have looked at in this class so far (Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic, Realism, Modern, Postmodern) – The era and works of art will be assigned to you – in fact it has already been posted to the Padlet website noted above
You will first research the western work of art and analyze the cultural values it reflects by referencing at least 3 of the Cultural Values/Characteristics of that art era, (make sure to mention at least 3 of the principles and elements of art – you can refer back to your Pretty Ugly workshop if you need reminders).
Then you will examine a non-western [Chinese] work of art that was made during the same time period but in another country. Your research sources for the non-western/Chinese work of art will consist of posts by and interviews with Chinese students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, China.
Remember, non-western art won’t be called ‘Classical’ or ‘Romantic’ and will be different in at least some ways from western art – other countries have different cultures, societies and histories, so their values may be very or somewhat different. You can use what you know about western art as a starting place to think about the non-western artwork. How does it look different from the western artwork, in terms of color, lines, textures, shapes or subject matter, balance, emphasis (focal point), movement, etc. Is it different? How so? What do you see, and what might it be telling you about the values of the culture that produced this work of art? Your feelings about art may not help you much when looking at non-western art – what Classicists thought was ‘pretty’ two thousand years ago in Greece might have been VERY different from what Japanense artists thought was pretty. These differences are based on the values of the cultures that produced the works of art.
Here is a good example – In the west today, we think dinner plates should be smooth and shiny have pictures of flowers or maybe human figures on them. But when I visited China, I found dinner plates designed with pictures of bugs and frogs!! I thought these were ugly, but my Chinese friends thought they were beautiful. When I reflected on why this might be so, I concluded that perhaps Chinese cultures value nature more than our culture does. We value science more, and we use it to try to destroy insects and keep frogs away! But based on my observation, Chinese culture had a higher respect for nature, in all its forms (including bugs and frogs) and they saw them as beautiful because they were a part of ‘natural’. This is the type of ‘reflection’ on the non-western artwork you will write about that I will expect. I won’t expect you to be an expert on a non-western culture or its art! Just use what you know about western art and how it expresses cultural values to reflect on what you see in the non-western artwork.
To get warmed up for this, take a look at these:
Go to this page to learn more about Neolithic art in China –
Scroll down to the lesson on the Yuan Dynasty (same time period as the late Middle Ages in Europe) and watch the video about a wall painting of this period entitled “Buddha of Medicine Bhaishajyaguru (Yaoshi fo)”
Next, go to this page
Read the intro and watch the video about a female Lebanese sculptor from the contemporary (Modern/Postmodern eras in the West) and her artworks.
Lastly, read this article on Islamic carpets that were made during what would have been the Renaissance period in the West.
Again, non-western countries would not have the same artistic eras and styles as we do in the West, because they have different histories and cultures, therefore they have different values, and different ideas of what is ‘beautiful’ as a result.
Think about these questions: How are the Islamic carpets of this period different from Renaissance tapestries? What do the differences in non-western art works above tell us about the ways in which their cultures differ from Western cultures at the same time periods? Did they have different religions? Dress differently? Prefer different colors or shapes? Art created during the same time period may not reflect western characteristics, ideas or values of Classicism, Romanticism, or any of the eras/styles of the west. Or non-western art may SHARE some characteristic of western artistic styles, but also reflect unique characteristics, ideas, or values of the culture that produced it.
You should first do some research on the western work of art you are analyzing, and then research the non-western work you are analyzing (the directions will tell you what types of research to use). Use the class materials as sources, but you will also utilize outside resources to learn about the culture that produced the art or the artwork itself, so that you can better analyze it. You should cite the sources you use.
ASSIGNMENT: Go to this website and read your instructions:
COIL [Collaborative Online International Learning] Project:
HUMA 1315 Fine Arts Appreciation & CUHK-Shenzhen English Club
HUMA 1315 – Final Research Project DIRECTIONS FOR AMERICAN STUDENTS
Students will compare and contrast a work of Western Art with a work of Chinese art from the same time period with an aim of understanding the cultural and historical values represented in the works of art.
Students will focus on a western work of art [specifically American] from the Postmodern Era (1940- Present) and a Chinese work of art from the same general time period. Remember, this will NOT be called the Postmodern era in China– ‘Postmodern’ is a western term and relates specifically to artworks produced in the West.
STEP ONE: RESEARCH the Western work of art (on the left):
Saar, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972 [Postmodern] Wang Guangyi, Coca-Cola, 1993 [China]
STEP 2: Write an analysis of the Western artwork (300-400 words), including a discussion of the values of the artistic era and of American/Western culture during that time period, and how these are represented in the work of art you have chosen. You may post this as a text, or you may post a video of yourself explaining it.
STEP 3: POST your analysis to Padlet [https://padlet.com/carynvoskuil/90rh130ywtb5]. Your teammates in China will prepare explanations of the Chinese artwork shown from the same era and will post these to Padlet.
Follow the outline given to you by Dr. V, and cite your sources using MLA format.
STEP 4: Download ‘WeChat’ onto your phone, so that you can contact and discuss the paired artworks with your teammates. Speak with each of your teammates using WeChat (this is a free service – and includes Video chatting). This is your chance to ask and answer any questions about the artwork, how it reflect Chinese values, etc. (remember, your partners are also working on a project at their school). Take notes to use for your research paper!
STEP 5: After you have gained an understanding of the Chinese artwork from your interactions with your Chinese partners, write a paper of 1000-1200 works comparing and contrasting the two artworks. You should include ananalysis of EACH artwork in your pair – in particular discussing how the works of art reflect the values and cultural views of the country and time period in which they were produced.
Follow the outline given to you by Dr. V, and cite your sources using MLA format.
CHEDULE FOR RESEARCH PROJECT/PAPER – READ CAREFULLY!
MODULE 9: Monday NOV 18 – Sunday DEC 1 [2 WEEKS]
Nov. 18-21 –
1. Read the instructions for the research paper assignment on Padlet (Due Nov. 18)
2. Download the WhatsApp app to your phone, and send your Whatsapp i.d. to Dr. V via
the eCampus email system (Due Nov. 19)
3. Post your self introduction to Padlet (either written with a photo, or post a video
introduction) and respond to the introductions of at least 3 Chinese students (Due Nov.
4. Post a 300-400 word analysis of the assigned Western artwork to
Padlet. .(Due Nov. 21)
Include at least 3 Postmodern characteristics, and discuss American postmodern
values represented in the artwork.
Your Chinese project-mates will be posting analyses of the Chinese artwork.(Due Nov. 21)
[** NOTE: YOU WILL LOSE POINTS ON YOUR FINAL RESEARCH PAPER FOR ANY OF THESE
STEPS THAT YOU SKIP – 20 POINTS FOR EACH ELEMENT NOT COMPLETED, AND 50
POINTS FOR EACH INTERVIEW NOT COMPLETED]. THE QUALITY OF YOUR FINAL PAPER
WILL ALSO BE REDUCED BY SKIPPING ANY OF THESE STEPS – AND YOUR GRADE WILL
Nov. 22 – 26 –
1. Read the Padlet posts from the CUHK students about the Chinese artwork you have
been assigned. Take notes for your research paper.
2. Ask a question of at least 5 CUHK students on Padlet about their post – or about the
artwork that has not yet been answered. Answer the questions asked of you by students at
3. Using the video feature on WhatsApp, have a discussion with the 3 Chinese
members of your team (you will by now have been paired with them by your professor, and be
able to contact them on WhatsApp). Ask them questions about what the Chinese artwork
says about Chinese contemporary culture, and Chinese values. Answer their questions about
the American artwork. BE SURE TO TAKE NOTES SO YOU CAN USE THIS INFORMATION IN
YOUR RESEARCH PAPER. CITE YOUR CHINESE CLASSMATES BY USING THEIR LAST
NAME AND THE DATE YOU SPOKE TO THEM).
YOU CAN ALSO CITE THE PADLET POSTS IN THE SAME WAY… AND
INCLUDING PADLET AS THE ELECTRONIC SOURCE. (EX: Xu, Ling. “Artsy Compsy East &
Nov. 19, 2019)
Nov. 27 – Dec. 1
1. Ask any remaining questions you might have of your CUHK partners, and answer
any Padlet questions you have been asked.
2. Write your comparison contract paper. Here are the details of the assignment:
In your paper, compare the works and analyze the cultural characteristics
(values/beliefs/norms) of each society which are reflected in the artworks you researched. Be
sure to mention the elements & principles as well as you analyze the artworks.
Please type this paper in MLA FORMAT – and cite your sources properly. This paper should
be from 3 to 4 pages (1000 words minimum – images do not count toward page count) and
should include outside research sources (books, articles, academic or professional websites,
etc – the works themselves are NOT outside sources, nor are your class materials or notes –
HOWEVER CUHK student interviews and posts ARE outside sources). When researching the
Western artwork, use credible, scholarly sources, NOT Wikipedia, or other such sources.
To see how to cite the illustrations of art that you will include in your paper, go to this
Your Paper will be submitted through SafeAssign –
MOST of your paper should be your own discussion of the artworks, including the research
you did and what you learned from your CUHK partners (though you will cite this information
without quotes!! Use parenthetical notes for each thing you state that you learned from them,
even if you put it in your own words). You will of course discuss the differences and
similarities between the artworks of the different cultures you have studied, AND what these
differences and similarities in the artworks tell us about the ways in which the cultures are
similar or different.
Here is an OUTLINE for your paper:
Parag. 1 – Introduction – state clearly the titles, authors, and types of art you have researched
and their origin countries, as well as the time period you are focusing on.
Parag. 2 – Insert a picture of the WESTERN work of art you will analyze. Describe it. Analyze it
and state what it tells us about the beliefs and values of the culture that produced it.
Parag. 3 – Insert a picture of the NONWESTERN work of art you will analyze. Describe
it. Analyze it and state what it tells us about the beliefs and values of the culture that
Parag. 4 – COMPARE the two cultures using the conclusions you made above about their
beliefs and values from the artworks you analyzed. What do they have in common? How are
Parag. 5 – Conclusion (3-5 sentences)
At the end your LAST PAGE will be the works cited page – it should list your class notes (if
you used them in your paper), your images, and outside sources in MLA format.