- Project-Modernist art;
- A complex argument, but very enjoyable to read and respond to.
- I began the discipline of making some notes on words or phrases which were unfamiliar to me
- Words or phrases of special importance- these were listed as asked in the manual. It will be a good idea to think of these for each project- it will help me get to the nub of the argument, and allow me to summarise more efficiently. This applies to the ‘What are the authors main arguments?’ section too.
- Difficult sentences: This was interesting, as it involved sentences which I found 2hard to grasp, and those on which I did not altogether agree with the author.
- Who does he mention and what is his opinion of them? This question allowed me to think about the context of the argument, and whether the author used them to reinforce his argument.
- I really enjoy watching films, but I have never thought deeply about them. It was therefore really interesting to relate my previous experience of film to some of the visual concepts here- especially from the horror genre which is one of my favourites- and which I often have to defend from those who consider it ‘mindless rubbish’ !
2.Project-Fetishising the object of your eye
- The texts were a little more complex than the first text.
- Some of the concepts were very difficult to understand. Later my tutor reassured me that to understand everything is not the goal here. This is an introductory survey of historical texts to introduce ideas, concepts, and context, and to give me a flavour of what was going on during these times.
- Project-Base and Superstructure
- This was one of the more straightforward texts to understand, perhaps because it was available on a website, and the website was keen to recruit anyone who had happened upon it and was interested in Marxism? This raises an interesting question – what advantages and disadvantages are there in using highly complex language and sentence structure to discuss ideas?
- This was an enjoyable project which introduced me to both Marxism, and it’s use in the analysis of the media. Like many of the projects on this course, I enjoyed it because it was very relevant to the big issues of my life and the present age. The questions which I formed as I was reading the text allowed me to pre-empt those questions which I answered at the end of the Project.
- At this point I began to use the Harvard referencing system for citation, bibliography, and illustrations. I am becoming more familiar with this but I still have a few uncertainties about particular aspects:
Ø An incidence where there are three authors (someone quotes author 1 who has quoted author 2)
Ø I sometimes make mistakes in the information/word order, or the style of text in references.
Ø Sometimes I’m uncertain what the best author should be- for example in the case of web pages
Ø Sometimes I cannot find the date of a webpage from which I took information.
I hope that as I progress my skill will increase and these uncertainties will be ironed out.
- Use of sources
At this point I made a conscious effort to improve my use of sources and my style of argument (see BLOG posts i. ‘an exercise to improve my use of academic sources’ and ii. ‘response to tutor feedback on part one’). I also realised that I needed to be a little more concise in my note taking, and to reduce the time spent on my projects.
My style has definitely improved over the course of part one, and also my use of sources (for example I am now saving every online source as a document, and I do not take notes whilst in that source document- it is easy for summary to subtly become plagiarism if one does). I have also worked hard to try and incorporate original thoughts into my writing. This seems challenging, but as the guide suggests, this may be because we may have expectations for the word original which are too high (Harvard College Writing Program, 2016). Improving my style and use of sources has to be a work in progress, and in particular I would like to improve my integration of sources, and begin to explicitly evaluate each source I use.
A major concern is that I am still making each project excessively long. This has to be addressed now!
- Project-Idealism and interpellation
This text was quite a difficult one, but very interesting. In addition to discussion of Althusser’s text, I found it interesting to discuss the aspects of ideology within racism and colonialism using three excellent and powerful texts from the course reader.
Harvard College Writing Program. (2016). Harvard Guide to Using Sources [online] At : http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page350378. (Accessed on 13 November 2016).