Keeping a Journal: Integrative Arts (INART 010)

Every Monday this semester, at the beginning of class, you are expected to submit a journal entry. In it you should apply concepts raised by assigned course reading to your experience of mass-media arts. The journal entry is my way of testing the depth of your comprehension. Follow these steps to receive maximum credit for your work.

1. Read assigned material. Mark important passages; scribble in the margins; take notes.

2. Compose (type or write) one or several paragraphs in which you use what you have read to illuminate and to theorize a phenomenon of electronic culture. For example, when you come to class on Monday of Week 2, you should have read Robert Toll's comments on the stage as an entertainment medium. Your journal entry should (1) isolate and summarize the principles or concepts Toll discusses, (2) focus on one or two concepts that capture your imagination, and (3) use that concept as a means of opening up discussion on a mass-media art topic that interests you. (For example, Toll suggests that the railroad greatly affected the art of the 19th century. What principle might we draw from this observation? How is this principle applicable to 20th- and to 21st-century mass media? In other words can you generalize from what Toll says?) Note: Your job on journal entries is not to voice agreement or disagreement with the materials that you're reading. Your jobe is to reading materials as an analytical tool.

Your discussion should be 500 words, more or less, but I will read and much as you care to write. Remember, journal entries are, in effect, a take-home quiz designed to test how well you are keeping up with and applying course readings.
After you have surveyed the topics raised by a week's assigned readings, focus your comments on how topics can be used to illuminate some art(ist) or how they can be generalized as a theory or concept. (Be careful not to put cart before horse by showing how some mass-media art perfectly illustrates points made in your reading.)
Your journal entry should follow a three-beat structure (which you may modify to suit your own aims). First, identify topics covered in your reading. Second, show how one or two of those topics is useful for describing or analyzing a particular mass-media art or artist. Third, suggest how (or whether) your observations might be generalized across cultural studies. Through your particular analysis, have you uncovered some sort of rule?

3. Here are some fine points (or ways to stay out of trouble).

To receive maximum credit, you must submit 15 journal entries during the course of the semester. Late entries will receive a maximum score of five points. You cannot submit extra journal entries for extra credit, though you may "work smart" and submit a journal entry on a topic that you plan to develop at greater length in a paper.
You are not to write art reviews. You are not to write about the same topic or the same art(ist) more than once. If you write about a topic explored in class, make sure that your journal entry also exhibits a knowledge of topics covered in assigned readings. Please avoid diffuseness. Consider the journal assignment as a chance to practice your writing and communication skills.
Collaborating, discussing course issues with classmates is good. It contributes to the formation of an intellectual community. Make certain, however, that ideas (or examples) covered in your journal entries bear the stamp of your personality.

4.This assignment is worth 150 total points: 15 journal entries, worth 10 points each.