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( May. 7th, 2009 02:08 pm)
I'm ill today, really ill, but I wanted to get some thoughts down about things I'm working on for school this quarter. The trouble is that I had a little tantrum a few days ago about how burned out I am over school. One thread runs through it, as I read it back, and it's that I still LOVE art history, I'm still incredibly passionate about it. It's the deadline schedule that's getting to me.

I'm curious to see if that will change if I ever go to grad school and am on the semester schedule rather than the quarter one. A few grad school acquaintances of mine confirm the difference; I ran into the TA from my Western Religions survey course from last year and he told me he did his undergrad on the semester system and felt that he'd certainly had more time to delve into the subject.

Anyway, what I'm working on:

Sephardic Art in Medieval Spain: Before the quarter started I'd written to the prof, mainly to ask about the books we'd be using but also to let her know I was very interested in the subject because of my comparative religion studies (I'm currently a minor; depending on what kind of financial aid I'm awarded this year, I may declare a second major in it because it wouldn't be one extra quarter's work). Interestingly there isn't as much stress on the Jewish experience in the so-called convivencia - the idea that three religions/cultures all coexisted in the same fertile, vast realm - in the course thus far, except in relation to the two dominant religions that had been vying for control of Spain from the 8th to 13th centuries. I want to take a look at the way Jewish visual culture adapted throughout this period - and how it stayed the same. I need to figure out what my argument will be; because I'm sick this week it's hard to get and stay focused.

Dosso Dossi & the early 16th century Ferraran court: I've been working on this strange painting all quarter; I wrote a visual analysis of it a few weeks ago that was very well-received. I haven't had much time to do research in this direction, so I'm not sure what my thesis is, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with how weird the thing looks. I won't be solving any mysteries, as that's already been done, but I think I can provide various connections between courtly life and this particular painter's position in it. Mainly, I'm curious as to whether it looked as strange to his contemporary audience as it does to me; I'm constantly interested in the way the temporal surroundings of a work affect its reception, and what that says about the way that culture and knowledge develop.

So, those are my two projects right now. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not feeling very well, pretty terrible in fact, so while I'm intrigued by the research I'm finding it hard to focus. I've already been granted one extension on the Sephardic paper (I'm to turn the rough draft in on Monday). It's just been a very tough quarter for some reason. More work than I expected.


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