For this project you will locate an art controversy or debate that draws on knowledges
and discourses that position you as an outsider. In other words, find something that
people are arguing about in the arts that is outside your prior knowledge and
comfort zone. Your job will be to locate sources that help you better understand the
issues involved in the controversy, what’s at stake, and for whom.
You’ll use this information to build a guide for your readers to better understand the
controversy and the arguments involved. You will write a research paper that helps
your reader understand the complexities of the controversy, what’s at stake, and for
whom. You will also use the information you gather during your research to make and
defend your own claim about the issue.
• Locate a text (this can include video or audio) that discusses an arts
controversy or debate that interests you.
• Ask yourself what challenges your engagement with the text. For example, are
there unfamiliar terms or concepts? Are there people or events referenced that
are unfamiliar? Is the genre of the text itself unfamiliar?
• Articulate questions you have about the debate or controversy, and what
questions your readers will likely have.
• Search for other texts that help further develop your understanding of the
controversy and help you engage with the text you found (define terms,
identify people, explain more about the discourse community)
• Identify the “stakeholders” involved and what is at stake
• Define important terms, people, values or concepts involved
• Map the places where the discussion is happening (scholarly journals, blogs,
popular magazines, newspapers)
Your final research paper should:
• Have an interesting title
• Outline the controversy you are writing about, providing any contextual
information your readers might need to understand the issue, the artistic field,
or the people involved.
• Make a central claim about the controversy which is based in your own
research and which is clearly stated in your paper’s thesis
• Provide supporting evidence for your claim from both secondary and primary
• Draw from at least four secondary sources that help to develop your claims (at
least two of these need to be from credible, “scholarly” sources).
• Use MLA formatting with properly cited sources and a works cited page