Art in Contact Zones

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Darcy, Jean. “Visualizing Discovery: Christopher Columbus’s Maps.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Eds. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 168-82.

course (Queensborough Community College, CUNY) looks at CC’s critical thinking and how it shaped history
“become aware of how visual images can engender discovery and critical thinking” (Darcy 168)

1507 map shows how Europeans looked at America “unfurling scroll” (Darcy 169)

“visual texts supply knowledge that is unavailable in the literary texts” (Darcy 170, citing Mitchell 540ff)

approach for class is how the class as a whole read the documents
for the paper, the individual
“more authentic assessment… we are approaching the text from the terms in which it is constructed” (Darcy 170)
how it is constructed does not necessarily equal how it was meant to be read

students look at:
“concept of author”
“way authority is represented”
“need for authenticity” (Darcy 170)
How do students learn about the need for authenticity?

Citing Pease, 105-107, Darcy says:

Moving between conceptions of himself as auctor, a medieval writer who follows the authority of cultural precedents, and of himself as author, a writer who relies on his own experience to arrive at or to invent personal conclusions, Columbus creates in his journal an inquiry path of the third voyage by which he selects the texts that will influence his experience of place. (170)

Visual texts for class:
celestial map
13th C Psalter map
1490 “Columbus Chart” (170)

Assignment steps:
Solitary reading
Low-stakes writing “select three descriptive details… speculate”
Small groups –ea student lists details of map, then goes through list of questions, pool info (171)
Jigsaw groups groups where each member had a different map –group pools info and writes report on ways CC valued info in each map
Class discussion –project manager (172)

Discusses maps used (172-76).

Student outcomes (176-79)
Students speculate “about process and relation” (177)
“[S]tudents begin to recognize different kinds of knowledge and how each influences the others to create a way of communicating new information within cultural context” (Darcy 177).
Students recognized CC structured his descriptions to align with Queen Isabella’s worldview (178).
CC focused on “civilization” (178).
Students also look at Marco Polo’s writing. C/C CC’s “sailing through” and MP’s dwelling in descriptions (178).
Students recognize (though she doesn’t say how) that they are making selections between details (178).

I wrote that she was definitely influenced by Gilligan et al and border theory (though that’s not what she quotes, mostly).

Provides Appendix 1, Assignment above (179)
Appendix 2, how art influences writer (180)
use Hemingway and the National Geographic triptych as another example

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