For this fourth assignment, you will write a 5-6-page exploration of the issue of representation. Like the
previous assignment, to do so, you will need to answer one broad, but basic question: what factors
contribute to our inability to represent certain experiences? Or phrased another way, if we live in a
visually saturated world, how is there so much we don’t see as meaningful, so much lack of
Two broad themes emerged in this final unit: the inability to represent (visually) certain experiences—like
war—and the inability to have certain experiences recognized—like race. For this fourth paper, choose
your own primary example—an artist, an event, an issue—and use it as your focal point to explore
the problem of representation. We’ve seen already a number of examples this term: Elliott raised the
issue of understanding (or seeing) artworks outside the Western tradition; Marcuse raised the issue of
using non-representational methods to address the overlooked aspects of society; Gilman had to represent
life in a male-dominated society as a form of madness; Paris is Burning was just a slice of the life of the
participates, it barely touched on HIV/AIDS and Venus’s murder; Sontag raised the issue of war; Taylor
addressed more broadly the invisibility and underrepresented nature of black experiences. You can use
one of the examples from the term, but I encourage you to find your own example. Do you know of an
artist who explores a topic difficult to represent? How do our readings this term help us understand this
artist’s form of representation? As one example, Kara Walker (who will visit our campus this month)
would be a perfect artist to use to think through issues of representation. Whatever your example, if
possible, please provide images at the end of your paper.
Again, as with the previous assignment, for this paper you will need to begin thinking through related
ideas from all our previous units. Here, too, concepts like ideology and identity, aesthetics and
experience, visuality and context, will be key. Look back over the readings from this unit and your
Prompts: What is the issue you’re looking at that troubles representation? What are the dynamics
at work that cause this trouble? Is it a matter that exceeds our ability to represent (imagine), like
war? What role does aesthetics play in representing this matter? As Sontag suggests, can it only
be through art that we understand it? Is that art realist, expressive, abstract, some combination?
How do we understand what we see? In our contemporary stream of visual media, how do we see
this representation as mattering more than others? Or is it a matter that we ideologically refuse to
address, like inequality? How might ideology/biopower shape what we see as mattering, which
lives/identities/experiences? If not art, can we understand it by more documentary (factual?)
evidence? Is the matter literally underrepresented? Would simply more images like your example
solve the issue? How might the easily spreadable nature of images or video help draw our
attention this matter? How is representation an issue of aesthetics, an issue of ideology, an issue
of technology, an issue of access, an issue of reproducibility, an issue of identity, an issue of
Your essay should provide an introductory paragraph that frames the issue you are addressing and provide
a clear thesis. The body of the text should consist of well-developed paragraphs that explore your
example and furnish the support for that claim. Along the way you must cite specific and plentiful
passages from our readings that aid in this exploration.
Content: Does the essay fulfill the expectations of cultural analysis? Is the material developed and
supported with textual evidence?
Organization: Does the introduction establish the framework for the essay? Is the essay organized? Is the
essay logical and coherent? Are your ideas composed in coherent/cohesive paragraphs that relate to the
surrounding paragraphs and give details for your overall claim? Are there transitions that provide
connections between ideas?
Evidence: Is each piece of evidence clearly and carefully presented? Do readers have all the contextual
information they need to understand a quotation? Is each piece of evidence made relevant? Is each piece
of evidence explained?
Audience: Does this essay have a clear sense of audience? Is it written in a way appropriate for its
assumed reader(s)?
Presentation: Does it exhibit a minimum of grammatical or structural errors? Does it meet the basic
formatting guidelines for the project?




















































































Sample Solution