Final research paper

The Assignment: 

The final paper is designed for you to gain skills of art historical research, learn how to formulate a scholarly argument, and give you the opportunity to explore an art movement or style beyond what we have looked at this semester. For this paper, you will be selecting a period that wasn’t covered in our class and exploring visual art from its time.

Your topic can be from any region or time period, but must have a narrow enough focus to be able to discuss it in depth (for example, Europe in the 20th century would be too broad of a scope– choose a specific country or culture, and a range of dates). You must also reference a minimum of five artworks to support your argument about the visual style of this period.


The final paper is a staggered assignment that we will be working on the rest of the semester; this means that we will be working on the paper in steps leading up to the final submission. The dates for the staggered assignments are below:

  • Thursday Nov 4: No class; open time to work on topic selection worksheet 
  • Sunday Nov 7: Submit topic selection worksheet 
  • Thursday Nov 18: Research Workshop I (how to find sources, how to conduct research)
  • Tuesday Nov 23: Research Workshop II (how to develop an argument, how to write a thesis statement, how to cite your sources)
  • Thursday Dec 2: Abstract submissions
  • Thursday Dec 9: Draft of papers due (submit to Amira Hanafi
  • Sunday Dec 19: Final paper submissions (submit to Khushmi Mehta


  • Times New Roman font, 12 point size, double spaced, 1 in. margins, 5-6 pages
  • Remember to put identifying information on your paper! (name, title, course)
  • Include images of all the artworks you reference in the paper either all together at the end or in between when you reference it.
  • Image captions should be as such: Fig. 1. Artist name, Title, date, medium 
  • Sources must be cited in an MLA format with a complete bibliography at the end of the paper. Refer to the “how to cite” webpage for more details.
  • Email your paper to as word doc or PDF file titled “Name_Close reading”.

Grading Rubric:

  • Clarity of theme and ideas: Your central theme and key ideas should be clearly evident in your project
  • Argument: You should make a compelling and clear argument connecting your artworks to the central theme.
  • Art Historical evidence: You should demonstrate a good understanding of the historical context of the time periods you are discussing, and your argument should be supported by secondary sources (using quotes, biographical facts etc.) Your bibliography and works cited section should show sufficient background research.
  • Writing style: Your writing should be clear, direct and well edited. Use a formal, academic tone and consistent sentence structure.