Key Terms Assignment

Key Terms Journal Assignment [Portfolio Requirement]

Throughout the semester you will keep track of new ideas, concepts, and theories proposed and introduced by the scholars and artists whose work you will encounter. You will keep track of these key terms in journal form. In your journal, you will seek to gain clarification regarding the ways specific key terms are used by scholars. Pay particular attention to the ways in which scholars define specific terms, and the ways they then use these terms as tools for analysis. Scholars may use the same term in different ways or some scholars may provide contradictory methods for applying certain key terms in their work.

Your journal will be a place for you to keep track of your thoughts, as well as your deepening understanding of these concepts.

The key terms for each semester are due with your Portfolio on December 7th.

Guidelines for your journal

  1. You will choose terms for your journal that you encounter in class readings or performances and which are relevant for the study and analysis of the objects, artifacts, and phenomena discussed within this course.
  2. In your journal you are keeping track of the definitions proposed by scholars and artists, and your growing understanding of those terms. You are not defining the terms yourself, rather you seek to understand the ways in which they are defined and used in our readings. Use key quotes from the readings to keep track of the ways these terms are defined and applied by scholars and artists.
  3. An effective strategy for journal entries is to begin with a quotation from a specific writer in which they define or use the key term. As the semester progresses, you may return to your journal when and if you see another writer use the same term. Your quotations ought to be followed by your own thoughts and ideas as you endeavor to consider ways in which the term could be used for analysis. You may compare and contrast ways scholars have used the term and chart your own understanding of it.
  4. There is one key term which all journals must include: Humanities/humanities. You must select a minimum of 8 key terms per semester. Note: the H/humanities definition is specifically mentioned in the portfolio requirements. It is a little longer/different, so make sure it meets those specifications.


Sample Key Term Journal Entry:


In her article, TITLE, Cindy Rosenthal defines “communitas” as “the shared sense of unity and connection with the Other.” This is a feeling that she says was created during performances of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles. Smith’s use of verbatim text and her acting techniques – which involved capturing the intonations and movements of her subject – allows her to “embody the other” in ways Rosenthal argues contribute to this feeling of communitas.

Jill Dolan digs even deeper into the concept of communitas in her work (TITLE here) and offers some background on the term’s use. She says: “Victor Turner describes the moments in a theater event or a ritual in which audiences or participants feel themselves become part of the whole in an organic, nearly spiritual way; spectators’ individuality becomes attuned to those around them, and a cohesive if feeling of belonging to the group bathes the audience (11).” She then offers examples of performances during which audiences felt a sense of “belonging to the group.” Importantly, Dolan links the phenomenon of communitas to her own theory of “the utopian performative.”  She says: “Turner’s theory usefully describes the social potential of utopian performatives (14).”