Tutor profile: James M.
Subject: Study Skills
How can you read an entire academic book assigned for the next class?
Reading assigned books for a class is less about scrupulous page-by-page or word-by-word reading and more about reading smart. Begin by thinking about the class itself -- what is the importance of the book on the syllabus? What is your profession hoping to achieve? If you have no clue what the book is about, read the introduction. Still none? Read the conclusion, as well. At this point think about the information you've gained and how it fits in with other work from this semester. Look at the table of contents, and the index -- are there words, phrases, or concepts that your professor has mentioned, that seem to dwell around a specific chapter or two? Make sure to focus on that chapter.
Subject: Library and Information Science
A student is trying to research the history of Long Island University's history department. They are inputting "history department history Long Island University" into google, but are receiving no results about what they want. What is going on here, and how would you help them?
Like many search engines, google's algorithm is contingent on language. The words one puts in, are mathematically matched to a series of results ordered by apparent priority. The problem with this student's search is that 'history' is the same word with two meanings in this phrase. One meaning is the discipline of the subject (the department), and the other is the concept that the student is looking for (history of). 'history department' is too common of a phrase to allow for results about the 'history department history'. Furthermore, google will have a hard time seeing the duplicates of "history" differently. The best thing to do in this scenario would be to find an alternative word to "history" that might describe the history of the department. I would recommend skipping the "history of" idea altogether, and use decades or years: "History Department Long Island University 1940"
Subject: Art History
How does the concept of pastiche fit into postmodernist artwork?
Notable Marxist theorists like Guy Debord and Federic Jameson have discussed the radical change or breaking down of recognizable culture, with the waning of modernity in a post-industrial era. Whereas an artwork may have previously had a connection to place, technology, or craft (either by art movement or even by the physical objects that make the work -- pigment, canvas, etc.) after the latent commodification of culture, these direct connections to a culture's past breaks down. Pastiche as an implication or evocation of history, without the direct intervention of it, is a strong theme in much of postmodern art. The devolution of modernist ideology into anarchy (around the 1970s) led artists to capture this idea. Take, for example, Sherrie Levine's 1981 "After Walker Evans" photographic series. Levine questions reality in the simulacra she creates; photographing and printing Walker Evans' photographs, Levine poses questions about what is genuine and what is not. Also implied are questions about originality and an artist's connection to their work. Within Levine's work Evans' work itself is the pastiche. The original photographs, which evoke a modern history of art and history of photography do not actually connect to Levine, in any tangible way.
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