Category Archives: Critical thinking course

Critical thinking: American Art and the American Dream

Critical thinking. American Art and the American Dream.

Welcome to the course.

Critical thinking is widely regarded as an essential academic, everyday and professional skill. As humanities/social science academics, critical thinking is essential to credible and engaging academic work, whether in the form of discussion, article, book or essay writing.

Course aims

This course aims to further our critical thinking skills through the use of critical thinking dispositions and routines. Students will learn and develop and demonstrate competency is six key thinking disposition skills.

dispositions

Course outline

We’re going to work on our critical thinking knowledge and skills by practicing them this semester.

Part One: Artful thinking routines and critical thinking dispositions

The first half of the semester will focus on art and you will be required to write a short essay at the end of this section. In this half of the semester we will learn and practice some artful thinking dispositions and routines, using some notable American artworks (as well as some Chinese artworks for comparison).

Part Two: Critically reflecting on the American Dream.

In the second half of the semester we will further develop our critical thinking skills, by critically reflecting on aspects of the American Dream.  and you will be required to write another short essay at the end of this section. ssessment

Participation 10%

Assignment one. Critical analysis of an American artwork. 40%

Assignment two. Critical analysis of an aspect of the American dream 50%

Key texts:

Colombo, Cullen and Lisle, (2019) Rereading America, Cultural Contexts for Critical Writing and Thinking, 11th Edition.

Ritchart, Ron, et al., Making Thinking Visible, How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, Wiley

Paul, Richard & Linda Elder?Critical Thinking Competency Standards. 2016

Course outline schedule

 

Class

Week Content Reading

Homework

1 9.2-9.9.6 Critical and artful thinking.

Thinking dispositions: Observation, description.

Read class lesson notes
2 9.9~9.13 Critically thinking about American art.

Thinking Goals: Understanding

Readings: Ritchhart, et al., Making Thinking Visible, 3-22.

Tishman,, Added Value, 72-75

Tishman,, Slow Looking, 4-7.

Select initial artworks

3 9.16~9.20 Critically thinking about American art and the American Dream. Reasoning, Art, Myths pt1.

Thinking disposition: Reasoning

Readings:

Williams, ‘Myth, a keyword’, Baldick, ‘Myth, a definition’

4 9.23-9.27 Critically thinking about American art and the American Dream. Reasoning, Art, Myths pt2

Thinking dispositions: Questioning and Investigating, Comparisons, Connections

Readings: Critical dimensions & standards; “Thinking Critically, Challenging Cultural Myths”, Colombo et al., 32-43.
5 10.1~10.6 Holiday Fangsong
6 10.7~10.12

(Sat)

Critically thinking about art and myths

Thinking dispositions and standards overview; reasoning checklist

Practicing critical analysis: your artworks; Art and the mythology of Mao

Reading.  Cal Jillson, The American Dream in History, Politics and Fiction, 1-8.
7 10.14~

10.18

American Dream mythology: the myth of individual opportunity

Inequality and the American Dream

Check-listing Putnam for logic.

Researching and selecting artworks for your critical essay

 

Readings.

Paul & Elder, 4-6, 11; Colombo et al., 652-662; Putnam, R.D.. ‘The American Dream: Myths & Realities

 

8 10.21~

10.25

Multiple aspects of the mythology of the American Dream.

Critical reading and thinking approaches

Viewing. The Great Gatsby (film)

Begin planning essay, researching artworks and research materials

9 10.28~

11.1

Reading the American Dream: the myth of individual Opportunity 1 Readings from Rereading America
10 11.4~11.8 Reading the American Dream: the myth of individual Opportunity 2 Readings from Rereading America
11 11.11~

11.15

Reading the American Dream: the myth of racial equality 1 Readings from Rereading America
12 11.16~

11.22

 Reading the American Dream: the myth of racial equality 2 Readings from Rereading America
13 11.25~

11.29

Reading the American Dream: the myth of educational empowerment 1 Readings from Rereading America
14 12.2~12.6  Reading the American Dream: the myth of educational empowerment 2 Readings from Rereading America
15 12.9~12.13 Working week essay planning. Critically analyze one or more artworks in relation to the American Dream Work on essay; Submit draft essay plans for feedback
16 12.16~12.20 Thinking Dispositions and Standards (review) Work on essay
17 12.23~12.27 Essay due 12/27
18 12.30~1.4(1.1)
19 1.6~2.15