Honors Thesis Information
HONORS THESIS PROPOSAL IN ART HISTORY
PROCEDURES FOR SUBMITTING PROPOSAL
Due Date: Friday of first week of spring term
Eligibility: 3.500 cumulative grade-point average and enrollment in ARTH 395
Evaluation: The art history faculty will evaluate all honors thesis proposals to determine the student's preparedness and the project's validity. Please see our Guidelines and Requirements (G&R) document for information on how to write a strong proposal.
• Pass: If the student's proposal has met the standards of the department (articulated in G&R document), s/he will be accepted for an honors-level thesis. After reading the proposal, the faculty will provide feedback and bibliography ideas. Students will also be appointed an advisor with whom the student will work over the course of the year.
• Provisional Pass: Should the art history faculty have significant questions about a proposal and a student's ability to carry out a year-long research project, the department will suggest that the student take the summer to reassess and reexamine the critical underpinnings of his/her project. Faculty feedback will pointedly ask that you redirect and/or refine several issues in your thesis, as well as develop a strong bibliography. With the advantage of more time and substantive feedback from professors, a student will have the opportunity to resubmit the proposal for review September 1st. If questions or concerns arise over the summer, students should always feel free to communicate with faculty. Remember, a student can always choose to work on a regular thesis (ARTH 473) should one prefer.
• Re-direction: If a resubmitted proposal does not demonstrate significant headway (based on the feedback the faculty gave in May), a student may be asked instead to work on a one-term thesis (ARTH 473) or independent study (ARTH 403).
Registering: By the beginning of spring term junior year, students will have already registered for the 3-credit section of ARTH 493 for the preceding fall. No action need be taken to alter this unless so notified by the faculty. In the event that the student has been re-directed to work on a 473 project (one-term thesis), s/he may either drop the 3-credit ARTH 493 listing from the fall term course list (and add in a new course) or convert the ARTH 493 to ARTH 403 in order to pursue independent work under the direction of a faculty member.
HONORS THESIS IN ART HISTORY
PROPOSAL GUIDELINES AND THESIS REQUIREMENTS
PROPOSAL: 1) minimum of 500 words; 2) photocopies of relevant art objects/sites; 3) working bibliography and research index. Provide at least seven resources you have already consulted, such as published books, peer-reviewed articles and essays, as well as archives, and/or objects, architectural sites, or the like. Please feel free to contact an art history professor to discuss any questions you have.
PROPOSAL GUIDELINES: A proposal for an honors thesis should demonstrate a student's preparedness to take on a demanding year-long research project. To do this effectively, your proposal should include four parts:
1. define your subject matter and articulate research question/s
2. highlight the significance of your project.
3. identify (if possible) your methodology
4. discuss your qualifications for carrying out this project
I. Subject matter and questions: The first stage of the proposal is to explain your research topic and primary question/s related to an artist (or artists), architectural site (e.g. temple, church etc), painting program, painting genre, etc. We do not expect that you will have a thesis statement at this point. We do expect that you will have a specific set of art objects (please include photographs of the art or architectural sites that will form the focus of your inquiry) and a clear line of questioning. Remember to provide the socio-historical and cultural contexts relevant to the material you are examining.
II. Significance: Discussing the "significance" of your project will demand a certain amount of forethought. We weigh this part of your proposal heavily as it quickly reveals the breadth and scope of your understanding of your chosen topic. At the honors level, art history faculty will want to see that you come to your project well informed and fully engaged. The following are questions that may help you identify and highlight the significance of your project. We would expect that you could answer these questions in a preliminary way in your proposal.
• How might your thesis contribute to a larger discourse on the subject?
• Does your thesis challenge previous assumptions?
• Could your thesis serve to alter old understandings about a certain artist, site, idea, or scholar?
• Might your work build upon another scholar's work? If so, how and why?
• Will you include any original fieldwork, archival research, or interviews?
III. Methodology: While we do not expect a full description of your methodological approach, we hope that you might be able to discuss how you anticipate investigating this topic. It's fine if you do not know at this point (that's what the Senior Seminar: Approaches to Art History ARTH 395 course will help you with in the fall). It may be a good idea, though, to take an early look at one of our primary textbooks on methodology, such as Laurie Schneider Adams, The Methodologies of Art (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2010); Michael Hatt and Charlotte Klonk, Art History, A Critical Introduction to its Methods (New York: Manchester University Press, 2006); Anne D'Alleva, Methods and Theories of Art History (London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012).IV. Qualifications: Lastly, please provide your qualifications for carrying out this project. While this can be a place to list your credentials (please include: relevant course work, language study, internships, and programs abroad), it's also an opportunity for you to share with us how you first were exposed to or became passionate about the material or issues you will investigate in your thesis.
IV. Qualifications: Lastly, please provide your qualifications for carrying out this project. While this can be a place to list your credentials (please include: relevant course work, language study, internships, and programs abroad), it's also an opportunity for you to share with us how you first were exposed to or became passionate about the material or issues you will investigate in your thesis.
Fall Presentation: Honors thesis students will give a 10-minute presentation of their work in December to the Senior Seminar: Approaches to Art History (ARTH 395) and Art History faculty. During this presentation, each honors-thesis student will present his/her thesis statement/main argument, content of one chapter (or other content developed over the term), and a brief discussion of methodological approach.
Spring Presentation: This 15-minute presentation will outline your thesis statement, main findings of your work, significance/contribution of your thesis, and your methodological approach.
Spring Defense: Once the thesis is completed, each student will have the opportunity to sit with the Art History faculty, and other invited W&L faculty members, for approximately 30-45 minutes to discuss his/her work.
Page length: 50-60 pages of text. Title page, table of contents, bibliography, and images do not count toward that page limit
Format: Title page, table of contents (with page numbers), list of figures, acknowledgements, introduction, chapters, appendix (if necessary), bibliography
See Thesis Template document for more information on formatting the entire thesis