Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Midterm Exam Study Guide

The midterm exam will cover chapters 1-7 of Arts of Southeast Asia and this is how it will be constructed:

20 vocabulary terms (match the term to its definition) worth 2 points each.
40 multiple choice questions worth 1 point each
1 essay question focusing on conversations and/or lectures we've had in class  worth 20 points.

The 20 vocabulary terms will be pulled directly from the "Terms Of The Day" lists I have given you at the beginning of each class period. Study these lists well enough to be able to match each term on the left side of the page with its particular definition on the right side of the page.

The 40 multiple choice questions come from both the class lectures and from the book. There will be a few questions on the test that we never addressed in class; they come directly from the book.  The questions in this section will range from those that test how well you understand the definitions of terms to questions about specific artworks that you have seen, to questions about the cultural, religious, and political environments that contributed to the work.

Let me give you three example questions (yes, these will be on the test just as you see them here):

Most artifacts dating from the                         in Southeast Asia are utilitarian.  Artistic sensibilities in the region weren't seen until the late Neolithic Era.
A. Bronze Age
B. Monolithic Era
C. Paleolithic Era
D. Modern Age 
The 12th century Hindu temple Angkor Wat displays the three important features developed during the reign of Indravarman in Khmer.  These features are:
A. The prang, the pagoda, and the ubosot.
B. The nave, the altar, and the spire.
C. The sanctuary tower, the “temple-mountain”, and the surrounding moat.
D. The stupa, the pagoda, and the sanctuary tower. 
The visually unique style of sculpture that was designed to give literal interpretation to some of the poetic descriptions of what a Buddha should be was developed by which culture?
A. Ayutthaya
B. Sukhothai
C. Central Java
D. Da Viet

The best advice I can give you on how to study for this portion of the exam is to comb through all your notes you've taken in class, remind yourself of all the main concepts you've learned, familiarize yourself with all the "Terms Of The Day," and to make sure you have read the material in the book. Pay special attention to how each artwork serves as an example to illustrate a concept. Don't just depend on what I have told you in class. Yes, 80% of these questions will come directly from lecture. But you don't want to be thrown off by the questions that are based on the book alone.

The essay topic focusing on lectures and conversations we had in class will require you to write a paragraph or two in response and will be chosen from the three topics listed below:

1. When Buddhism migrated into Southeast Asia, it had already split into two disciplines.  Theravada Buddhism ("The School of the Elders"), which emphasized the need for every individual to strive for enlightenment, was widespread on the mainland.  Mahayana Buddhism ("The Great Vehicle"), which focused more on the Bodhisattva, was widespread in the maritime region.  How are these differences in emphasis reflected in the Buddhist art of each region?

2. There were three major religions which were adopted by the people of Southeast Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.  Taking into consideration our limited exploration of the tenets of each of these religions, compare and contrast the tree of them and their iconography/aesthetics.  What are the similarities?  What are the differences?  Give some examples of artworks that illustrate these differences.

3.  What are the five traditional indigenous themes in Southeast Asian art that we discussed in class?  Give examples of how these themes have been displayed in artwork that you have seen in class or in the book.  Cite specific works.  Describe them if you can not remember the titles.

The best way to study for this essay is to carefully read each of these questions and think about what you might write in response.  Each of them is based on a combination of lectures and group discussion from class, but they are phrased to make you think critically about certain concepts. This is meant to test how well you have been paying attention to the concepts you've been learning in this class. If you understand the topics and concepts we've been going over in class well enough to apply them to questions that were never directly asked in class, then you have made good use of the first half of your semester. Consult your notes and the book.  Maybe practice what you would write for each question.

Study hard, and good luck to everyone. If you have taken good notes, if you have read the chapters, and if you have spent some time really trying to understand the "Terms Of The Day" then this exam shouldn't be difficult for you.

P.S. The exam will be the only thing we do next Wednesday. So, once you're finished with it, you are free to go.

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