Brancacci text and image discussion under the assignment page

blog questions for Brancacci Text and Image are up under the assignment page.  Looking forward to reading your comments.


First paper assignment: Icons and Iconoclasm

Write a 3-page paper discussing the significance of iconoclasm and iconophilia in the context of the themes we have discussed this term.

This is a reflection essay, where you response to the prompt above by synthesizing, working through, and illuminating hte relation of several key concepts we have discussed. Among these are: Divine unity, repetition (and related yet distinct operation such as reuse, response, resistance– add your own), “mad” love, creation/creativity, story telling and narrative paintings.

Sara Bahwan- Self Plageriasim

Self plagiarism:

Self-plagiarism prohibits writers from reinforcing their statements in more than one essay. This restriction forces a writer to be creative and come up with a new thesis. However, it also stops their train of thought. It discourages writers from exploring the idea they displayed in one work since they might have the fear of repeating themselves. Strangely, self-plagiarism is not applicable to authors who are the walking creators in this world. So why are students restricted?

In my experience building up an idea and using it in other courses usually allows information to imprint in my mind. Therefore, as a student learns new materials and always seeks for new information, they would be limited in understanding subjects as they are more likely to have a vague understanding of the subject. For example, exploring poems from the Middle East and then switching to poems in the West will limit the student from having a deep understanding of what inspired poets in each culture, this is due to a vast number of types of poems present in each culture.

In contrast, self-plagiarism could also be beneficial to students as it forces them to reinvent themselves. They have to approach each topic in a new way in order to distinguish their work from previous essays. Therefore, they are able to learn different writing skills and techniques and in the process learn their individual writing style.

Ultimately, self-plagiarism is a puzzling topic. It only seems to exist in the student life that is sheltered from the world. As students leave schools, colleges, and universities they are no longer bound to the restriction of self-plagiarism and can form many essays with numerous editions. Therefore, I believe that the concept of self-plagiarism is present to allow students to explore and evolve which eventually allows them to find their selves.

Ariel Guterman- Fairytales and Plagerism

Which sounds more familiar; Snow White or Clever Elsie?  Both were first published in 1812 in the same book,  Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) by the Brothers Grimm.  So why do we recognize the former and not the latter?  If I had to guess the reason, I’d say Walt Disney.

In 1937, Walt Disney revolutionized animation with the first ever full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  Disney followed with many classic animated movies based on folk and fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm (for example, Sleeping Beauty is based on “Briar Rose”) as well as Hans Christian Anderson (The Little Mermaid is a famous example).  In adapting these stories, Disney gave them new life.  Yes, details were altered to suit family audiences (Cinderella’s step-sisters did not cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper nor did the Evil Queen plan to eat Snow White’s lungs, liver, and heart in the Disney versions), but this served to make the stories more accessible rather than water down the originals.  A question of plagiarism shouldn’t even enter this discussion.  So what if Disney didn’t come up with the basic story lines?  Disney went through the creative process in character design, screenplay development, and musical composition.  Many of the original scores and songs written for these movies are beautiful pieces in their own right.  I know I’m not the only one who grew up listening to When You Wish Upon a Star, Part of Your World, and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.  And it’s not just little kids vouching for Disney music.  Disney has won 12 Academy Awards for best original song in a motion picture.

Intellectual property can’t apply to fairytales because they are a product of oral tradition.  Who knows how many wonderful stories have been lost over the course of history?  How many never touched paper, let alone the movie screen?  Just as we can thank the Grimm Brothers for their chronicling, we can thank Disney for revitalizing fairytales and keeping them relevant.

above: Screencap from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

below: Illustration of the Brothers Grimm Snow White

Rumi Assignment “Many Wines”- Abhishek Goel

In her I am lost,

In her I am found.

She is what completes me,

She is what defines me.

Within her is my being,

Without her I cease to exist.

Her eyes gleam, they guide me like the North Star,

It is what defines the journey that is life.

I’m lost in her beauty,

I wish to submit in her eternity.

My heart only has one desire,

To surrender in her will.

Every waking moment I spend,

I think only of her grace.

As I think of her,

The scent of roses indulges me.

A shadow in her timeless perfection,

I am her lover, her admirer.

I am but a traveller,

She is my Destination.

The basis of Sufism as I understand it is to love God with such intensity that it defines you and completes you. However, God for different people might mean different things. In the case of Majnun, Layla became that definitive being. Nonetheless as Rumi acknowledges, one must choose their Respective God wisely. It is through the difficult and painful journey that one truly understands oneself. This concept of a self-discovering journey has been expressed in different contexts throughout the ages. For Plato, it was the ladder through which one eventually discovers Knowledge of the Ideal world. For the Hindus, it is through good Karma and completing one’s Dharma (or duties) can a being achieve Moksha (uniting with the force of life).

Charlotte Todd: Rumi Assignment

They tell me that there are bad people

Out there

They tell me I will get hurt

Out there

They tell me I can’t trust anyone

Out there


They tell me.

That is not enough.

Show me.

Let my senses

Command my body, my mind.

Let me

Feel the wind.

Hear the thunder.

Smell the waste.

Touch the stone.

Taste the sour berry.

I will stay weak

Until I experience the bad

To know what is good,

And follow it.

I need a foe to know a friend.



A sheltered flower bud

will never be a flower

it cannot blossom and flourish

without the sun

it will stay a bud,

never growing,

always dying.


I chose the poem “Wean Yourself”. What came to my mind was not just questioning existence and the truth, it was needing your senses. A fetus is not fully developed, and does not have full senses. That’s what people would be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, if they had experienced none of life, and lived in too sheltered an environment. Hearing about something is no substitute to living and experiencing it. For example, parents can tell their kids what the world and different people are like, or tell them about love and friendship, but for the child to grow they must experience it themselves.