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EN 219 (UCAP): United States Women Artists: Home

Music, Painting, Sculpture, Acting, Directing and more

Choosing a topic.

Choosing a Topic

  • There is more criticism written on authors and works from the past than contemporary authors. Look at it this way: they've been written about far longer!
  • Well-known authors will have a larger body of criticism to choose from than less well-known authors.
  • Larger works (novels, plays) attract more critical attention than short stories, essays, or poems.
  • Don't marry your topic! Have a handful of topics under consideration, do some initial quick searches, see what has a larger body of work, and pick the topic with the most to choose from.
  • If you have an obscure topic, reference librarians are available to help you!

The Assignment

For this project, you will select a woman artist from the United States from a realm outside of literature: music, painting, sculpture, acting, directing, etc. Your essay should include the following elements:

  1. A brief biography of the artist.
  2. An overview of her work. You may, if you wish, give the overview, but then focus your presentation on one specific work (for example, Judy Chicago is an important feminist artist who has created many works, but her best known is an installation piece titled “The Dinner Party”).
  3. Information about critical reception of her work.
  4. How this artist addresses the issues of gender, race, and/or class in her work
  5. How her work connects to/illuminates/speaks to her historical context (including literature, if relevant; you may, if it works, compare her to a specific author we studied in the class).
  6. Her influence or legacy.


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