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Katherine came to class, participated actively in discussions and submitted all required written work. What I found most interesting about Katherine’s work was that she had quite compelling ideas about the meaning of art, and about the role that making art plays in everyday life. As interesting is the fact that Katherine’s ideas connected directly to issues about her own identity. She was raised in a family that valued science and mathematics and encouraged the c children to hone these ski8lls as much as possible. Katherine saw herself as slightly different from her family in that she has an interest in literature and art, and in how individuals can express themselves through writing, visual arts and performance. Her aesthetic theory focused on the idea that people should not think of art as its various formal expressions but rather as a more democratic activity of self-expression that individuals can use every day.

Katherine’s written work had the precision, and brevity, one often sees in the work of those with a science background. Her prose is to the point; she says what needs to be said, and says it well, but does not spend a great deal of time elaborating her points.

Samantha Berkman


Samantha completed her contract for this course in a distinguished and distinctive manner. She came to virtually every class session and during such sessions she was always busy taking notes, diagramming and drawing, all having to do with the subjects we were discussing. I remember that, as a student, I also drew and made diagrams during classes but almost never to help my understanding of the material. Samantha is both clever and artistically adept enough to use her class time to meld imaginative artwork and close attention to class discussions.

This ability came to fruition in her Kant essay exam. Kant is, as he himself describes it, an architectonic thinker whose thought lends itself to visual representation. Samantha exploited this to the fullest in producing a striking and useful set of diagrams and line drawings to illustrate some of the more recondite points in the Critique of Pure Reason. It worked brilliantly, demonstrating exactly how well Samantha got what Kant was doing.

Samantha did not illustrate Hegel as much because, as she understood, Hegel is far more processive than Kant and would be easier to represent cinematically, perhaps, than with static images. In any event Samantha turned the exam to her own interests and skills and submitted a series of observations on Hegel that were as fragmentary, but as interesting, as was her grasp of that thinker’s Protean ‘system.’


Overall, Samantha wedded her serious interest and understanding to her imaginative gifts to produce excellent work that showed a fine grasp of the challenging ideas we were discussing. Contract completed with distinction.




Overall, a contract well completed with some very imaginative insights.

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