Final Reflection!

This semester I made a lot of progress in writing and revising. I’ve never written something as in depth and expansive as my paper and the experience of writing it was a true learning process. I feel I am a much better writer now, partly due to the fact that I know what to look for and correct in my writing to make it better. I wish I had more access to materials this semester for my paper so I could’ve possibly found more examples to look at and analyze.
The best part of the semester was actually the day in the IC where we all met and revised our drafts. That day helped me a lot and I felt like it really allowed me to focus in on my paper in order to get it the finished product it is. I also no longer felt overwhelmed as I had a lot of the previous steps of the way. But, after that day, I could manage my workload and tasks better. I also learned a lot of good revising tips that I think will help me going forward as well. It was all good from that point on so that was the best part.
I am really thankful for this experience and everything I learned. Thanks for a great year!

300 Word Abstract of My Thesis

The doctrinal basis and history of each individual order can provide a basis for understanding why missions under those Orders used art in the ways they did and how much accommodation they made for pre-contact indigenous frames of reference. Because the Dominicans were founded on strict discipline and precise knowledge of the Bible, along with their recent reformations, they were the most strict and have the least examples of cultural partnership. The Franciscans, while having a more open basis founded in understanding and preaching to the poor, the same reforms that created a stricter Dominican Order heavily influenced the Franciscans as well. So, because the basis for the Franciscan Order was more open and less strict, that explains why there was some cultural negotiation between the Franciscans and the Chumash. But, their history of corruption and reformation, explains why it did not occur to the extent that it did with the Jesuits. Finally, because the Jesuits had the least amount of history as they were a brand new order at the start of the missions to the New World, they were able to function without as much strictness, discipline, and orthodoxy. Furthermore, the Jesuit doctrinal basis allowed room for accommodation and emphasized the ministry, while still rejecting coercion as a means. So, because the Jesuits had doctrinal room for accommodation among the indigenous and not enough time to fall into corruption that would have led to stricter policies, there was more evidence of cultural partnership in art on the Jesuit missions.

This is important because it provides a new lens for evaluating art created on the missions and gives insight into why art at certain missions may have shown more or less cultural partnership.

Revising the First Draft

Receiving feedback on my first draft has been essential for starting revisions. Without having these places to look into or start back into my draft, it would be impossible. It’s nice to have an outside view of my draft that can help me pinpoint where I need to make my points clearer or which parts were confusing. I understand what I’m trying to say so its difficult for me to see what parts do need to be made clearer.

My plan for revising is to copy my old paper into a new document and make edits on that new document. Then, I’ll highlight each part of the paper that corresponds to a note from the feedback and type that note into google docs so that way I have both notes from Marie and Dr. Karamanski all in one place. Next, I will start actually revising from the beginning and work my way through the comments. The ones I can fix easily I will fix right away and make my way through the paper fixing the small stuff first. Lastly, I’ll go back through and address the comments I skipped the first time around.

The beginning of my paper will require the most work as that’s where most of the comments are. I need to strengthen my connections and explanation of the background for my paper and also reconsider order and flow of the beginning.

The biggest challenge for me will be staying focused on each word as I reread and reread this paper. Even when I was looking over my first draft, I definitely did not pay as much attention as I thought I did when reading it over and I think, because of how many hours I’ve been staring at this paper, part of my brain just assumes everything is fine and I skim and jump around more than I should. So, for revising seriously this time, I need to make sure I am focused on every word and making sure my phrasing is clear at all times.

I think the strongest part of my paper is really the content on specifically Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits. The beginning of my paper on the background needs a lot of work on phrasing and connecting to my topic, but the bulk of my paper seems to be in pretty good shape. So, I think my content and ideas are there, I just need to work on rephrasing and making myself clearer throughout, especially in the beginning.

First Draft Reflection

Creating the first draft of my paper was harder than I thought it would be. I had a fairly extensive outline and I thought I knew exactly when and how I would be discussing everything. But, when I was writing, I often struggled with order and kept almost writing cyclically as ideas came to me and I would go back and add it in. I’ve never written that way before so that was a very interesting experience for me to be writing analysis for something I hadn’t written yet and just jotting it down and then going back to what I was writing. Or, if I had moved onto something else but then that made me understand something previous better, I would have to go back and add more in. I wasn’t really aware of just how much I knew about this topic and how much I really had to say. So writing like that made sense to me as layers kept unfolding almost faster than I could get them out.

The most frustrating part was trying to find page numbers. I don’t know why I didn’t include that in my outline as I had already done all the work of locating the topics in my books but I didn’t write down the page numbers. That turned out to be a huge and annoying mistake because I had to spend so much time pouring through my books again to find quotes or where exactly I had found that information and it was just frustrating.

The most satisfying part is that it is finally out there and the bulk is done now. I still have work to do though. I need to add in more examples for the Jesuits and find the pictures for the examples from Yanhuitlan. Also, I  need to work on and refine my analysis for the next draft. But, it is so satisfying to know that a lot of it is finally done and my ideas are at least out there.

The Process of Outlining

The first thing I did was divide my paper into four main topics. I then added subtopics which made up the main ideas of that individual topic. Next, I added which sources I wanted to use for each subtopic and what I would need or learned from those. I also thought about what points I wanted to make in those subtopics and looked through my sources to locate those. I also made sure to use correct citation for each source so I wouldn’t have to later. At the end, I decided I was finished when I had gone through all my sources and felt I had discussed my subtopics to their fullest extent.

The strongest part of my paper is the section on the Dominicans as I had the most information on them from the sources I had. Although, I feel that my section on the franciscans and Jesuits are almost fully formed as well. My weakest section is my background because I have more historical aspects to add and consider that affected the orders.

Something that surprised me as I wrote my outline was how it helped me further form ideas I thought I had already pieced together. Another way writing my outline surprised me was how sources I knew I would use for one topic, also could be used in other sections of my paper.

Reading Primary Sources

One of the primary sources I have found for my paper is a document detailing the decrepit state of several Dominican missions at the beginning of the 19th century. It was written by Father Roman Lopez, the President for the Dominican missions in Baja California. It was written in December of 1808 and intended for the vicar general for the Order of Preachers–Father Alexander Fernandez. The main purpose of the letter is an argument for the Presidente of the Dominicans to be allowed a greater allowance so he can fix the current state of the missions.

To go about reading this source, I read it over once, just to take it in and get a general idea of the purpose of the document. Then, I went back over it, highlighting the important parts and taking in more details. I also tried to understand and pay extra attention to the parts I found confusing the first time around. For example, for this document, at first, it seemed like someone else was writing on behalf of the president,  because of the way it is introduced. However, upon reading it and the introduction to the document more closely, I realized, the author was separating himself and his office itself at the beginning of the document, arguing for why the office needed more money, not necessarily himself.

The next step to reading a source is evaluating the possible bias behind it. For this, I looked at the author of the document and thought about his purpose and goal for writing the letter. Because Lopez is asking for money for himself and the missions he is in charge of, it is possible and even likely that he would exaggerate how bad the state of the missions are, in order to achieve his goal of receiving a larger allowance for his office.

The last step is to think about how I might be able to use this source in my paper. So, I needed to think about the limitations as well as the strengths that come from this document. As it is coming for someone asking for money for their own benefit, this limits how much weight can be placed on his words. While I wouldn’t discount them completely, it is important to recognize that I shouldn’t take this lone document as exact proof that every Dominican mission was falling apart. However, he does make it a point to mention other missions that are better off, giving him credibility that he isn’t just looking for a pay raise but is generally trying to help these worse off missions that are in desperate need of repair. Also, while this document doesn’t generally focus on art, it does make a small mention of a mission owning paintings. However, I intend to use it as a helping guide in my comparison between the orders (Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit). I’m wondering if there is any monetary or economic connection that can be seen with access to resources in each order and how that could’ve affected their administration of and reliance on art.