Reading Comp suggestions for art/law/humanities

saraheq1saraheq1 Alum Member

Hi friends! I'm looking for advice/suggestions from those of you with backgrounds in liberal arts, law, humanities, art, and social sciences.
My background is in science/tech, which makes the science passages in RC a relief, but has left me struggling with the passages focused on specific artists, art history, social science etc.

I see people posting about reading The Economist and other tech/science journals to increase their understanding and stamina with those subjects, but haven't seen a consensus on reading material for the humanities. I've been reading the New Yorker and more prose-heavy books, but am lost otherwise. What are your suggestions? Thanks!

Comments

  • Sarri BallSarri Ball Alum Member
    74 karma

    hi, english major here.

    I'd try reading the works of cultural theorists as opposed to novels/other works of fiction. While dense prose could certainly help in your ability to pick through similarly stuffy RC passages, I think that getting a loose handle on the writing style of prominent theorists could aid you in dealing with the passages you are concerned about.

    I compiled a brief list of critics I encountered in my undergrad that would help you acclimatize to the jargon used in the humanities/art history. Some of their work is absolutely maddening to parse through (Bhabha particularly), while others (Said's Orientalism) are enlightening.

    Theodor Adorno
    Sara Ahmed
    Arjun Appaduari
    Roland Barthes
    Homi Bhabha
    Judith Butler
    Noam Chomsky
    Jacques Derrida
    Frantz Fanon
    Michel Foucault
    Antonio Gramsci
    Donna Haraway
    bell hooks
    Edward Said
    Eve Sedgwick
    Gayatri Spivak
    Slavoj Zizek

    I'd also try accessing the databases/e-journals such as JSTOR that your university/library might have access to. This would provide you with a veritable goldmine of useful material to dive into. You could also check out a general art history textbook.

    As far as websites to check out, I'd look into artforum, Salon, and The Paris Review.

  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    I came across this old post from @akistotle the other day actually about art history. I don't have the link to that post but what was suggested was basically visiting: https://www.dummies.com/education/art-appreciation/art-history-timeline/

    and

  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    @"up the Chels" wonderful list! Some of my personal favorites are Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci,Bell hooks, Durkheim, Weber and Edward Said.

    I should've added this on my other post but my program was a lot of theory and its application to law. For more dense and law based scholarly articles try to look up:

    John Stuart Mill
    Kent Roach
    Duncan Kennedy
    HLA Hart
    Ronald Dworkin
    Robert Bork
    Sally Engle Merry

    For more general theories look up:
    Natural Law Theory
    Legal Positivism
    Legal Realism
    Critical Legal Studies
    Intersectionalism
    Feminist Legal Theory
    Critical Race Theory

    I can look through my syllabus(es) for more if people want. There's less dense stuff with actual application too but I mainly have Canadian content.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    edited July 2018 8392 karma

    In the true nature of being an arts nerd, I'm going to go with some unusual ideas haha. I also like the thought of shaking up LSAT study.

    I'd spend a day or afternoon at an art museum. Go slowly through it and read the descriptions next to the works. It's nice to have a visual when someone is talking about cubism and surrealism, ya know? It's best to be seen along with reading informative things about them.

    This one is more of a stretch, but if you want a nice little break from LSAT studying, check out the TV show The Good Place. It starts a little slow but is so, so good. It really does intersperse moral philosophy in with comedy and some surrealism. Also, Ted Danson and Kristen Bell! Can't go wrong. :) Also there's a podcast that some fans made as a companion to it called "Forkin Bullshirt". They're amatures, but do dig in to some of the philosophy used in the show.

    Podcasts are always great resources too. There are a couple Supreme Court podcasts which are really interesting: Radiolab Presents More Perfect, and First Mondays. Northwestern Law School has a podcast too that called Planet Lex. Song Exploder is a cool podcast with musicians breaking down their songs. NPR's Fresh Air is also great and covers a lot of ground. It covers politics, arts, history, current events, lots of odds and ends but always interesting. Really, just about any NPR show. This American Life is a classic too. If you listened to Serial, there's a followup podcast from lawyers involved with the actual case called Undisclosed. It's super interesting, and they are a little drier and get into more of the legal aspects too. Lawfare is also a great resource, both their blog and podcast.

    Like I said, a lot more non-traditional options haha. There seem to be a lot of biography type pieces in RC, so also just finding a biography to read on someone important in the arts could be cool. Or likewise, documentaries. HBO always has a lot of great options, or Netflix too. Making A Murderer is great if you haven't watched that yet. I think anything that gets you just paying attention to and appreciating those topics will help!

  • saraheq1saraheq1 Alum Member
    122 karma

    @"Leah M B" I love this list! NPR is my favorite, I've seen a few episodes of The Good Place (but never understood the depth of theory in it), docs on Netflix and HBO are a favorite pastime too! I really like your idea about going through an art museum, and I think I'll start listening to Undisclosed (I loved Serial!)

    Thanks so much! Nontraditional is what I'd like to focus on now, I've spent so many months going through the strict study schedules and drilling question types. Even though I've made a lot of progress, I think doing a more holistic type of studying could benefit me a lot, and maybe even teach me about things outside of the LSAT! (lol what a concept.)

  • saraheq1saraheq1 Alum Member
    122 karma

    @"up the Chels" Thank you, thank you, thank you! I think you have a great point- I was lost and just jumped into novels, but theory and related jargon seems to be what I struggle getting through the most. I appreciate so much your help and this fantastic list of people to start with!

    I think I'll ask for help with access to some of those materials from my friends still in school, but those websites look valuable too. And maybe an art history textbook if I can get my hands on one!

  • saraheq1saraheq1 Alum Member
    122 karma

    @keets993 perfect, videos!! that'll be helpful to get a good grip on all of this. thank you for such a great list, I will definitely need to devote a few days to get through the legal theory, but I'm very excited to have a direction to head in.

    Thanks so much!

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    @saraheq1 said:
    @"Leah M B" I love this list! NPR is my favorite, I've seen a few episodes of The Good Place (but never understood the depth of theory in it), docs on Netflix and HBO are a favorite pastime too! I really like your idea about going through an art museum, and I think I'll start listening to Undisclosed (I loved Serial!)

    Thanks so much! Nontraditional is what I'd like to focus on now, I've spent so many months going through the strict study schedules and drilling question types. Even though I've made a lot of progress, I think doing a more holistic type of studying could benefit me a lot, and maybe even teach me about things outside of the LSAT! (lol what a concept.)

    Awesome, so glad these might be helpful! :) For Undisclosed, I'd highly recommend going back and starting at episode 1. They've since moved on to other cases, but they started it discussing the case in Serial. You could start anywhere, but it will just be about different cases that way hah.

    And I totally agree. Spending a day at a museum sounds like a nice break, but you can still chalk it up to being helpful for the LSAT! It's a win-win. :) I think it's really nice to break up the routine when you can.

  • SamiSami Yearly Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    edited July 2018 10700 karma

    I subscribe to the Magazine, Art in America. The first time I started reading this magazine I was shocked because each article reads like an RC passage! Almost always they start off talking about an artist that's pushing the boundaries in his or her genre or creating a new one. The best part is that it comes with pictures. I can credit this magazine with making me appreciate and visualize what certain paintings and sculpture looks like and showing me what they mean by certain techniques. So even if I come across an RC passage about a new type of art I have something to contextualize the new information. It's one of the cheapest magazine I have ever bought -$6.99 for an issue and its relatively thick.

    For Humanities I recommend art news, they have great interviews that go in detail about the thought behind a certain artist's book, a movement or its evolution. I just got it a week ago, so I cannot 100% say all the articles are going to be like this. But so far so good. Overall, so far it has helped me see the nuances between different movements and why certain artist wrote something. It also talks about writing forms and techniques a writer applied to get their point across. It's a good read in general.

    For law magazine, I really like the Lapham's quartely edition about Law. They have selections from Roman law, Gypsy law, Indian law, excerpts from Abraham Lincoln, court cases etc to show how law can operate differently across time and around the world. Really interesting read. There newest edition is about water and is similar to their law one but the topic is different. I like my law edition so much that I am seriously considering buying this one too.

    I think even if I wasn't studying for LSAT, I would continue subscribing to these and others that I didn't mention. When I first started LSAT, I was someone who was least interested in art and therefore RC art or humanities passages were the bane of my existence. But with the help of these magazines I have really come to appreciate art. I felt a difference when I recently visited Dallas Art Museum recently. I have previously visited that museum probably 5 times and gone to countless of events with my friends. But because I wasn't well read about art, I really couldn't appreciate these differences deeply. But when I visited this time, I actually felt a profound difference in the depth of my appreciation especially for the type of techniques that I have read about - Monet's Water Lilly painting wasn't just an impressionist painting this time, it was a painting that represented our perception of life. I could see how much work must have been put in to show movement in these paintings, the short brush stokes and coloring that showed how life is constantly moving around us rather than something that's still.

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