GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CRITIQUE OF ROHRLICH-LEAVITT AND CASTLEDEN ARTICLES
(Ruby Rohrlich-Leavitt, "Women in Crete & Sumer," in Becoming Visible, first ed.,
1977; Rodney Castleden, "The Minoan Personality," in Minoans, 1990)
The class should divide itself into small groups for this discussion; please observe a minimum of three and a maximum of five students per group. (The aim is to ensure some diversity of perspectives while allowing each member to take an active part in the discussion.)
On Monday we will have a general class discussion based on your work today. We will not have formal presentations of the group findings as we did last time; but each group should submit an outline of its conclusions with a list of the students who participated. This outline will not receive a letter grade, but the fact of your participation will be recorded and will count toward your class participation grade. Remember that the ability to critique an article is one skill we are seeking to develop in the course; this is an opportunity to learn from one another as you begin to work on that skill.
Be sure to spend some time on each of the two articles, but you may concentrate on one of them if you wish. The following points should be covered in your critique of each article:
1) A brief re-statement, in your own words, of the author's main points as you understand them. Don't spend too much time on this task; focus on the main points of the article. (In the Castelden article, be sure to differentiate between his summary of the "traditional view"which he challengesand his own views.)
2) A description of what you take to be the author's point of view. What is her/his attitude toward the material? Can you detect a tone and/or a set of values (moral, social, political, and/or academic) in the article? Are there contradictions in the values or attitudes expressed? Be sure to point out some specific words, phrases, or sentences that reveal the author's attitude(s).
3) An evaluation of the author's argument, including its logic and use of evidence. Are there logical fallacies or inconsistencies in the argument? Do the author's points seem to be based on adequate evidence? Obviously, I don't expect you to be experts on the topic; you are not in a position to evaluate all the evidence presented. But you can identify inconsistencies or gaps in the argument, and point out statements for which no evidence is given; on the basis of class lectures and discussions, you can also raise questions about the author's interpretation of evidence. Are there possible alternative interpretations that need to be considered, or additional questions that need to be asked?
4) Finally, spend some time comparing the two articles you discuss. How do their interpretations of Minoan civilization differ? Do they use the same evidence in different ways? Are there points on which they agree? Do you prefer one interpretation over the other, and if so, why? If you have time, you might consider whether there is a relationship between the time each piece was written and the values it projects. (The Rohrlich article was published in 1977; the Castleden book in 1990.)