19 January 2007

Say it like an Art Historian

Shortly after Dandelion was born (a mere 20 months ago) I was up to my eyebrows in the highly theoretical texts that eventually lead to my thesis. As I read and reread, I found myself looking up the same words again and again. So, I started keeping track of them, and whenever I read I refered to and updated my list. Some of these words are now very familiar and I actually use them without feeling strange or somehow dishonest. Others are so new to me that I still forget what they mean without my handy list.

Here is a short version of my list; the words you definitely need to know to read about art:

Agonistics: The science of athletic combats, or contests in public games.
Bifurcation: Forked or divided into two parts or branches, as the Y-shaped styles of certain flowers.
Countervail: To act against with equal force; counteract. ~or~ to compensate for; offset.
Desideratum: Something considered necessary or highly desirable
Diachrony: Change occurring over time.
Elide: To omit, cut short, abridge, eliminate, strike out.
Fealty: the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord
Hegemony: The predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or others.
Hermeneutic: Interpretive; explanatory.
Heterogeneity: the quality of being diverse and not comparable in kind
Heuristic: Of or relating to a usually speculative formulation serving as a guide in the investigation or solution of a problem
Metonymy: A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power.
Obscurantism: A policy of withholding information from the public.
Paralogy: False reasoning; paralogism.
Performativity: optimization of the global relationship between input and output, the true goal of a system.
Polemical: Of or relating to a controversy, argument, or refutation.
Polysemic: having more than one meaning; having multiple meanings
Quixotic: Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.
Reifying: To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence.
Shoah: The mass murder of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II
Sublate: To negate, deny, or contradict.
Sublimation: An unconscious defense mechanism in which unacceptable instinctual drives and wishes are modified into more personally and socially acceptable channels.
Synaesthetic: a concomitant sensation
Telluric: of or pertaining to the earth: terrestrial.
Vituperative: Using, containing, or marked by harshly abusive censure.


Dad said...

You had to make up most of those words, I have never heard most of them used in my entire life. I guess I do not run in the artist circle of the universe.

Mary Ann said...

No really, I think I got all my definitions from Dictionary.com. In some cases, I had to pick of the third of fourth definition before it made contextual sense.

Anyway, Darn! I should have put a fake one in there with a prize for the first one to find it.

Dad said...

Wasn't it when we visited with your familly at Thanksgiving that we played a game where definitions were made up about different strange words and we had to pick out the fake one?

Mary Ann said...

We might have. That game is a family favorite. THe only game I remember from that visit was scrabble. Oh, and the game Bonnie brought with the timer that we passed around the circle.