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Getting through very challenging readings

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I am in a class where some of the readings are way to difficult for me to really understand.  The readings are very theoretically grounded and this is in a particular area that although I have a deep interest in, I have an extremely limited knowledge of the theoretical practices of it.  Therefore, when I read these papers on these abstract ideas referring to historical concepts relative to this area, I don't get much out of it.


I am kind of disappointed because I had really hoped to get a better understanding out of this class but I find myself just reading words on paper.  


Can anyone relate?  Any suggestions?



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Are there other "recommended" or "secondary" readings/textbooks listed for this course? If so I would try finding a different text that uses a different approach to explaining the same material. All textbooks have a slightly different approach - some will be less theory-based. Hunt around for a text that works for you, then just skim the theoretical papers.


The other approach would be to borrow/beg course notes from an undergraduate/Honours-level course that introduced these theoretical practices.  Then it might be a good idea to read your graduate papers side by side with the undergrad notes as a cheatsheet.

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Well the thing is, these aren't really "undergraduate" concepts.  These are deeply theoretical ideas that are targeted for persons in this specific field, not for people who are just aiming to learn something about it and get that deeper level of understanding down.  If addition is an undergraduate concept, and decimals are grad level, we are learning the Pythagorean theorem. 

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