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530 Presentation Guidelines

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 5 years ago

Presentations

 

Each of you will present a short (about 15 minutes) version of your long paper.  The key criterion I’d like you to keep in mind is organization.  You will need to  articulate your argument clearly, provide 3-4 close readings of evidence critical to your argument; and introduce one secondary source you are using in your paper.

 

Handout: I’d like you to prepare a handout to guide you, and your audience, through your presentation.  The handout should contain: 1) A brief statement of your argument; 2) The quotations, from primary texts, that will form the basis of your close readings in support of your argument; 3) A source citation and annotation of the secondary source you will discuss. You'll need 11 copies (including yourself).

 

 

Presentation:  The key to a good presentation is preparation and organization, and that’s what I’ll be looking for.

 

1. Argument: You should begin by explaining your argument.  This part is critical, and so if you like you may choose to read a brief statement of it (a paragraph or so).  Your read version will likely be a bit more elaborated than what we have on our handout, so read it slowly and meaningfully. 

 

I think the best versions of these offer a problem or question, and then propose your claim as a means of addressing it.  A good statement should also indicate any development of your argument over the course of your paper. 

 

For instance, if you were looking at the humanist revision of the traditional educational curriculum, and in particular the place of poetry, you might first introduce the addition of poetry to the curriculum, and then raise the question of what purpose poetry played in the advancement of a core humanist value.  Your argument would then have to establish the value as a value, and subsequently argue poetry’s relation to it. 

 

Or, perhaps your issue or question is what keeps poetry (a very variable art, as we’ve seen!) tethered to a constructive educational end (say, to delight and to teach).  In that case, your statement might “unfold” as follows:  a) introduce poetry as important to the curriculum; 2) suggest poetry’s didactic purpose, perhaps using Puttenham, who reminds poets to hew to “nature”; 3) “however,” Sidney both adheres to the conventional humanist purpose and frees the poet from nature; 4) Ben Jonson sees poetry’s assertion of value as a preferable alternative to nature, a move away from the practical formation of the humanist student and toward a idealized and disengaged community.

 

My point is to think of your argument as, again, “unfolding” in stages.  This makes organizing your readings much easier.

 

 

2. Readings: Using the above example, I might include quotations (in each case followed by analysis) of Puttenham, Sidney, and a couple of passages in Jonson (I’m thinking from the “Ode” and “Penshurst”).  What’s critical for the readings is twofold: 1) attention to particular words, phrases, images, or other formal elements of the language you quote (if these don’t really matter to your point, there’s probably no reason to quote the passages to begin with); 2) a clear sense of how the passage and your analysis of it link to your argument, what purpose they play in supporting and/or developing your claim.

 

 

3. Secondary Source: Basically three points here—the author’s claim, a description of what evidence the author uses to support his or her claim, and how the claim is relevant to your argument.

 

And that’s your presentation.  Yes, I’m being very prescriptive.  I don’t like wandering presentations, and I imagine you don’t either (whether giving or hearing).  My format isn't the only way to give an organized presentation of a paper, of course.  But in my experience it works.  Given what I’m outlining above, moreover, limiting yourself to 15 minutes will take some doing, which is preferable to figuring out how to fill the space.  If you're finding yourself short, my guess is that you haven't looked at your quotations closely enough.

 

 

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