Presentations

Each student will present one week’s worth of reading over the course of the semester. A signup sheet circulated during the second class meeting will determine the schedule of student presentations. Presentations will occur on Tuesdays.

Presentations should introduce and offer an analysis of the week’s reading. Presenters should also facilitate and direct a discussion of the reading.

Presentations should run 10-15 minutes, and should include the following:

Introduction/Overview:

  • When was this first written/published?
  • Speaking to what audiences?
  • In conversation with what disciplines or discourses (who are this text’s interlocutors)?
  • Trying to answer what kinds of questions?
  • What kind of methodology/approach to history is being employed (e.g. use of archival sources, observation, social history, etc.)

 

Analysis:

  • Identify one major issue or question about the text that you wish to discuss.
  • Develop this idea by pointing out at least three passages related to it (more is not necessarily better).
  • Offer some close interpretation of at least one of the passages, without losing sight of the presentation’s bigger point. Consider vocabulary, rhetorical devices, logic, and tone, as you deem appropriate to the passage, drawing some conclusions from what you observe in the passage.
  • Draw conclusions from the evidence that you have offered.

 

Discussion:

  • Close your presentation with one or two questions to stimulate further discussion. You might choose a passage to be read by the entire class.
  • How could the ideas offered by the readings be applied to Digital Media projects?
  • Once your presentation is formally concluded, you are still “on” for the rest of the session, responsible for facilitating a productive discussion.

 

Tips:

  • Reinforce spoken dimension by providing a visual supplements (handout, PowerPoint, or both).
  • Speak clearly and slowly enough to be understood.
  • It’s fine to have written notes or even a written-out text, but be sure to look up, make eye contact, and engage with the class.
  • Remember the “three yeses,” an approach to reading that comes from literary theorist and feminist critic Gayatri Spivak. The idea is that a proper critique consists in saying yes to the text three times. The first yes is to reading the text carefully and in full; the second yes is to reconstructing the argument on its own terms (without criticizing it for what you think it doesn’t do, or what it silences, or what you think it is wrong about); the third yes is the hardest, and it is to taking the argument, on its own terms, as far as you can go with it, considering what it can do and what you can do with it (again, before and without attacking it for what it can’t do). Spivak says that only after you have said yes to the text these three times, can you say a properly critical no to it, which is to say only then can you fully and rigorously elaborate the text’s limits.