“Doing English”: LIT-CRIT Conference

Old School / New School: Presentation Two Ways:


During the final week of class, each student will present a version of their final paper. Each presentation should will be from 5-7 minutes long and will essentially be a dynamic and efficient version of your Final Project. You have two options for this presentation:

  • Old School: modeled on traditional conference presentations in the discipline of English, this style involves skillfully reading from manuscript with (possible) supporting slides (especially for your close-reading capstone). In class, we discussed a speech Hillary Clinton delivered from manuscript  and discussed the skills / strategies that come into play there.
  • New School: modeled on the pecha-kucha presentation style, this “speedy” presentation format involves a 5-minute presentation with 15 image-heavy (and word-light) slides advancing automatically every 20 seconds. We watched a few of these presentations in class (and you can see one sample below). For these presentations, you will set up your slide presentation (in Google, PPT, Keynote, or another program) to auto advance. Not sure how to do that? Just google “How to auto advance slides in _______.”

In both cases, your presentation will be more like a narrative or story about your final project rather than a truncated version of the project itself. Keep that distinction in mind as you develop your script.

Whether  you go old-school or new-school, the presentation will involve some version of the following moves–though the emphasis is on creativity especially on the “new school” presentation, so you can stretch these parameters however you like. You might also re-arrange the order of things starting, for example, with a close reading, and proceeding from there. If your paper is a dynamic critical story, this presentation will be a dynamic re-telling and re-framing of that story in a smaller space.

  • Include your title and discuss your introduction and your dueling thesis statements–the strategies you used to set things up, the way in which you are trying to engage and extend the conversation, etc.
  • Present  a condensed version of your CVC / research conversation with more emphasis on the central source providing the most important historical or methodological background.
  • Discuss your Close Reading Capstone–that crucial moment of analysis where you “prove” or illustrate their argumentative thesis.
  • Finally, present your concluding ideas

As with your Final Project, the transitions between these individual sections should be smooth and sensible.

Note on Old-School: my primary expectation if you go with this presentation style is that you read your scrip clearly, slowly, and with feeling. At typical English conferences, panelists typically do just that: they read their papers while, one hopes, making good eye contact with their audience.  At times, however, the presenter might break from the script to offer a less formal aside or reflection, or to engage some projected text in a less scripted manner. I’d love for you to attempt this kind of less formal (if still technically planned) engagement as well. Planning and rehearsal are key components of this project. Moments of nervousness will not ruin your grade by any means; this assignment is intended more for practice than perfection. If you show earnest effort and clear preparation, you will do well. Note that it takes about 2 minutes to read a double-spaced page.

Note on New-School: the less tied you are to a script for this style, the better off you will be. As you engage the audience and attend to the progression of slides, having to fumble with papers will only get in your way. Make sure you don’t read your slides: they should be comprised mostly of visuals, except in the case where you are presenting text for analysis. Part of what makes these presentations so engaging is the dynamic, even poetic associative link between the words you are speaking and the images that accompany them. You can hack the presentation format by keeping one slide for three consecutive time periods–so there are some ways to work around the constraints.

Grading: Your work will be graded in three areas:

  1. Nonverbal skills (eye contact, body language, poise)
  2. Verbal skills (elocution, enthusiasm, pacing)
  3. Content (subject knowledge, organization, mechanics)

Q&A: After each panel, there will be opportunity for a brief Q&A session. Your quiz grade for the week will involve asking one question.

Clinton delivering a paper from manuscript:

Version of a pecha-kucha presentation:



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