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Upcoming Conference Presentation Assignment

Self-Guided Conference Presentation: Imagine you have been asked to speak at a literary conference about your short story. Drawing on all the previous assignments, create a slide show presentation for the conference. Your presentation should quickly introduce the text to reasonably educated viewers, and then spend most of its time on introducing and supporting an argument about the literary meaning of your text. This argument should be specifically based on one of the literary theories we have discussed.

You will put your presentation on your blog, so it needs to make sense on its own, although it shouldn’t be too wordy like an essay. You can use a number of programs to create this–Powerpoint for Windows and Keynote for Mac are probably the two most popular. You should save and upload your presentation in a format that everyone can see (if you just upload a Powerpoint presentation, then people will have to have Powerpoint on their computer to see it and not everyone does).

One trick is to save your presentation as a movie or “mov” file, which more people can see. You can find advice for how to do this on the internet.

Here is a link to a sample presentation; it does not at all address the assignment, but shows how you can upload a “mov” file to be a clickable presentation:

A Presentation on the metonym “Crown”

How many slides do you think you should have?

Posted in Assignments, Prof Ferguson.


30 Responses

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  1. mikadroz says

    Question– will we be using the sources from our Annotated Bibliography for this? Or is that for our final project?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Good question–actually all of this is for final project: to reshape your personal blogs into a website about your story. So, for the purposes of your Conference Presentation, I think it would be great to mention one of the sources from your Annotated Bibliography if it were appropriate. Don’t just rehash all three (your audience will fall asleep . . .), but perhaps a good quote as evidence to support your argument?

  2. egallone24 says

    So this presentation assignment should be a collaboration of all our other assignments explaining how our story and these theories we learned coincide?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Yes, that’s one way to think of it. Although, it’s better to present one or two ideas in detail, rather than try to bring together every single assignment you’ve had so far. Pick one theory? Or one passage to analyze? or one piece of research that illuminates your text?

  3. clo120 says

    So we should only focus on the one theory we wish to discuss? Or should we briefly mention why we chose that one instead of another?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Yes, I would just pick one. The word to answer your second question is “motive”–yes, you should briefly provide a motive or reason why that particular theory can help you say something that others couldn’t.

  4. xiomara capera says

    By “introducing and supporting an argument about the literary meaning of your text”, do you mean we need to have a concrete idea about our short story? That is, does all of our prior analysis need to come together in unison?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Yes–your “concrete idea,” which is another way of saying that you should have an “argument.” A presentation is usually only 10 or 15 minutes, so you’re not talking about a massively complex argument–as I said above, better to thoroughly discuss one small idea.

  5. Henna says

    Should we incorporate some sort of distinction between story and plot as per the “literary defintion” defined by our chosen literary theory?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      That definitely sounds like one great way to structure your presentation–in fact that could be the whole point: introduce the literary theory idea of story v. plot, and then demonstrate how it works for your story, then discuss (“argue”) the implications of how this author distinguished the two.

  6. Jessica Danielle Powell says

    hmmm…we’ve had about how 5 or 6 assignments there should be at the minimum 10-12 slides. :-)

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      yes and no–not a slide for each assignment. But maybe 10 slides isn’t a bad number, considering that each slide will only show one quote, or diagram, or passage (you would never have a slide chock full of text).

  7. andycrazn says

    should i go in depth and correlate my story with most of the stuff we did? like annotated bibliography and the progression charts to recreate something for the audience?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      I’d pick one assignment to serve as the “kernel” of your presentation. You can think of this as “revising” that original assignment into a presentation.

  8. femi says

    I think this presentation needs about 10-15 slides.

  9. seslami says

    How long should the whole presentation be? Around five minutes, or like a 15/20 minute presentation? Should it also ONLY focus on one literary theory? Because that would be hard to give a whole presentation on.. If it was to maybe compare and contrast the different literary theories, I think it might be easier because we have a lot of different material to cover everything and make it more effective.

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Let’s say like 10 minutes–but remember it’s “self-guided,” so people will click through or watch at their own pace.
      You can compare literary theories if you want, but think how complicated the ones we’ve talked about are–in 75 minutes we can barely get through a few paragraphs from one essay!

  10. jtrezza says

    Is it up to us to decide which literary theory to implement when analyzing? Since we used multiple methods over the course of the semester.

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      Totally up to you . . . and your story. Some stories might better lend themselves to different approaches.

  11. morgan92 says

    I think the presentation should have minimium of 10 slides and a maximum of 16 to clearly explain and display the project.

  12. Breana says

    I agree with everyone else. The presentation should be around 10-15 slides.

  13. eldisakaeko88 says

    What is a “mov.” file ? Sounds like a power point presentation but they automatically have that option like a slide show of some sort. Also, how many slides should it be

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      “mov” stands for movie. Not everyone has Powerpoint, so not everyone can open and view “.ppt” Powerpoint slides. More people can view “mov” files so it’s better to use a file format like that.

  14. mchan says

    When you say it shouldn’t be as long as an essay you mean that we should summarize the points of our presentation and bullet points would be acceptable?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      I mean that you shouldn’t just type an essay in Powerpoint. I want you to consider the “genre” you’re working in: you’re creating a digital presentation, which has different conventions than a printed academic essay. Channel the 5th-grade science fair project board: you need to be succinct, logically structured, and interesting.

  15. P O says

    So most of the slide show is presenting evidence from the short story that supports your understanding of the story using what we’ve learned about literary theory?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      That sounds about right. I’ll add this: imagine your audience–people who are reasonably educated (and attending a literary conference) but have not necessarily read your story or are super-familiar with the theory you are using.

  16. valinirohit says

    Are we allowed to use more than one literary theory to support an argument about the literary meaning of our text? What is the maximum amount of literary theories we can use? Also, by “literary meaning of our text” do you mean the theme of our story?

    • Kevin L. Ferguson says

      I would strongly recommend that you pick one theory, although there’s no limit. Yes, “literary meaning of your text” can mean “theme.”

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Web Wednesday [11/30]: The Marriage Plot I – Introduction to Literary Study linked to this post on November 30, 2011

    […] Look at the description of the next assignment: http://eng170w.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/2011/11/29/upcoming-conference-presentation-assignment/. Leave a comment on that post that asks a question or gives a suggestion about the […]

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