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Author Topic: In which I sit through a conference session  (Read 23707 times)
oldsirfaulk
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« Reply #75 on: November 08, 2012, 8:16:33 PM »

Quote
So we're snooty. In research presentations, we expect a certain level of linguistic sophistication. NOT turgid prose, not jargon for the sake of jargon, but still a certain level of ability with language. And that level of ability is very difficult to achieve in oral presentation. (You can do it, but it's much harder: I have to write out the paper, THEN reduce it to an outline and practice giving it several times so that I have the blasted thing almost memorized, so it sounds like I'm just a naturally brilliant and fluent public speaker.)

What works best for me is to read the paper largely as written in the sections that require careful argument, then pause to point the audience to a slide while I speak more freely for a bit: "So, what I've been arguing is that Tarquin's 13-line sonnet of 383 B.C. is in fact a description of the royal egg warmer seen here...." Breaking up the reading with looser presentation helps a lot.

Thanks, Watermark – this is the best description I've (STEM, PP is king) come across. It makes a lot of sense that sentence-level rhetoric should be prized in language-centred disciplines in a way that is less important in others. (And, as a sidebar, I would dearly love to read a 13-line sonnet from 383 BC describing a royal egg-warmer.)

I am baffled that it's so hard to see that this would not work as well in other fields.  Just how much of a literary text's or historical document's wording do you want to try to fit on a PowerPoint slide?  Keeping in mind that, as often noted here, PowerPoint slides with a lot of text are toxic.  So, a literary scholar or a historian may need to read a passage, and would want to do so with precision, so would refer to a script, notes, etc., on paper.

This makes a lot of sense, but I don't think it's quite the point. If we loosely divide presentations into what we're talking about and what we're saying about it (and of course this is a false dichotomy, but bear with me for a moment), the first part might be a PP diagram in my field and a literary or historical document in another. Certainly the latter needs to be presented verbatim, and I can well believe that reading it aloud, with all the advantages of verbal inflection, gesture, and so forth, trumps including it on a handout or (the horror) putting it in 6pt text on a single slide. Similarly, in merce's example obviously you need some sort of audio presentation, live or recorded, to present this sort of phonetic issue. In my field I draw a big diagram. Vive la difference.

But it is the second part, the discussion, that STEM people often come down hard on their students for reading verbatim, either from the slide or from their notes. If a speaker obviously reads his conclusion verbatim from notes, for example, he is likely to come across as insufficiently expert in his topic to speak fluently about it. (Contrariwise, I guess my own conclusions might come across as painfully disfluent to an audience expecting a read paper.) On preview, I think am agreeing with Watermark's final comment here.

Perhaps the bafflement is because of the specialized education in Europe, per other discussions?  So, do science students not do coursework in other fields, even at the undergraduate or previous levels, to have an understanding of how scholars in those fields work, their different types of evidence, etc.?

I don't think this is the issue. I had a pretty broad undergraduate education, and have research experience in disciplines other than my own, but still haven't much of a clue about conference norms except in my own particular field. I mean, when you think of how much of a PhD is about learning the way in which scholarship works in your own corner of academia, it's pretty difficult to be entirely au fait with current scholarly practice – as opposed to having even an upper undergraduate-level background understanding – in two separate disciplines.

Which I guess is why discussions like this one are so important and interesting – thanks, folks! Like previous posters I have little patience for random discipline-bashing, but there seems thankfully to be precious little of that actually going on; and in its absence I for one have learnt a lot from the conversation.
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merce
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« Reply #76 on: November 08, 2012, 8:25:23 PM »

I just had a 10 minute discussion about whether my conference roommies word choice, ONE word, was appropriate for something that could easily be said with any of a dozen words. See, she wants the ONE PERFECT word.
Each word of her paper will be as perfect as possible with the link between each word also attempting perfection.

Mine, on the other hand, is just a series of key words splattered across two pieces of paper in 5 colors right now...
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lucy_
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« Reply #77 on: November 08, 2012, 9:34:33 PM »

Well, if what they had read were half as entertaining as what you just wrote........

But anyway, the first time that I discovered that people actually really did "read papers" was when I started a faculty position. Our college had a monthly colloquia and when it was the turn of someone in a humanities discipline and they started reading from a paper, I couldn't keep my science colleagues from giggling constantly. We had never seen such a thing; didn't know people were allowed to do this.

In the sciences, we'd be admonished for doing such a thing; even reading from note cards, or reading from slides  is a big "no no" that we try to get our students out of the habit of. For the most part, its much more like "show and tell" where you show slides with pictures, figures, tables, and then explain them. Yes, there are still bad (BORING!) talks, but no reading from papers.

Today in fact, I still have no idea what the purpose, significance, "why I should care about" of the work that was covered by a student that was defending their thesis. My colleague next to me agreed. But those more within that discipline were asking good intelligent questions afterwards, and they seemed interested; I have no idea how anyone could have found that interesting?

Well, at least that's just an hour I'll never get back......

Plus, I'm always a back of the room, bring my computer, check my emails, etc type of person. I didn't use to be, but I think a few of these "I want to poke my eyes out" seminars got me in the habit. As for conferences, I always sit in the back, and if they don't grab me within the first 5 minutes, I'm out of there, and into another seminar, or to the posters, or vendors, or museum. Life is too short to sit through a bad talk.



As a result, then, do scientists commit their research findings to memory -- if so, really? quite the memory banks! -- or do they give more generalized presentations, perhaps with handouts to provide data?

In my field, there can be need for notes or a script or the like, with need to precise in presenting data or documents or other evidence to support our arguments, findings, etc. 

As a few others stated, no, we don't commit the findings to memory, that is what the "show" part of the presentation is. The slides contain the data, the results, the figures, graphs, tables, diagrams, etc. and then, we explain the data and what it all means. Yes, I guess we do have in our memory banks what it all means, the significance of the results, the story that goes along with the data.

Actually, I find it a lot like teaching any of my classes. I show them figures and then explain the figures.

Show (the slides) and Tell (explain).
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bookishone
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« Reply #78 on: November 09, 2012, 12:28:19 AM »

I was trying not to reply to this thread. We have had this argument before. But here goes.

I wonder if part of the distinction is also based on differing goals for presentations.

If you are presenting data/information, then go for whatever format thrills you.

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind that following an oral argument is a learned skill. Those of us in humanities disciplines (history, lit, philosophy) have honed the ability to follow a complex, nuanced argument that is presented aloud. Boring ones badly presented are truly bad ... usually because, as with Larry's example, they are predictable (no real argument) as well as poorly performed.

But good ones are like some kind of incredible drug and make our minds explode with ideas and questions, which we can hardly hold in until the Q&A (which, by the way, is one reason this is different from "mailing the essays instead of attending the conference"). I am in a read-aloud discipline and come home from conferences with pages of new ideas -- new references, but also ideas about writing, style, argument, different ways to use theorists, etc. Yes, this intellectual fever gets sparked even though the papers are read aloud. In fact BECAUSE they're carefully crafted, then read/performed aloud.

So those of you who consider read-aloud argument to be intrinsically boring, consider that this may be because you don't encounter it very often. You may be missing nuances of language, subtle references to various scholars and trends in the field, innovative moves, because of this unfamiliarity with the presentation style. Sort of like how students complain about "too much reading" and "this is boring" until they get farther along in the discipline and become accomplished in that kind of work, become attuned to the texture and rhythm of detail and can perceive the bones underlying it. 

I'm willing to accept that other disciplines may have other priorities in presenting their work. Frankly, I don't understand why some of you can't do so as well. What makes you think that your opinion of "read papers" invalidates our experience and the qualities we value in conference presentations? I can understand that some people find read-aloud papers boring, but this does not mean they are valueless for everyone, which is what some are implying here. (Slinger, I am not talking about your sincere questions). If you spend twenty years thinking about the intricacies of argument, at that point maybe you'll appreciate that sometimes it is appropriate to craft your presentation down-to-the-word before you perform it.

Of course, this is not to defend the poorly-performed paper, of which there are too many. But in my experience, pre-written papers are generally either great or at least okay, with a few real losers; whereas the "let me just speak off the cuff" kind of presentations either are terrible rambling indulgent displays or else leave me cold -- they don't generally rise to the level of argument that I find interesting. They're often pretty obvious and paint with broad strokes -- too simplistic an explanation of a complicated object or event. I would much rather hear a presentation carefully pre-written specifically for this audience and this setting. I certainly learn a lot more from them.

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marigolds
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« Reply #79 on: November 09, 2012, 1:52:58 AM »

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind that following an oral argument is a learned skill. Those of us in humanities disciplines (history, lit, philosophy) have honed the ability to follow a complex, nuanced argument that is presented aloud. Boring ones badly presented are truly bad ... usually because, as with Larry's example, they are predictable (no real argument) as well as poorly performed.

But good ones are like some kind of incredible drug and make our minds explode with ideas and questions, which we can hardly hold in until the Q&A (which, by the way, is one reason this is different from "mailing the essays instead of attending the conference"). I am in a read-aloud discipline and come home from conferences with pages of new ideas -- new references, but also ideas about writing, style, argument, different ways to use theorists, etc. Yes, this intellectual fever gets sparked even though the papers are read aloud. In fact BECAUSE they're carefully crafted, then read/performed aloud.

So those of you who consider read-aloud argument to be intrinsically boring, consider that this may be because you don't encounter it very often. You may be missing nuances of language, subtle references to various scholars and trends in the field, innovative moves, because of this unfamiliarity with the presentation style. Sort of like how students complain about "too much reading" and "this is boring" until they get farther along in the discipline and become accomplished in that kind of work, become attuned to the texture and rhythm of detail and can perceive the bones underlying it. 

I'm willing to accept that other disciplines may have other priorities in presenting their work. Frankly, I don't understand why some of you can't do so as well. What makes you think that your opinion of "read papers" invalidates our experience and the qualities we value in conference presentations? I can understand that some people find read-aloud papers boring, but this does not mean they are valueless for everyone, which is what some are implying here. (Slinger, I am not talking about your sincere questions). If you spend twenty years thinking about the intricacies of argument, at that point maybe you'll appreciate that sometimes it is appropriate to craft your presentation down-to-the-word before you perform it.

YES YES YES. This is exactly what I would have articulated here except I am too damn sick of arguing about it with people. 

Can I smooch you?
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proftowanda
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« Reply #80 on: November 09, 2012, 2:17:18 AM »

I was trying not to reply to this thread. We have had this argument before. But here goes.

I wonder if part of the distinction is also based on differing goals for presentations.

If you are presenting data/information, then go for whatever format thrills you.

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind that following an oral argument is a learned skill. Those of us in humanities disciplines (history, lit, philosophy) have honed the ability to follow a complex, nuanced argument that is presented aloud. Boring ones badly presented are truly bad ... usually because, as with Larry's example, they are predictable (no real argument) as well as poorly performed.

But good ones are like some kind of incredible drug and make our minds explode with ideas and questions, which we can hardly hold in until the Q&A (which, by the way, is one reason this is different from "mailing the essays instead of attending the conference"). I am in a read-aloud discipline and come home from conferences with pages of new ideas -- new references, but also ideas about writing, style, argument, different ways to use theorists, etc. Yes, this intellectual fever gets sparked even though the papers are read aloud. In fact BECAUSE they're carefully crafted, then read/performed aloud.

So those of you who consider read-aloud argument to be intrinsically boring, consider that this may be because you don't encounter it very often. You may be missing nuances of language, subtle references to various scholars and trends in the field, innovative moves, because of this unfamiliarity with the presentation style. Sort of like how students complain about "too much reading" and "this is boring" until they get farther along in the discipline and become accomplished in that kind of work, become attuned to the texture and rhythm of detail and can perceive the bones underlying it. 

I'm willing to accept that other disciplines may have other priorities in presenting their work. Frankly, I don't understand why some of you can't do so as well. What makes you think that your opinion of "read papers" invalidates our experience and the qualities we value in conference presentations? I can understand that some people find read-aloud papers boring, but this does not mean they are valueless for everyone, which is what some are implying here. (Slinger, I am not talking about your sincere questions). If you spend twenty years thinking about the intricacies of argument, at that point maybe you'll appreciate that sometimes it is appropriate to craft your presentation down-to-the-word before you perform it.

Of course, this is not to defend the poorly-performed paper, of which there are too many. But in my experience, pre-written papers are generally either great or at least okay, with a few real losers; whereas the "let me just speak off the cuff" kind of presentations either are terrible rambling indulgent displays or else leave me cold -- they don't generally rise to the level of argument that I find interesting. They're often pretty obvious and paint with broad strokes -- too simplistic an explanation of a complicated object or event. I would much rather hear a presentation carefully pre-written specifically for this audience and this setting. I certainly learn a lot more from them.



'Zactly.

"Humanities performance art" is a terrific term -- and it can be exhilarating, even worth all-day air travel these days.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #81 on: November 09, 2012, 2:55:56 AM »

I was trying not to reply to this thread. We have had this argument before. But here goes.

I wonder if part of the distinction is also based on differing goals for presentations.

If you are presenting data/information, then go for whatever format thrills you.

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind that following an oral argument is a learned skill. Those of us in humanities disciplines (history, lit, philosophy) have honed the ability to follow a complex, nuanced argument that is presented aloud. Boring ones badly presented are truly bad ... usually because, as with Larry's example, they are predictable (no real argument) as well as poorly performed.

But good ones are like some kind of incredible drug and make our minds explode with ideas and questions, which we can hardly hold in until the Q&A (which, by the way, is one reason this is different from "mailing the essays instead of attending the conference"). I am in a read-aloud discipline and come home from conferences with pages of new ideas -- new references, but also ideas about writing, style, argument, different ways to use theorists, etc. Yes, this intellectual fever gets sparked even though the papers are read aloud. In fact BECAUSE they're carefully crafted, then read/performed aloud.

So those of you who consider read-aloud argument to be intrinsically boring, consider that this may be because you don't encounter it very often. You may be missing nuances of language, subtle references to various scholars and trends in the field, innovative moves, because of this unfamiliarity with the presentation style. Sort of like how students complain about "too much reading" and "this is boring" until they get farther along in the discipline and become accomplished in that kind of work, become attuned to the texture and rhythm of detail and can perceive the bones underlying it. 

I'm willing to accept that other disciplines may have other priorities in presenting their work. Frankly, I don't understand why some of you can't do so as well. What makes you think that your opinion of "read papers" invalidates our experience and the qualities we value in conference presentations? I can understand that some people find read-aloud papers boring, but this does not mean they are valueless for everyone, which is what some are implying here. (Slinger, I am not talking about your sincere questions). If you spend twenty years thinking about the intricacies of argument, at that point maybe you'll appreciate that sometimes it is appropriate to craft your presentation down-to-the-word before you perform it.

Of course, this is not to defend the poorly-performed paper, of which there are too many. But in my experience, pre-written papers are generally either great or at least okay, with a few real losers; whereas the "let me just speak off the cuff" kind of presentations either are terrible rambling indulgent displays or else leave me cold -- they don't generally rise to the level of argument that I find interesting. They're often pretty obvious and paint with broad strokes -- too simplistic an explanation of a complicated object or event. I would much rather hear a presentation carefully pre-written specifically for this audience and this setting. I certainly learn a lot more from them.



If this is it, I guess I'm eternally condemned to never "get" it.  Or , really, what goes on in the humanities in general, if it's not about the data and analysis.
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scampster
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« Reply #82 on: November 09, 2012, 7:38:46 AM »

I was trying not to reply to this thread. We have had this argument before. But here goes.

I wonder if part of the distinction is also based on differing goals for presentations.

If you are presenting data/information, then go for whatever format thrills you.

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

I think now you are are diminishing what we do in science. Yes, sometimes new data is self-evidently awesome and interesting in and of itself (e.g. new data from supercolliders). But most of the time in our presentations we are also constructing arguments as to why it matters, but our arguments are a combination of visuals and words. The bad talks (and papers for that matter) are the ones that just show data without any broader interpretation. We are NOT just presenting data and information.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #83 on: November 09, 2012, 7:51:24 AM »

And what about social scientists, huh?  We present data, and we've honed the ability to follow complex, nuanced arguments.

If someone wants to read their paper, which rarely occurs at the meetings I attend, that's fine with me.  I feel grateful to them for their choice.  It tells me they contemplated the alternative--making an awkward, unskilled presentation--and recoiled in horror on our behalf. 
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bookishone
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« Reply #84 on: November 09, 2012, 8:55:35 AM »

I was "writing cranky" last night and didn't mean to diminish the work of scientists and social scientists. Please accept my apology for this. Certainly if you speak from notes/off the cuff this does not mean that you don't have an argument.

But "speaking from notes" talks do tend, in my experience, to emphasize argument less -- the process and movement of argument, perhaps.

There is a difference between having an argument and working in a field where argument is an art form -- where the kind and development of your argument is part of the argument, if you will.

If you are not that interested in the "meta-" aspect of argument, if your argument is relatively straightforward (this is not to say it is not exciting), pre-writing can easily be a drawback. But if you have a complex detailed argument to present, why wouldn't pre-writing be a valuable option?

You might compare this to the field of organ composition and performance. Many organists are very good at improvisation on the organ, taking a "theme" and constructing "variations" on it, or simply just moving through a series of patterns, adding modulations, ornaments, what have you. Usually they will have some idea of where they want to go -- their "argument" if you will -- so this is not just pulled out of thin air.

But the excitement and virtuosity of this performance doesn't diminish the value of performing pre-written, e.g. composed music. You might say that in the improvisation, they are working out what they want to say with a kind of freshness that's absent from the composed piece, but that usually the composed piece will accommodate a more intricate series of connections and nuances because each of these has been thought through and worked over dozens of times in the course of composition and practice. Many of our major composers were gifted improvisers, and some used improvisation as a way of seeding new composition.  These are connected but different genres, with different advantages.

What I hear from many of you is "if you're not extemporizing from brief notes, you're boring and your field is stuck in the past," or "I can't believe people actually read their papers!!!"

I don't understand why we can't just agree that there are different modes of performing our work, with benefits and drawbacks to each one, and that each kind can be well or poorly performed; that different disciplines will value different modes of performance according to their priorities, and that people trained in a reading-papers field might get more out of a read-aloud paper than someone who is not as experienced in this mode of performance, so that those in non-reading-aloud fields shouldn't assume that read-aloud papers are always boring failures of performance. Some are. But not all!

 
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 9:02:17 AM by bookishone » Logged

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dr_prephd
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« Reply #85 on: November 09, 2012, 10:29:32 AM »

At my most recent conference (in a field where the presentation styles vary) one of the best sessions I attended was a "paper" being read aloud. The presenter made sure to look up, engage the audience, adapt when she saw the audience's responses, use informative slides, add asides that I know were not included in the paper, etc. Quite lively and entertaining. A performance, if you will.

Way, way back when I was taking writing classes, I can remember a specific set of assignments where we were tasked with taking an essay we had written and then re-writing it into an essay intended to be read aloud (think "This American Life"). It was quite valuable, as I learned that many of the sentences I wrote for reading audiences were not quite as nice when read orally. And it was one of my favorite classes, hearing everyone's essays read aloud.

On a different note, I'm still burnt from a presentation I did a few years ago. I had organized a panel discussion (think: 4 folks sitting at a table in the front of the room), and I got feedback saying that we should have gotten up, moved around, had slides and handouts, presented in a more lively fashion, etc. Um... it's a panel discussion. No. (Of course, it was a grad. student conference, so I took that with a grain of salt.) But it just goes to show that even when the presentation style is totally appropriate for the context and purpose of the session, there are still going to be people who think you need to present differently.
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llanfair
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« Reply #86 on: November 09, 2012, 10:40:06 AM »

Bookishone, you've explained it beautifully.  I 'read' my papers as a performance - and I do craft them carefully, dammit.  I love words and I love using them effectively (even if this post doesn't reflect that!), and if I extemporise, it's not the same. 

Lecturing is different - that is off the cuff and I don't worry about missing any pet phrases.  It's a different kind of performance, and I'm happy to be able to make both work.
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sugaree
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« Reply #87 on: November 09, 2012, 2:13:48 PM »

You have nothing to apologize for, Bookishone. If anything, the rude dismissiveness of posts like this one (see bolded):

I was trying not to reply to this thread. We have had this argument before. But here goes.

I wonder if part of the distinction is also based on differing goals for presentations.

If you are presenting data/information, then go for whatever format thrills you.

But if your goal is argument -- if you HAVE an argument that needs to be constructed rather than just new data to be shared, then you are working your way through a complicated process. And in a discipline that pays attention to language, you are going to need EXACTLY the right series of steps and sub-steps, with delicately managed transitions and conclusions, and every word must be just right. There's just no way that extemporizing "Okay, so what I have on this next slide here is..." is going to cut it.

Also, keep in mind that following an oral argument is a learned skill. Those of us in humanities disciplines (history, lit, philosophy) have honed the ability to follow a complex, nuanced argument that is presented aloud. Boring ones badly presented are truly bad ... usually because, as with Larry's example, they are predictable (no real argument) as well as poorly performed.

But good ones are like some kind of incredible drug and make our minds explode with ideas and questions, which we can hardly hold in until the Q&A (which, by the way, is one reason this is different from "mailing the essays instead of attending the conference"). I am in a read-aloud discipline and come home from conferences with pages of new ideas -- new references, but also ideas about writing, style, argument, different ways to use theorists, etc. Yes, this intellectual fever gets sparked even though the papers are read aloud. In fact BECAUSE they're carefully crafted, then read/performed aloud.

So those of you who consider read-aloud argument to be intrinsically boring, consider that this may be because you don't encounter it very often. You may be missing nuances of language, subtle references to various scholars and trends in the field, innovative moves, because of this unfamiliarity with the presentation style. Sort of like how students complain about "too much reading" and "this is boring" until they get farther along in the discipline and become accomplished in that kind of work, become attuned to the texture and rhythm of detail and can perceive the bones underlying it.  

I'm willing to accept that other disciplines may have other priorities in presenting their work. Frankly, I don't understand why some of you can't do so as well. What makes you think that your opinion of "read papers" invalidates our experience and the qualities we value in conference presentations? I can understand that some people find read-aloud papers boring, but this does not mean they are valueless for everyone, which is what some are implying here. (Slinger, I am not talking about your sincere questions). If you spend twenty years thinking about the intricacies of argument, at that point maybe you'll appreciate that sometimes it is appropriate to craft your presentation down-to-the-word before you perform it.

Of course, this is not to defend the poorly-performed paper, of which there are too many. But in my experience, pre-written papers are generally either great or at least okay, with a few real losers; whereas the "let me just speak off the cuff" kind of presentations either are terrible rambling indulgent displays or else leave me cold -- they don't generally rise to the level of argument that I find interesting. They're often pretty obvious and paint with broad strokes -- too simplistic an explanation of a complicated object or event. I would much rather hear a presentation carefully pre-written specifically for this audience and this setting. I certainly learn a lot more from them.



If this is it, I guess I'm eternally condemned to never "get" it.  Or , really, what goes on in the humanities in general, if it's not about the data and analysis.

are the ones who should be apologizing! Of course we in the humanities have data and analyses. It's just that our data are words, and our analyses are arguments that don't easily lend themselves to contemporaneous speaking.

But no, it's just too much easier to condescendingly dismiss other fields beyond your own, because we do it differently. So much for celebrating diversity.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 2:14:30 PM by sugaree » Logged

where's the bourbon?
prof_smartypants
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You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #88 on: November 09, 2012, 2:26:19 PM »

I think I am beginning to get it. The "humanities paper as performance piece" really nails it. I've only seen people read history and geography papers. Both were horrid, boring, and non-engaging, both were social science, and both would have really benefitted from some visuals. I can now see how one in lit would write a paper designed to be read aloud. It would never occur to me to do this in my field, which is why a presentation is a bastardization of a paper, not the paper itself. My work REQUIRES that I create a presentation that is exciting because the paper itself is not written in this manner.

Thanks!
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aside
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« Reply #89 on: November 09, 2012, 3:12:01 PM »

If this is it, I guess I'm eternally condemned to never "get" it.  Or , really, what goes on in the humanities in general, if it's not about the data and analysis.

I do not get the seeming inability of some to encounter difference without condemning it.  But more surprising to me about this thread is the implied triumph of style over content reflected in a few of the posts.   That is, "if you begin your presentation by doing X [=style], I will not hear anything you say [=content]."  I do not much care if your style bores me provided that your content does not; ideally, of course, both will be scintillating.  What constitutes scintillating certainly depends on disciplinary norms, as several posters from varying disciplines have ably argued above (intentionally or not).
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