Bad Taste Demos

Bad Taste on Display: Demonstration-Presentations and Blog Posts

Lachapelle Madonna

Starting in the second week of class, you will do two 10-12 minute presentations over the semester on one of our meeting themes, the first before and the second after spring break. You may choose which day you will present; as you choose, think about which issues hit closest to your personal and academic interests. Presenting on material is a great way to truly get to know an idea or theory, and often inspires paper topics. You may focus primarily on the issues raised in one of the readings for the day you choose, or incorporate material from more than one reading in your presentation. Your presentation need only briefly highlight the main themes of the reading for that day, and culminate in a cluster of questions that moves the class to deeper contemplation and conversation. Form and content are otherwise wide open, and you are encouraged to get experimental–this is a bad taste “demo,” after all, meaning you must bring (at least) one object of consumption to illustrate the arguments at hand, or have the class try out a mode of aesthetic measure made available in the meeting’s readings. Feel free to pull your thing straight out of the text or pluck another from the authors’ cultural surroundings, your own, or anywhere else. Everything is permitted provided you supply a thoughtful explanation for your selection.

On the eve of your presentation, you must also post 3-4 paragraphs on the course blog about your topic. Your colleagues will read and reply to your post by 12:00 pm on the day of class discussion. In full, you are responsible for two primary posts and ten substantive replies over the fifteen-week semester, the latter due whenever the spirit moves you. Approach the primary post as you would a reader response essay, only here with the internetty benefit of hyperlinks and embedded media. In additional distinction to the traditional response paper with the professor as its sole addressee, these blog posts have the capacity to commandeer the whole class’s attention, so use the occasion wisely and only squander it spectacularly. As with the presentation it prefaces, the post is formally free once the basic requirements of length and timing are satisfied. But keep in mind, you can cannibalize your blog entries for the midterm and final essays; it behooves you to write good ones as a way of both front-loading your intellectual labor and building a round of peer feedback into your composition process.

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