History 299 – Prof. Fernsebner – Fall 2012Posts RSS Comments RSS

Friday (12/7) Symposium Instructions

The final assignment of History 299 provides an opportunity to check out History and American Studies Senior Thesis presentations. Instead of class on Friday, please attend at least one session of the Symposium this friday and then file a report.

Here’s how:

a) Check out the symposium schedule and find a session in which you’re interested. You may attend one at 9 am, the regular time of our class (which is cancelled), or any other hour’s panel that suits you.

b) Stay for the full 50-minute session, enjoying the talks and Q+A, then do the following:

c) Send an email to Dr. Fernsebner (sfernseb [at] umw [dot] edu) by noon on Monday (12/10) in which you write a review of the presentations. Key points to hit:

- what was the session you went to?

- provide a short summary of each of the presentations (focus, content, key points of analysis made…) What did you find interesting about the talks?

- and, finally, consider the presentation style / approach of each presenter: what were the strengths and weaknesses of their public presentations? Consider this a way to brainstorm what you will do (or avoid doing) at your next public presentation…

 

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:

—> Please include your review within the body of the email (not as an attachment).

—> The review must be received by noon on Monday (12/10) to be credited.

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New Course for Spring: Chinese History through Film

A new course has recently been added to the Spring 2013 schedule:

HIST 300AA: Chinese History through Film / Wed 6-8:45 pm / Prof. Susan Fernsebner

This course explores the intersection of Chinese history and cinema, with a focus on mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Exploring major films from the 1950s through the present day, key themes will include: revolutionary aesthetics and realities, presentations of gender, nation, and violence, as well as issues related to late twentieth century globalization. HIST 300AA will provide credit for both the History major and the Asian Studies Minor.

For a preview of the films we’re going to explore, see http://chinesefilm2013.umwblogs.org

If you have any questions about the course, feel free to contact Dr. Fernsebner (sfernseb@umw.edu).

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Past presentation experience

I misread this week’s blogging assignment, so you get two Emile blogs this week! Lucky you!

Okay, so my experiences with formal presentations are fairly minimal. I talk, nay, pontificate in front of large groups nearly every day, but those talks are extremely informal and are thus filled with all manner of profanity and colloquialisms. I’m surprisingly eloquent on these occasions, and I usually only stutter or falter when I’ve forgotten a word.

My issues come up when I start making mistakes. I can move on past a few little errors, but larger errors seem to snowball until my presentation risks derailment.

Now, I have discovered that I am actually a fairly talented actor; more specifically, I find dropping into and out of roles and personas incredibly easy, even though I find memorizing scripts and lines very challenging. I have found that I become less nervous if I adopt a more confident ‘persona’ before appearing before an audience. The challenge, therefore, lies in crafting a ‘role’ that is both confident and professional.

I’m also unaccustomed to using visual aids in a presentation. Because I would like to avoid reading points off of a screen, I’m building a PowerPoint with minimal text to go alongside my presentation. I hope that it isn’t too flashy or distracting.

I’m going to be practicing this sucker as much as I can until Wednesday’s presentation. I hope that I do well, and I hope that you all do well also.

No responses yet

Past presentation experience

I misread this week’s blogging assignment, so you get two Emile blogs this week! Lucky you!

Okay, so my experiences with formal presentations are fairly minimal. I talk, nay, pontificate in front of large groups nearly every day, but those talks are extremely informal and are thus filled with all manner of profanity and colloquialisms. I’m surprisingly eloquent on these occasions, and I usually only stutter or falter when I’ve forgotten a word.

My issues come up when I start making mistakes. I can move on past a few little errors, but larger errors seem to snowball until my presentation risks derailment.

Now, I have discovered that I am actually a fairly talented actor; more specifically, I find dropping into and out of roles and personas incredibly easy, even though I find memorizing scripts and lines very challenging. I have found that I become less nervous if I adopt a more confident ‘persona’ before appearing before an audience. The challenge, therefore, lies in crafting a ‘role’ that is both confident and professional.

I’m also unaccustomed to using visual aids in a presentation. Because I would like to avoid reading points off of a screen, I’m building a PowerPoint with minimal text to go alongside my presentation. I hope that it isn’t too flashy or distracting.

I’m going to be practicing this sucker as much as I can until Wednesday’s presentation. I hope that I do well, and I hope that you all do well also.

No responses yet

Past presentation experience

I misread this week’s blogging assignment, so you get two Emile blogs this week! Lucky you!

Okay, so my experiences with formal presentations are fairly minimal. I talk, nay, pontificate in front of large groups nearly every day, but those talks are extremely informal and are thus filled with all manner of profanity and colloquialisms. I’m surprisingly eloquent on these occasions, and I usually only stutter or falter when I’ve forgotten a word.

My issues come up when I start making mistakes. I can move on past a few little errors, but larger errors seem to snowball until my presentation risks derailment.

Now, I have discovered that I am actually a fairly talented actor; more specifically, I find dropping into and out of roles and personas incredibly easy, even though I find memorizing scripts and lines very challenging. I have found that I become less nervous if I adopt a more confident ‘persona’ before appearing before an audience. The challenge, therefore, lies in crafting a ‘role’ that is both confident and professional.

I’m also unaccustomed to using visual aids in a presentation. Because I would like to avoid reading points off of a screen, I’m building a PowerPoint with minimal text to go alongside my presentation. I hope that it isn’t too flashy or distracting.

I’m going to be practicing this sucker as much as I can until Wednesday’s presentation. I hope that I do well, and I hope that you all do well also.

No responses yet

Update on Research Paper: The Final Draft Cometh!

First of all, sorry for my lack of updates recently. You’d be amazed how things pile up after a while.

Anywho, before the Thanksgiving break really builds up momentum, I thought that this would be a good time to post an update on my final draft.

For the most part, I have a pretty clear idea of what I need to work on, thanks to Joanna and Amanda’s excellent suggestions. My big issues right now:
* Making my intro a little less… huge. I feel it necessary to convey how my topic fits into the larger historical context, but this larger context generally takes some time to fully elucidate. I do, however, need to figure out how to convey this scale without taking far too much space to do so. Reconciling my personal need to relate to the bigger picture while still being fairly direct will probably be my biggest challenge for the final copy.
* I have a long section (~2 pages) describing the organization and social stratification in both Temujin and Jamuqa’s armies. This, I feel, is an incredibly important topic that needs to be addressed in order to fully understand the conflict between the two Mongol leaders, but– as Joanna points out– this topic is not directly connected to my thesis statement; it is indirectly connected, but not immediately so. It is too important to leave out, but too extensive to demote to an endnote. I’m sure that I’ll figure out a way to work this issue out, but if anyone can think of any tips, that would be swell.
** Issues like this one are why I tend to be somewhat skeptical over the idea of basing everything in a paper around a single thesis. There is, of course, always a solution to any hurdle, thankfully.
* I directly reference one or two works that are neither historical nor academic in nature (a novel and a website), because they provide some excellent terms that get certain points across very concisely. Because they are not historical references and merely sources for phrases and terms, I am somewhat unsure how I should cite them. I was thinking of adding a third section to my ‘works cited,’ explicitly to denote these non-scholarly sources. I could simply not use these references, but I really like what they add to the paper. I suppose I’ll come to a verdict as I’m rewriting the paper.
* I will be the first to admit that my academic prose is… whimsical. This is my ‘voice’ as a writer and therefore not an element that I am ever going to willingly remove. With that said, I understand that I both can and have overdone the whimsy in my writing. One of the advantages of re-writing from scratch during the final paper is in catching these sorts of phrases before they get too out of hand. I don’t feel comfortable writing anything ‘sans whimsy’ (Indeed, the whimsical writing is often my little way of communicating to the readers just how much I am connecting with/enjoying the material. Topics that I find really stimulating tend to attract more enjoyable prose, while boring topics lend themselves to papers that are drier than a placeholder metaphor. In my experience, the latter papers tend to get worse grades than the former), but I know that there are times to moderate it. So, we’ll see where this goes in the final.

In the end, I’m probably not going to focus as much on my final draft over this break as I will on my presentation and a few other assignments for other classes. I’m certainly going to do SOME work on this paper, but since we have a week’s extension, I figure that I can take advantage of the extra time by using this break to knock out every other assignment.

No responses yet

Update on Research Paper: The Final Draft Cometh!

First of all, sorry for my lack of updates recently. You’d be amazed how things pile up after a while.

Anywho, before the Thanksgiving break really builds up momentum, I thought that this would be a good time to post an update on my final draft.

For the most part, I have a pretty clear idea of what I need to work on, thanks to Joanna and Amanda’s excellent suggestions. My big issues right now:
* Making my intro a little less… huge. I feel it necessary to convey how my topic fits into the larger historical context, but this larger context generally takes some time to fully elucidate. I do, however, need to figure out how to convey this scale without taking far too much space to do so. Reconciling my personal need to relate to the bigger picture while still being fairly direct will probably be my biggest challenge for the final copy.
* I have a long section (~2 pages) describing the organization and social stratification in both Temujin and Jamuqa’s armies. This, I feel, is an incredibly important topic that needs to be addressed in order to fully understand the conflict between the two Mongol leaders, but– as Joanna points out– this topic is not directly connected to my thesis statement; it is indirectly connected, but not immediately so. It is too important to leave out, but too extensive to demote to an endnote. I’m sure that I’ll figure out a way to work this issue out, but if anyone can think of any tips, that would be swell.
** Issues like this one are why I tend to be somewhat skeptical over the idea of basing everything in a paper around a single thesis. There is, of course, always a solution to any hurdle, thankfully.
* I directly reference one or two works that are neither historical nor academic in nature (a novel and a website), because they provide some excellent terms that get certain points across very concisely. Because they are not historical references and merely sources for phrases and terms, I am somewhat unsure how I should cite them. I was thinking of adding a third section to my ‘works cited,’ explicitly to denote these non-scholarly sources. I could simply not use these references, but I really like what they add to the paper. I suppose I’ll come to a verdict as I’m rewriting the paper.
* I will be the first to admit that my academic prose is… whimsical. This is my ‘voice’ as a writer and therefore not an element that I am ever going to willingly remove. With that said, I understand that I both can and have overdone the whimsy in my writing. One of the advantages of re-writing from scratch during the final paper is in catching these sorts of phrases before they get too out of hand. I don’t feel comfortable writing anything ‘sans whimsy’ (Indeed, the whimsical writing is often my little way of communicating to the readers just how much I am connecting with/enjoying the material. Topics that I find really stimulating tend to attract more enjoyable prose, while boring topics lend themselves to papers that are drier than a placeholder metaphor. In my experience, the latter papers tend to get worse grades than the former), but I know that there are times to moderate it. So, we’ll see where this goes in the final.

In the end, I’m probably not going to focus as much on my final draft over this break as I will on my presentation and a few other assignments for other classes. I’m certainly going to do SOME work on this paper, but since we have a week’s extension, I figure that I can take advantage of the extra time by using this break to knock out every other assignment.

No responses yet

Jerry Seinfeld, Gandalf the Grey, and Speaking

Apparently, the number one fear that people have is of speaking in public (I try to shy away from labeling it as “public speaking” because to me that makes the concept stand out as some “thing” as opposed to just “speaking in a public setting” or however you like- this could simply be semantics but if it helps you then go for it!) which is of course ridiculous.  Really?  More terrifying than death?  So, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, “to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket then doing the eulogy.”  And it sounds crazy but I’m sure most of us have felt that way at least once before in our lives.  I know I have.  In high school I decided to join Forensics (not Criminal Investigation or science but a sort of public speaking team) in which I came to enjoy performing humorous pieces of literature for competition.  I won’t say it eradicated an notion of fear- or the jitters- in me as I still am highly prone to dry mouth but I realized that speaking in front of other people is okay, it does not lead to death, and- as Gandalf reminds us- “that is an encouraging thought.”  I’m looking forward to enjoying your presentations next week.  Cheers!

 

No responses yet

Jerry Seinfeld, Gandalf the Grey, and Speaking

Apparently, the number one fear that people have is of speaking in public (I try to shy away from labeling it as “public speaking” because to me that makes the concept stand out as some “thing” as opposed to just “speaking in a public setting” or however you like- this could simply be semantics but if it helps you then go for it!) which is of course ridiculous.  Really?  More terrifying than death?  So, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, “to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket then doing the eulogy.”  And it sounds crazy but I’m sure most of us have felt that way at least once before in our lives.  I know I have.  In high school I decided to join Forensics (not Criminal Investigation or science but a sort of public speaking team) in which I came to enjoy performing humorous pieces of literature for competition.  I won’t say it eradicated an notion of fear- or the jitters- in me as I still am highly prone to dry mouth but I realized that speaking in front of other people is okay, it does not lead to death, and- as Gandalf reminds us- “that is an encouraging thought.”  I’m looking forward to enjoying your presentations next week.  Cheers!

 

No responses yet

Past Experiences With Presentations

To be honest, I’ve never really like giving presentations. Throughout middle school and into high school I was horrible at presenting and I always got extremely nervous. I think it was always really obvious as well (blushing, stuttering, etc.). However, as I went through high school and as I got into college, presenting became a lot easier. I still get nervous (as do most people I think) and I still have things to work on – I tend to talk really fast and I’m often not loud enough – however, presenting is no longer the bane of my existence like it used to be. I think in this case practice makes perfect. My advice to someone who has trouble presenting would be to do it more often. It may seem horrible at first but I think the more you do something the more comfortable you become with it. It also helps to remember that everyone gets nervous and that things you think people are noticing they probably aren’t noticing at all.

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