I gave my presentation this morning, along with Krista Kennedy (as read by John Logie) and Charlie Lowe. Charlie was in his usual relaxed, easygoing talking-through-the-points mode, while John did a fine job of reading Krista’s stylistically compelling sophisticated theoretical essay. I didn’t do quite so well, largely because I was trying to talk a point-by-point presentation for the first time; in the past, I’ve always read my presentations from papers, and I do a fair job of that, I think. But my lack of comfort with the talking-through-the-points format was highly apparent in my voice, in the somewhat rushed delivery, and in my hesitation to deviate from those points. As is the case with students whose papers display a marked increase in correctness errors when they grapple with materials or genres unfamiliar to them, my presentation was marked by my delivery’s evidence of my inexperience with the genre. Which is disappointing; with the preparation I put into this, I would have liked to have done a better job.
If you check out the presentation, you’ll see that it’s highly inductive and paratactic, and those qualities are only accentuated by the cuts I made after rehearsing it and having it come out at around 22 minutes: I tried to get rid of the points that seemed least essential, but that resulted in a highly “gappy” feeling in a number of places. What I was trying to do in the presentation was simply to look at ownership issues as connected to student writing through an economic lens, in the hopes that such a lens might help the audience see how student writing — when considered and practiced as “open source” rather than as scarce and solely owned — can give an increased and more diverse valuation to the labor of everyone (students, teachers, researchers, and the various permutations thereof) in the community of first year writing. An additional difficulty, I think, is that the complexity of the theoretical stuff I was trying to present actually really doesn’t lend itself to the and/and/and qualities of parataxis, and is much more easily understood via the subordinating conjunctions of hypotaxis. Which I knew intellectually, but — since I’d never tried to do a presentation like this before — not practically.
On the good side, these points comprise the core logic of Chapter 5 of my dissertation, so I’ve got my revision work laid out for me. I’ll also say that I think my classroom focus served as a nice complement both to Krista’s flights of Deleuze and Guattari high theory and to Charlie’s explicit working-through of the implications of the Open Source development process for composition, and this seemed to play out in the really excellent Q&A that followed our presentations, where a lot of people offered insightful and provocative comments and questions (including several from Bradley Bleck that I couldn’t answer, which gave me considerable material for future thought) linking Krista’s rhizomes, Charlie’s development process, and my own concerns of valuation. So sometime in the next week or so, I’ll be cleaning up the presentation some; right now, I’m grateful to Charlie, Krista, and John, and to all the folks who joined in the discussion.
Doctor Chadwallah (who was apparently attending incognito, and who Krista explicitly referenced in her presentation) offered no questions, to the regret of many who were present.