The Essay

Richard E. Miller
The Essay

First In-Class Presentation

For this assignment, which you might think of as something of a warm-up for your second writing assignment, you are to choose a reference or term that is unfamiliar to you in Elaine's Scarry's On Beauty and Being Just and make a presentation to the seminar that shows where your research into the reference or term has taken you and what it has helped you to see, understand, or question further about Scarry's argument.

Here's what your presentation should include:

• A clear statement of the reason you elected to research the reference or term in question: i.e., not "I was curious," but rather, "I hoped understanding X better would help me with Scarry's argument about Y."

• A one or two page handout that you pass out to all members of the seminar (twelve copies, including one for me), which you refer to–but do not read!--while making your presentation.

Your presentation should not take up more than five minutes. You should rehearse what you are going to say before coming to class and you should imagine yourself in the role of the seminar leader: you should speak clearly; your contribution should be significant; and you should treat followup questions as an opportunity to further explore the issues you've raised.

For this assignment, you will be assessed on the quality of your research, the quality of your presentation, and the quality of your handout: the best presentations will demonstrate the depth of your engagement with the issues raised by Scarry's essay.

Your presentation can occur anytime between September 22 and October 6th. Please email me in advance at to let me know when you plan to present and what you plan to present on. Presentations need not occur at the beginning of class: depending on your topic, it may make sense to delay the presentation until the appropriate moment in our class discussion of Scarry's work.

To receive credit for this assignment, you must submit your handout to me, via email, as an attachment. Your file can be either .doc or .wpd. All handouts will be posted on the course website:

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