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Group Presentation & Discussion Leadership

Your group topics and group members are listed below. See the schedule for dates of presentation for each group. Be sure to contact your group members right away and to meet often as you prepare your presentation.

See full details below for how to complete the assignment.

Zora Neale Hurston: Cyndi, Destiny, Francine
Alice Walker: Sydney, Courtney, Taurean
Virginia Woolf: Melissa, Rachel, Chana, Nafisah

Narrowing your topic

All of the topics above are presently quite large in scope; your group must therefore decide how to research this general topic to a more specific aspect that does not repeat material already covered in our class readings & screenings.

You should get together with your group right away, discuss your thoughts & options, and narrow the overall topic you have chosen to focus specifically on her/his influences & representations of women. Then by the date posted on the schedule, write up and turn in to me a one-page outline for your subject, detailing how you will present the material during your presentation (including what types of media youíll need) and your preliminary source material. Once you've refined your topic, you should work together as a group over the next few weeks to conduct research and prepare your presentation.

How to complete the assignment

Using thorough research and creative presentation methods, you should develop a project that raises our awareness of your chosen artist.


The presentation should cover basic biographical information, key artworks and art/historical movements, basic information about the stylistic and innovative qualities of her/his work, and those artists who have influenced and inspired her. Your group should conduct scholarly research in the library on your chosen topic, and then present it in a concise manner to the class. You should glean relevant and interesting information from printed materials (books, journals, magazines, etc.), and where applicable, from interviews, films, recordings, etc. For your initial sources, you may use as many readings assigned for our class as you'd like (be sure to read through these thoroughly so you do not duplicate the material!); however, you must also research and document at least three additional sources to support your project. Only one of these sources may be a SCHOLARLY Internet website (NOT Wikipedia); the other two must be SCHOLARLY printed material from the library (books, periodical articles, etc.). Include this bibliography in your handout.


For your presentation format, I encourage you to be creative. Use various media to create a learning environment that conveys and supports your research findings. You might choose to read poetry or prose, display graphs, play music/TV/film clips, project slides, and/or distribute copies of images that convey your points. You could perform a play, or stage a debate among opposing sides of a complex issue that her work explores, or create a video about a topic that provides interviews, music, etc. in addition to your own commentary on the subject. Note that PowerPoint text-only slides cannot comprise more than 5% of your presentation (i.e., less than 2 minutes total). Be sure to let me know well in advance if you will need special equipment for your presentation.

Groups will present their research during the class period in which we are discussing the artist's work; presentation order is listed in your syllabus. Each group will have 30 minutes for their formal presentation, with some discussion afterward as a class as we move into the day's assigned topic.

You must research & present all of your material *together* as a group; think of this project as a singular presentation rather than as separate panelists each presenting one segment they researched alone. And be sure to practice your presentation--with technology--in advance at least twice *together* as a group before you present.

Don't forget the group's 1-page handout (double-sided is fine) for your classmates that:

1)     Briefly (3-5 sentences max) summarizes the artistís main themes, key works, and influences

2)     Praises at least two points AND critiques at least two points about her style/work

3)     Poses provocative questions for the class to discuss after your presentation about the day's reading

4)     Lists your reference sources in proper bibliographic format

and that during your 20-minute presentation, you should:

1)     BE CREATIVE using many visual, written, performative, and/or aural aids

2)     Connect her/his work to influential artworks/artists not assigned for our course

3)     Connect her/his work to other artworks/artists assigned for our course

4)     Be prepared to answer questions about your artist from your classmates  


Groups will be graded on the following criteria:

1)      Thoroughness of your research of your selected artist

2)      Creativity of the presentation and support materials

3)      Organization and clarity of the presentation

4)      Quality of the handout's clarity, organization, & bibliography

5)      Teamwork (Again, that means researching and presenting all of your material *together* as a singular presentation rather than as separate panelists.)

Additionally, your classmates will be asked to answer the following questions, due the following class period:

1)      Did the presentation help you to clarify, comprehend, or better apply important concepts, issues, or approaches relevant to this course? Give examples.

2)      Did the presentation help you to make connections among the course materials and/or between this course and the world beyond the classroom?

3)      Did it raise issues or ideas you had not considered or explored much before?

4)      Did it help you to engage with our curriculum and/or with other people in the class in a new way or to a significant degree?

5)      What was the most interesting or helpful part of the presentation?

6)      What could have made the presentation more effective?

7)      Based on the above questions and the goals articulated in the "How to complete the assignment section," what letter grade does the presentation deserve?

And finally, to be fair to all group participants, your own self-, peer-, and group evaluations will contribute to grades. On a separate page attached to and submitted with your individual research bibliography (feel free to double-side this page instead of stapling two together), each member of the group will write a brief follow-up report in response to the questions below. All reports should be word-processed (see "course policies" section of your syllabus) and are due in class on the next class meeting. Each group member should comment on the following, in either paragraph or bulleted/numbered (but still clearly and correctly worded) format:


1)     Your role in the preparation of the presentation, such as specific tasks you completed, and your role in group dynamics (both productive and counter-productive functions such as encouraging, mediating, gate-keeping, standard setting, following, relieving tension, initiating, information seeking/giving, opinion giving, clarifying, elaborating, coordinating, orienting, testing, summarizing, blocking, aggressing, seeking recognition, special pleading, withdrawing, dominating, etc.)

2)     The amount of time you put into the presentation a) with others in the group and b) individually

3)     Your greatest contributions to the group process and project

4)     Your greatest gain from the group process and project

5)     What you would change if you had the opportunity to do it again

6)     Your assessment of your personal contributions to this presentation (a fair letter grade)  


All information is strictly confidential, of course, but your frank assessment of your group mates is crucial. Write two or more sentences that accurately assess the contributions of each of your group's other members toward the preparation, process, and production of the presentation. Assign a fair letter grade for each member based on this assessment.

Group Evaluation

Your assessment of the success of the presentation itself (a fair letter grade).