Thursday, February 22, 2007

Seminar troubles: struggling with audience

I've been struggling to find the motivation to finish my presentation for seminar this evening - unfortunately, I think bringing in Twin Peaks would be one step too far in the direction of weirdness, even for this particular class, which, being concerned with sound and poetry, covers a fair amount of weirdness. My difficulty lies in not knowing what these presentations are designed to accomplish. We are nominally supposed to "lead discussion" on Jacques Attali's Noise: The Political Economy of Music. In previous classes, however, the presenters have brought in vaguely related topics, or started talking about the text only to be interrupted/derailed by the professor's musings. Those students who post thoughtful email responses are outnumbered by those who post unformed musings, formatted in unpleasant ways (no capitals, for instance). I think I'm reacting to a general atmosphere of free-for-all, in part encouraged by the professsor, but taken to unhealthy extremes by students who feel free to let it all hang out, because it's poetry, man.

So I can direct my presentation to the thoughtful students whose feedback I respect. And to the professor, who has extremely intelligent responses to student commentary, even as he does sometimes upstage the putative discussion leader/s.

Maybe I'll post more on this after I've collected my thoughts on the book itself.

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