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THE COMMON READER
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From the Chair  |  In Print  |  Panels & Presentations  |  Awards & Appointments  |  Miscellany  |  From the Editor

Panels & Presentations

herodotusOn February 12, Julian Lethbridge presented the first in a series of four lectures concerning the nature of the Humanities. The lecture titled "The Place of History among the Disciplines" differentiated the sciences from the discipline of history and addressed the nature of verifiable truth within the contextualization of historical evidence.  Lethbridge, speaking jargon-free English and eschewing footnotes, conjectured about the methods of historical narrative and the perception of "intentional objects" in the post-modern era.  Lethbridge is the Visiting Distinguished Rivers Professor in International Affairs from the University of Tubingen, Germany.  The lecture series continues throughout February, culminating in the capstone lecture "The Function of the Humanities at the Present Time" on March 4.  All presented in Bate 1032 at 4 pm. His semester visit and lectures are sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Program in Great Books, the Office of International Affairs, and the Office of the Provost.

Don Palumbo presented a lecture on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot at the Carteret County Public Library in Beaufort, NC, on February 11, 2008.  Like a similar talk he gave in Rocky Mount in 2006, this event was part of the "Let's Talk About It" book series sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council.  Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) published nearly 500 books during his lifetime; I, Robot was first published in 1950.

Pat Bizzaro conducted two workshops at the Brody School of Medicine -- "Using Visual Aids in Your Research Report" on January 10 and "The Ethics of Medical Writing"on February 12.

livesJohn Hoppenthaler delivered "Poking the 'I' Out" at SAMLA, Nov. 9-11, in Atlanta, GA.  In addition, Hoppenthaler gave a reading of his poetry on January 29 in Bate 1032.  Hoppenthaler was introduced by Pat Bizzaro and a reception was held at the home of Margaret Bauer, editor of NCLR.  The reading featured poems from his new book Anticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008) and Lives of Water (2003) both published by Carnegie Mellon UP.

Timm Hackett gave two lectures -- "Using Macs in Education" and "Podcasting in the Classroom" -- at the 25th annual Atlantic Coast Business and Marketing Education Conference held February 14-16 in Raleigh.

Seodial Deena read his essay "Multicultural and Transnational Principles of Love Transcending Racial and Religious Conflicts" at the 6th annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, Hawaii, January 11-14, 2008.

Pamela Hopkins presented "The Discourse of Sermons: Narrative Style" at the 5th TALGS Conference held on Saturday, February 16, in the Bate Building.  According to Hopkins: "This paper examines the place of sermons in the field of discourse analysis and asks the question: Where do they fit? I review the literature that focuses on text analysis, critical discourse analysis and content analysis and conclude that sermons could fit into any of these categories. However, I, then, ask the question: Can religious sermons be classified as narratives? I look labov2specifically at two sermons, one in the Episcopal denomination and one in the Baptist denomination, and contend that the two sermons I examined clearly fit William Labov's definition of a narrative. As I show, both sermons contain the elements that Labov used to define narratives: abstract, orientation, action, evaluation, resolution and coda. I break the sermons down and show how each part meets one of Labov's elements, and I include the full text of each sermon in the Appendix, clearly showing on the sermons where each element is."

Also at TALGS, Hannah Butler (MA 2007) presented "Why can't we write the way we talk? Approaching Standard English in a Learner-Centered Classroom."  According to Butler: "ESL students have difficulty separating the language they learn in informal social contexts from the formal language they need to experience success in the classroom. Because they often speak with an accent and identify with minority students who speak nonstandard varieties of English, ESL students are often labeled as underachieving and unmotivated. The key to balancing the opposing realms of standard and non-standard English lies in understanding the dichotomy of written and spoken language. If students are made aware of the differences between what they say and write, they are affirmed in their social identities and empowered to participate in our SE-dominated classes.  I suggest that when my students can differentiate between the written and spoken realms of language, they become more proficient writers.  To measure a student's skill in differentiating between spoken and written language, I administered a 35-item YES/NO task that requires English language learners to indicate if a given phrase is allowed in written academic language. I made correlations between the survey results and writing proficiency levels, as determined by the IDEA (Individual Developmental English Activities) Proficiency Test (IPT)."

DOITrisha Capanski, also presenting at TALGS, gave a talk titled "The Declaration of Independence: A Linguistic Contextualization of a Revolutionary Idea."  According to Capanski: "As is known by most every American, the Declaration of Independence (DOI) is considered the most important document in U.S. history and is among the most heavily interpreted and fiercely discussed documents in modern history.  Many scholars have been captivated by its political eloquence, but as Stephen Lucas points out, 'there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration.' While Lucas explores the DOI's power by 'probing the discourse microscopically' at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable in convincing a polis that it is justified in its desire to break from its mother country, this presentation will perform an exploratory analysis at the macroscopic level that will contextualize the setting leading up to the Lucas paper. Precisely, it will focus on how the overall language and style of the DOI were results of rhetorical and technical communicative influence. Many scholars have acknowledged the possibility of the DOI being an exercise in eighteenth-century logic, while others consider its language to be persuasive through rhetoric rather than by convincing through logical proof, but little has been done toward crossing the languages of rhetoric and technical writing as a possibility in the creation of its style and formation."

On January 12, Tom Shields presented "Videotaping Archaeology:  Digging for the Truth or Watching Paint Dry?" at the annual conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology in Albuquerque, NM.  The paper, co-written with Charlie Ewen (Department of Anthropology) and Donna Kain, addressed archaeological field work videotaping sites and artifacts in Bath, North Carolina, the state's oldest incorporated town, and described how that material was transformed into video podcasts.


 
 
 
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