conference proposal & presentation w/ commentary

Due date: 28 Nov. (no class meeting 26 Nov.; instructor in office for research consultations) 

Developing manuscripts of proposals and papers should be reviewed earlier with instructor

Components & lengths:

  • paper proposal: 1-2 pages (This is not your research proposal for the course, but a proposal to send to a conference.)

  • paper 7-10 pages

  • commentary 2-3 pages

For this assignment, the student must confer with the instructor. The second consultation must be two weeks before the due date so student & instructor can review status and potential improvements.

Advantages to this assignment: much documented work by professional scholars and writers takes place at conferences or symposia. Scholars and writers meet each other personally, share research, learn opportunities for publishing or collaboration.

Sample of conference presentation: Craig White, "The Harlem Renaissance: Blackness Reborn." National Association of African American Scholars, 1995.

Student sample completing this option for another seminar (no commentary):

Helena Suess, Combat Experience: Class Politics in Autobiographies of American Soldiers

Jonathon Anderson, The Public Poe: Wit, Satire, and Social Commentary in the Work of Edgar Allan Poe

Roslynn Kelley, The Reconciliation of Magua

Meryl Bazaman, Abstract / Proposal; Paper: "Emerson's Internal Revolution"; Commentary


  • paper proposal: 1-2 pages (This is not your research proposal for the course, but a proposal to send to a conference.)

Develop a 1-2 page proposal to submit to a graduate student research conference. Default will be the 19th annual UHCL Student Conference for Research & Creative Arts, scheduled 17-18 April. Deadline for proposals is usually in early spring semester.

  • paper 7-10 pages

Assuming your proposal will be accepted, develop a 9-11 page paper to present at the conference (present = read aloud).

Topics may be comparable to other research assignments but probably more limited, provisional, or focused. (Conference presentations often feature "research in progress"--that is, the research and writing of a longer article or book have not been completed, but preliminary results and potential extensions are ready for preview and feedback.)

An important feature of conference papers is that they are read aloud, so the writing must usually be less dense or demanding than a text that one expects to be read from a page or screen.

Reasons for required conferences with instructor:

  • Such an assignment is unfamiliar to most students.

  • Coaching on writing is required because the paper must work as a spoken performance.


  • commentary 2-3 pages

Review the status of your research and next steps for development. Ask questions of instructor. Relate project to objectives and highlight learning achieved.

(If enough students choose and complete this option, we may propose a panel composed of presenters from our seminar.)