Banned Books Literary Criticism Presentation Assignment and Googlemapping Exercise (UT Austin)

ENGL 314, Fall 2010

Charlotte Nunes

Literary Criticism Presentations


Literary Criticism Group Presentations are meant to familiarize you with the research process necessary to write an analytical research paper in the humanities.  As you know, your final papers for this class will involve elements of textual, historical, and cultural analysis; your (required) discussion of at least one scholarly article in your final paper will assist you here.  Since we have the privilege of working in a DWRL classroom, these presentations will include both a “mind map” (using NovaMind) and a Google map, to help you visually represent the content of your presentation.


Presentations will showcase one scholarly article, which you will research in advance and run by me for approval.  We will have one group presentation for each book.  All presentations will take place on the last day of discussion of each book.  You will notice that each presentation is scheduled for a Tuesday; one person in your group must be designated to e-mail the article to the class by 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding your presentation.  The reading assignment for presentation days will be the article under discussion.


Presentations will have four parts:


1) Article Summary and Discussion: introduce the article—what can you find out about the author and the publication in which you find the article?  Be able to summarize its main points and fit it into a discussion.


Questions to answer:

-What’s the thesis of the article?

-What are the most important reasons that back up this author’s claims?

-Which moments in the novel does the author refer to when backing up these claims?

-What kinds of research and resources does the author draw upon?  Some examples could be historical events, cultural developments, or political debates that were happening at the time that the novelist was writing; other examples include other scholars’ close-readings, reactions to the novel (such as book reviews), and theories about race or gender.  Basically, what resources does the author refer to that are outside of the novel?

-Are there any holes in the argument?

-What do you find particularly convincing about the argument?

-Can you identify further evidence in the novel that does not appear in the article but that might further reinforce or complicate the claims in the article?

-What “scholarly conversation” is the author of the article participating in?  (In some articles the author will explicitly state what conversation he or she is contributing to, but in others you might need to deduce what the conversation is.)


2) Mind Map: use the NovaMind program available on DWRL computers to construct a mind map to supplement your presentation.  You can decide what information to include in your mind map, but it must include at least three branches sprouting from the central node.  For example, you might use the mind map to represent information about the article itself, such as publication information, the author’s background, and the aspect of the novel’s historical context that the author features in the article; or you might map the article’s textual, historical, and cultural analysis.


For your reference, here are the modes of analysis we talked about on the first day of class:


Formal: The world of the text.  What literary devices does the author use and how do they contribute to the meaning of the text?

Historical: The world around the text.  How did the historical circumstances of the author shape the text and the way it was written?

Cultural: The text in the world.  What kind of “cultural work” has this text done?  How has the text contributed to or been used in various cultural or political debates?  What does the text tell us about prevailing cultural attitudes (about gender, race, or class, for example)?


3) A Google Map of the novel’s censorship history, including a statement of how this history relates to the novel’s social/political/cultural significance as discussed in the scholarly article.  Two excellent resources for censorship histories are:

Banned Books. Wachsberger, Ken, ed.  New York, NY: Facts on File, 1998.
Call Number: Z 658 U5 B36 1998 V.1-4 PCL

Censorship: A World Encyclopedia.  London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
Call Number: Z 658 W675 C38 2000 V.1-4 PCL Reference

Get help from a librarian if need be. 


4) Conclusion: close your presentations with a few questions for consideration for a discussion about the scholarly article and the novel it’s responding to.


Grading: you’ll be graded on content, organization, and delivery.  Divvy up the work as you will, but on presentation day, everyone must have a speaking role and it should be clear to me that everyone has contributed substantively to the project.  Be sure to practice in advance so that your transitions between speakers and between parts of the presentation are smooth.  Your presentation should have a polished, prepped feel to it.  There is no time minimum or maximum; the important thing is that you cover all the points you need to cover.


Some tips on delivery:

-Offer an effective attention-getter

-Deliver extemporaneously (do not read, although you can refer to notes), and with emphasis and enthusiasm

-Maintain good posture

-Maintain good eye contact

-Maintain a good pace

-Speak clearly and audibly

-Avoid distracting gestures



You can easily lose an audience in an oral presentation, so it’s important to leave “signposts” for them that signal very clearly that you’re moving from one stage of the presentation to another. A few examples include:

  • Let’s begin by…
  • Moving on to the next point…
  • Let’s consider this in more detail…
  • Let me briefly recap…
  • To start with…
  • To finish up…
  • In closing…


English 314: Banned Books and Novel Ideas

Charlotte Nunes

In-class exercise: Google Maps 


Work with a partner to construct a Google map.  You can e-mail me the Google map by hitting the “Send” button in the upper right hand corner of your map.  I always recommend that you back up your work by e-mailing it to yourself, as well.  Your maps must reach my inbox by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 10 in order to get credit.


Using Google Maps


1) You must have a Google account to make a mind map.  If you don’t have one you can sign up for one here:


2) Go to Google Maps:


3) Sign in if you need to at the upper right hand corner of the screen.


4) Click on “My Maps.”


5) Click on “Create new map.”


6) Fill in a title and description for your map.  Click the “Unlisted” button for now (in the future you can make your map public if you want.)


7) Click “Save.”


8) Add a placemark by clicking the blue placemark at the top left corner of your map, moving the cursor to where you want to put the placemark, and clicking the mouse.  Add a title and description.


9) Find an image to include in this placemark by doing an “Advanced” search in Google Images (  Click “Advanced Image Search.”  In the bottom right hand corner of the screen, change “not filtered by license” to “labeled for reuse.”  This will ensure that the images you find can legally be included in your Google map.  Once you’ve found your image, locate and “copy” its location on the internet.


10) Back in your placemark, click “Rich Text.”  Click the image icon all the way to the right of the toolbar.  “Paste” the URL to the image’s location on the internet.  The image should appear in your placemark.  Click “OK,” then “Save.”


11) Create another placemark.  Find a clip on YouTube (

to include in this placemark.  Click the “Embed” button below the clip to the right.  “Copy” the HTML code.


12) Back in your placemark, click “Edit HTML.”  Paste the “Embed” HTML code you got on YouTube.  Click “OK,” then “Save.”


IMPORTANT!  When you are done, click “Save” and then “Done,” in that order, or you might lose some of the content of your map.


For a more detailed tutorial, visit this site: