Welcome to Art of Conversation!

Faculty: Susan Fiksdal

Evaluation Week:  We will meet in Lab I 1014 for evaluation conferences because the floors in Bldg. C must be redone.  Bring your faculty evaluation or submit it to the program secretaries in Sem II A2117. This is an important document for the faculty portfolios, and an important part of the evaluation process each quarter at Evergreen.

Faculty Evaluation: What do you write in a faculty evaluation? These can be brief, and can address the program design (including components of the program, texts, assignments), faculty comments on assignments, quality of lectures, workshops, films, explanations of concepts, availability to meet, advising, and/or any other points about my work with you.  You should type this and sign it, and you can use plain paper or the form that you can download from my. evergreen.edu  Faculty only need one copy of this evaluation.

Self Evaluations: This was due Thursday!  Look on our Moodle site for more information and upload your draft there. We’ll talk more about your self evaluation in our evaluation conference.  These are very useful for your faculty in writing their evaluations of you.

Announcing 2 credit contracts for winter quarter and possibly spring quarter in “Discourse Analysis of Seminars.” Available for 3-4 students.

I have a large number of videotapes with clips of seminar discussions. I would like to transfer as many of these as possible to DVD.  Your work would include transferring them, and at the same time, you would watch them for particular moments of interest, given our work in Art of Conversation. You will identify particular moments that correspond to a list of features and transcribe them.  This work will be of enormous help to me as I write my book about seminars, and it will help you become independent analysts of discourse. I will be on sabbatical, and out of the country in the last weeks of the quarter, so your being able to do sustained, independent work is very important to me! For two credits, I would expect 3-4 hours of work/week.  Naturally, it would be possible to do more work one week and less or none another, but it would be ideal to do at least 20 hours of work by the end of week 5 so that we can discuss any questions that you might have and share ideas in a meeting during week 6.  You will also have an extra week to complete your work as I won’t be able to evaluate your work until the end of evaluation week.  I have more information if you are interested!

Program Description:

We engage in conversation every day and yet we don’t usually pay close attention to the ways in which it works. When a conversation seems to flow, or, conversely, when it awkwardly jerks along, we sometimes wonder why. The primary objective of this program is to investigate conversation and discover the way conversation works: how it is organized, how it constructs our social reality, and why we have misunderstandings because of these conversations. Using sociolinguistic principles and discourse analysis, we will look at various types of conversations and you will learn various methodologies for gathering data to analyze. Some conversations we examine will be cross-cultural, and we will use this term in its broadest sense, looking at conversations between people of different linguistic cultures, particularly those between genders, classes and ethnicities in the United States. We will examine the ways speakers create identity, draw on power and solidarity, maintain face, and construct a style. We do these things by drawing on linguistic resources and by jointly constructing, moment by moment, our conversations. The notion of “art” in conversation has to do with the patterning and variation and meaning we create. This is not a program that will help you learn to converse more easily; instead, it is a rigorous examination of the verbal and nonverbal behavior of conversation. This is a demanding program and your faculty expects that you will spend at least 40 hours, including class time, on the work.