By Bethany Meadows, English and Integrated Language Arts major
Conversations were abuzz as scholarship and research was brought to life at the National Collegiate Honors Council. This conference for Honors students across the United States brought together all disciplines for panels, workshops, presentations, poster sessions, and much more. I attended the NCHC conference from November 8-12 in Atlanta, Georgia as a presenter.
At the conference, I was on a Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel (SIRP). There were four of these panels during the entire conference, meaning that only 12 people out of over 1,000 speakers were selected to present. My panel, “Film Studies: Heroes, History, and Time,” featured two other presenters and me. One of my fellow panelist presented on the presence of Jospeh Campbell’s hero’s journey in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, and the other panelist discussed the use of time in Bergman’s Winter Light.
My presentation was an excerpt from my Honors capstone that I defended in May 2017, “History v. Film: An Examination of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Rhetoric and Ava DuVernay’s Selma.” For Ava DuVernay’s film, she did not receive the rights to King’s historical speeches; therefore, she had to create her own speeches for the film in the spirit of King. In analyzing the rhetoric of both the historical and the film’s, I shared how the archetypal metaphors of the dark/down, war, and the rising light allow DuVernay to remain rhetorically similar to King.
I had 15 minutes to present my theoretical frame, background information, and a close reading example from the “Our God Is Marching On!” speeches. Then, following all three of our presentations, we had 30 minutes of Q&A from the audience.
During this time, I was fortunate enough to get to have a discussion with three audience members about irony in King and DuVernay’s rhetoric along with how they establish and take away rhetorical agency. I know that they may not sound fun to everyone, but to me, it was amazing to get to talk academically with other faculty members about rhetoric, which is my favorite topic in the world. At this conference, my research was brought to life, and I look forward to going to more conferences in the future to continue to bring research and scholarship to life.