Yesterday, April 27th marked the day of our Ramonat Presentation. While the entire class had a graded practice-run for the symposium earlier in the week, the actual symposium symbolically marked the end of the Ramonat seminar for us scholars. Our final paper is due on Thursday; however, ultimately, the Ramonat builded and culminated into presenting our research publicly. This provided me with the opportunity to craft a presentation that was meant to be both entertaining and informative. Using the inspiration of many lecturers and lecturing styles I’ve had at Loyola, I believe I presented to the best of my ability, given that my paper still must endure its final edits and redactions.
I wanted to be creative, but I also wanted to reign true to the statement that “historians tell stories.” So, I told two separate stories: 1. a brief story which detailed my own personal journey, which provided a snippet into my personal research journey and inspiration behind pursuing such a daunting project, and 2. the actual story and premise of my argument: how Little Italy came to fight Richard J. Daley in the 1950s-60s. I wrote a speech that reflected this desire, and I recited it numerous amounts of times in front of the mirror, the wall, my closet friends, and my colleagues at work. After establishing the groundwork of my initiative, I knew I had to then factor in my argument, analysis, or opinion on the historical happening. This task required the ability of concision: determining what you want your learned audience to know about a story they may or may not have heard about before. The best way to communicate this point, in my opinion (and after watching Dr. Bucholz do it many times!), in consolidating what I have to say in the form of takeaways. Using the rule of three, I crafted three takeaways from my paper. The first being the closest to the actual story itself (the correlation between the university, Daley, and Little Italy), the actual conflict in focus (what can be said about Little Italy and Daley and their disunion), and finally how historians can learn from this example. After constructing this speech and practicing with much passion (as with most history professors!), I presented.
I want to say I did a good job for an aspiring lecturer and historian, but I will leave the ultimate judgment to my audience. This opportunity provided me a glimpse into the real work of academics, who build arguments, present arguments, and hopefully inspire the will and desire to converse about topics with like-minded peers. I hope to have a place in historical rhetoric and dialogue in my future, but I definitely need more discipline, humility, and hard work in order to accomplish this wish. But, I think I did O.K. for someone just beginning their 20s. 🙂
Thank you to Dr. Shermer, Ruby, and Dr. Roberts as well as the countless other history professors and teachers that have aided in my journey thus far. I promise, with some rest, I will not disappoint.