Getting geared up to go to Belgium later this month for a conference on Rhetoric, Politics, Ethics (for some reason, I find the lack of an "and" in the conference title kind of cool). Now that I'm no longer worrying about how I'm going to pay for the trip, I can spend some time productively--worrying about what I'm going to say. I've got a paper that's about 8500 words and I'm still fiddling with the conclusion, which will probably make it longer. I've got 20 minutes in which to deliver it. So I'm trying to figure out what can be cut out of the oral presentation. My subject is presidential inaugural addresses in Taiwan, so I figure I'm going to need to keep a lot of the background information in, otherwise the presentation will be incomprehensible to most of the people at the conference. I suppose I can keep my quotations from the inaugurals to a minimum (though that means my audience will miss out on the A-bian imitation I've been working on).
I think this will be a good experience, though, because it's one of those times where I'm talking about Taiwan to people who probably don't have more than a general knowledge about Taiwan and its history. I need more practice with that, I think. It'll be interesting to see how clear and meaningful I can make my presentation in terms of the conference's focus.
[Update, 4/18/05: I've managed to cut the paper down from 30 double-spaced pages to 15, by cutting out all the inaugural addresses except for those of the democratically elected presidents. The word count is reading 5,218 right now, but I think I need to cut out more. At the same time, I've got to make sure this thing still makes sense to people who don't know much about Taiwan's history...]