Halfa Kucha

Pecha Kucha Background

pecha kucha is a particular style of oral and visual presentation where speakers present while showing 20 slides, each one timed to display for exactly 20 seconds. Hence, every pecha kucha presentation lasts for 6 minutes, 40 seconds. 

Here’s a sample pecha kucha, which I chose almost at random from the pecha kucha site, called “Drawing to Document,” by Charis Loke:

For your third major project this semester, you’ll perform something akin to a pecha kucha, but in order to keep the scope of the assignment manageable and to have enough time for you to give your presentations to the class, we’re cutting the number of slides you’ll have in half — so you’ll have exactly 200 seconds, with 10 accompanying images, to present your argument.

Trauma and Recovery

In Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence — From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Judith Lewis Herman observes:

The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.

Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves until their stories are told. Murder will out. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.

The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom.

The psychological distress symptoms of traumatized people simultaneously call attention to the existence of an unspeakable secret and deflect attention from it. This is most apparent in the way traumatized people alternate between feeling numb and reliving the event. The dialectic of trauma gives rise to complicated, sometimes uncanny alterations of consciousness, which George Orwell, one of the committed truth-tellers of our century, called “doublethink,” and which mental health professionals, searching for calm, precise language, call “dissociation.” It results in protean, dramatic, and often bizarre symptoms

And here’s another quote from the same book:

Recovery unfolds in three stages. The central task of the first stage is the establishment of safety. The central task of the second stage is remembrance and mourning. The central focus of the third stage is reconnection with ordinary life.

Assignment Fundamentals

Due: In class presentations on 4/5 and 4/7. (We’ll spend the first 45 minutes of each class on presentations. Please be sure to attend class on these days and be a good, attentive, respectful audience for your peers.)

Medium: This presentation will take the form of a “halfa kucha,” which means that you will create ten slides that will each stay on the screen for 20 seconds before automatically progressing to the next slide. Each slide should have a compelling visual image on it with no or very minimal text. Over the three minutes and twenty seconds of the slideshow you will explain your argument orally to the class. I will ask you afterwards to export the slideshow as a video or PDF to publish to your site along with a description of your argument.

Audience: The audience is your classmates, so they have read and thought about and discussed the books — you should not waste time summarizing the plot or giving basic background information that we’ve already discussed in class. But just like with other assignments this semester, assume that you are the smartest, most perceptive reader in the class and you have noticed things the rest of the class has not.

Tone: You can choose a tone ranging from casual to “academic casual” to very formal. Whatever fits your argument, personality, and presentation style the best. Remember, though, that you’re talking about trauma — so if you decide to be casual, still be respectful to the subject and to the sensibilities of your audience.

Title: You are required to have a really good, interesting title for your presentation.


Thinking about the two quotes from Herman above and Hillary Chute’s “Introduction: Women, Comics, and the Risk of Representation” that we read earlier this semester, present to the class an argument about how two or three of the books we have read this semester investigate and represent trauma and healing.

Reflection Prompt

Once you have completed your presentation, I’ll ask you to either send me the slides or ask you to host them on your sites — the latter is preferable but might be too much of a pain with the WordPress.com sites you’ve got. Then you’ll write a reflection post and link to your presentation wherever it lives.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *