For Contributors

Guidelines for Unit Preparation

The curriculum units on Voices of Democracy should emphasize one of the seven themes or “deliberative topics.” The units should connect to enduring issues, making clear the relevance of the case study to on-going social and/or political controversies and debates.Each curriculum unit is comprised of five documents:

  • 1) an authenticated speech text (or texts);
  • 2) an critical/interpretive scholarly essay;
  • 3) teaching-learning materials, including classroom activities, suggestions for student research, and citizenship resources;
  • 4) a list of additional published, multi-media, and online resources; and
  • 5) technical specifications.

Contributing authors are encouraged to examine existing, published units as models for guidance.

Complete units may be submitted electronically as five Word documents to Shawn J. Parry-Giles (#spg@umd.edu). Submissions should also include a title page identifying the author(s) and specifying contact information. All author identifying information should be removed from the other unit documents.


The Authenticated Speech Text: Each curriculum unit should include a complete speech text, along with audio/video versions or excerpts of the speech when available. The author of the unit must ensure that copyright permission will be granted to post the speech before a unit can be accepted for review.

  • The unit should include a transcribed version of the preferred text.
  • The author needs to supply a transcription of the text that (s)he believes best represents the words that were actually uttered on the day the speech was delivered.
  • If the author wishes to publish a different text of the speech (e.g., the version that represented the prepared speaking text, a version that was subsequently edited or published, or the version that circulated after its original delivery), that decision must be explained and justified.
  • The authenticated speech text should be single-spaced with double spacing between paragraphs.
  • Each paragraph of the speech should be numbered consecutively with the numbers placed in square brackets; the speech text should be double spaced and the opening line of each paragraph should be indented.
  • The following authentication information should be placed at the end of the speech text:
  • Bibliographic List of Sources (Sample):
  • Kerry, John F. “Statement of John Kerry, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” New York: Encyclopedia Americana/CBS News Audio Resource Library, 1971. Audio Tape. [=A] (Version A represents the copy-text—the text that will be featured on the VOD web site.)

Kerry, John F. 1971. “Statement of John Kerry, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” In Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia. United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 92d Congress, lst sess., April 22, 1971. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office: 180-185. [=B]  (Version B represents another version that is compared to version A; version B may be used to answer paragraph issues, spellings, correct word usages when uncertainties exist with version A)

  •  Statement of Editorial Procedures:

    The copy-text is Kerry 1971 (=A), an audiotape representation of the delivered speech. This selection was based on the plausible efficacy of the delivered speech before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the large number of listeners and viewers of the speech both on live radio and television and subsequently in various venues.

    Kerry 1971 (=B) is followed for paragraphing, spelling, and punctuation.

    Paragraph numbers have been added in square brackets.

    Indications of any normalization of the text (usually spelling or pronunciation) are addressed in the notes below.

    Non-grammatical forms have been changed and noted to reflect standard grammatical forms of language as reflected in (B).

    The text of this edition has been thoroughly checked and proofread.

    All double quotation marks are rendered with “, all single quotation marks with apostrophe ‘.

    This copy text is not subject to end-of-line hyphenation.

    Special characters and characters with diachronic marks: paragraph 45, communiqué.

  • Departures from the Copy-Text and General Editorial Procedures:

    Departures from the copy-text and general editorial procedures are as follows (reference numbers specify paragraph in which the departure occurs):

Notes (Instances where the language found in version B is used over the language in version A)

1 I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that B: blank tape A

6 result is of the feelings B: result is of of the feelings A

14 money B: monies A

17 North Vietnamese because B: North Vietnamese because because A

25 going to B: gonna A

29 indignations B: indignancies A

29 lain down B: lied, lain down A


Critical/Interpretive Scholarly Essay: Each essay should contain an introduction, complete with a detailed argument about the speech, as well as a conclusion that assesses the speech’s legacy and its relevance to issues of civic engagement and democratic deliberation.  The essays are expected to be 20-30 double-spaced, typed pages. The information contained in the curriculum units should be appropriately cited using the Chicago citation style for endnotes (15th edition). The typical essay  would address the following topics:

  • Review of the speaker’s biographical background that is relevant to the speech or debate (e.g., childhood, religious, educational, professional, political experiences and/or rhetorical training), which would likewise include a consideration of the speaker’s reputation and credibility at the time of the speech.
  • Discussion of the historical, political, and ideological contextual dimensions that offer an enriched understanding of the speech or debate under examination, which could likewise address the delineation of the rhetorical exigencies that gave rise to the speech or debate, the assessment of controversies surrounding the issue that existed at the time of the speech or debate, the review of the location and the occasion for the speech or debate, and the identification of the various target audiences for the speech.
  • Completion of an original and insightful analysis or critical interpretation of the speech or debate, which reflects the overarching argument about the historical and rhetorical significance of the speech, its connection to the deliberative topic area, and its relevance to ongoing social and/or political controversies and debates.
  • Each essay should integrate scholarly analyses and existing interpretations of each speech/debate.
  • The completion of archival research in support of the essay is encouraged.
  • The essay should feature a conclusion that emphasizes the legacy of the speech, the implications of the analysis, and an assessment of how the speech relates to contemporary political or social controversies or otherwise has enduring relevance, which grapples with the implications of the case study for contemporary issues of civic engagement and democratic deliberation.
  • Parenthetical paragraph numbers should be used when referencing the speech (22).
  • When first referencing the speech in the essay, a statement resembling the following should be placed in the notes: 

    All of the remaining passages from Kerry’s April 22, 1971, speech before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations are cited with reference to paragraph numbers in the speech that accompanies this essay.

  • Following the essay, an author’s note should be included along with an abstract not to exceed 75 words, and a list of key words.

Teaching-Learning Materials: Three Categories—Classroom Activities, Student Research, and Citizenship:

  • Classroom Activities (discussion questions): help teachers and students understand and address the historical significance, the rhetorical principles, and/or the contemporary relevance of the speech or debate in its historical context.
  • Student Research: help teachers develop assignments designed to be used in the humanities classroom.
  • Citizenship Resources: help teachers and students illuminate the contemporary relevance of the unit to America’s tradition of democratic deliberation and help equip students to exercise their own right to speak out as citizens.

Each entry should be single-spaced with double-spacing between entries.


Suggesting Readings, Audio-Visual Materials, & Online Resources: Three categories ordered accordingly—Suggested Readings, Audio-Visual Materials, and Online Resources.