For Contributors

Guidelines for Preparing Submissions

The curriculum units on Voices of Democracy consist of four documents:

  1. an authenticated speech text (or texts);
  2. a peer-reviewed critical/interpretive scholarly essay, published in the VOD journal;
  3. teaching-learning materials, including suggestions for classroom activities, student research, and citizenship resources; and
  4. a list of additional resources, categorized in terms of print, multi-media, and online resources;

Complete curriculum units should be submitted electronically as four separate WORD documents to Shawn J. Parry-Giles. Submissions should also include a title page identifying the author(s) with contact information (e.g., email address, phone number). All information identifying the author(s) should be removed from the other documents.

Authenticated Speech Text: Each curriculum unit should include a complete speech text, along with audio/video recordings of the speech or excerpts of the speech when available. The author of the unit must ensure that the text is part of the public domain, or that copyright permission can be obtained for publishing the text on VOD.

  • If there are multiple texts of a speech available, the contributor should choose a preferred text.
  • That text typically will represent the words that were actually spoken on the day the speech was delivered.
  • Authors may make a case for publishing a different text of the speech than the one originally delivered (e.g., the prepared speaking text, a version that was subsequently edited or published, or a version that circulated after its original delivery). That decision must be explained, justified, and approved by VOD’s co-editors.
  • The authenticated speech text should be single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, with double spacing between paragraphs.
  • Each paragraph of the speech should be numbered consecutively with the numbers placed in square brackets at the beginning of each paragraph.
  • Information about the text and its authentication should be included at the end of the text submitted to VOD but will be published on a separate page, linked off of the page where the text is published on VOD.

For more detailed information about textual authentication and a sample of the Authentication Information for a speech published on VOD, visit our Texts and Textual Authentication page.

Critical/Interpretive Essay: Critical/interpretive essays submitted for publication on VOD should be 15-25 pages, single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font. The essay should have a bold-faced title with the speaker’s name, the preferred title of the speech, and the date of delivery. For example:  Theodore Roosevelt, “Conservation as a National Duty” (13 May 1908).  That should be followed by the names and institutional affiliations of all authors, also bold-faced and centered, followed by (1) an abstract of about 75-100 words, and (2) a list of key words.  The Abstract and Keywords should be introduced by bold faced headings, flush left. Each essay should include an author’s note with the names and institutional affiliations of all authors, along with any credits or acknowledgements the author(s) might wish to include. The author’s note should be placed at the end of the essay, just before the endnotes.

The critical/interpretive essay should be prepared in conformance with the endnote style of the Chicago Manual of Style’s (17th edition). The typical essay would include the following:

  • An introduction articulating a clear and original argument about the speech or debate and its historical and/or rhetorical significance. The argument should make clear how the speech is relevant to one of the seven deliberative themes featured on VOD.
  • Biographical information about the speaker, particularly information that is relevant to the speech or debate (e.g., significant childhood experiences, religious background or training, educational and professional background, political experiences and/or rhetorical training).  The biographical information in the essay also might include a consideration of the speaker’s reputation and credibility at the time of the speech.
  • Discussion of the historical, political, and/or cultural context of the speech, including both long-term trends and immediate events that illuminate the rhetorical exigencies that gave rise to the speech or debate under examination. This might include an analysis of the issues, ideas, and/or controversies that the speech or debate engages, information about the location and the occasion for the speech or debate, and analysis of the various audiences for the speech, both immediate and removed.
  • An analysis of the speech or debate itself, engaging existing scholarship on the speech/debate, drawing upon archival sources that shed new light on the text, and/or providing an original interpretation based on close-textual analysis.
  • A conclusion summarizing the speech or debate’s legacy and relevance to ongoing social and/or political controversies and debates. This might include reflections on the implications of the analysis and the legacy of the speech for democratic deliberation, particularly as it relates to the seven deliberative themes featured on VOD.

In all critical essays, passages quoted from the featured speech (or speeches) should be cited with parenthetical references to the paragraph where the quoted material appears in the authenticated speech text published on VOD. At the first parenthetical citation, there should be an endnote explaining the parenthetical citations and referring readers to the text published on VOD. Here is an example of such an endnote:

“All 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 printed text that accompanies this essay on the VOD website.”

For more detailed information about formatting and style in critical/interpretive essays submitted to VOD, visit our Formatting Documents for VOD page.

Teaching-Learning Materials: Each VOD curriculum unit should include a third document with materials designed to help educators teach the speech at the college level. These materials should be organized in three categories, each introduced with a centered, bold-faced heading (Classroom Activities, Student Research, and Citizenship Resources), with individual entries numbered and single-spaced.

  • Classroom Activities: These typically will be discussion questions that teachers can use to help students understand and reflect further upon the historical significance of the speech or debate, or upon rhetorical principles or concepts illustrated by the text or discussed in the critical essay. Other discussion questions might focus on the relevance of the speech or debate to broader issues or controversies in American history. In addition to discussion questions, classroom activities might include creative ideas for other sorts of in-class exercises, like writing exercises or debates.
  • Student Research: These materials should help teachers develop assignments grounded in library or online research beyond the assigned text and critical essay. Typically, they consist of questions that students need additional information in order to answer, along with suggestions for where students might find such information.
  • Citizenship Resources: These materials should help teachers and students illuminate the relevance of particular speeches or debates to ongoing or current issues or controversies, or to America’s history and traditions of free speech and democratic deliberation. In preparing these materials, the author might emphasize how the speech relates to one or more of the seven deliberative themes featured on Voices of Democracy, or the materials might suggest ways students might themselves exercise their right to “get involved” or speak out as citizens.

For more information about formatting the Teaching-Learning Materials document, visit our Formatting Documents for VOD page.

Additional Resources: Each VOD submission should include a fourth document with a list of additional resources for the study of the speech or debate of interest. These materials should be organized into three categories, each introduced with a centered, bold-faced heading: Suggested Readings, Audio-Visual Materials, and Online Resources. The citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, and online sources should include hyperlinks.

For more information about formatting the Additional Resources document, visit our Formatting Documents for VOD page.