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COM 557, Spring 2011 – Reading Guide Questions for March 1


For Bennett:

1. p. 311: What's his argument for studying evidence as storytelling instead of relying solely on the self-reports of trial participants?

2. p. 312: What does he say is a lawyer's overall strategy in a trial?  What does he mean by that?

3. p. 312: He says that the narratives that emerge from testimony must br "structurally complete and internally consistent.  What notion from rhetoric does this remind you of?  (If you're not a student of rhetoric, don't worry.  We'll read about this notion right after spring break.

4. p. 312: What does he mean by "cannot by offered directly by lawyers [but] must be coaxed from the witnesses?"  What is the significance of this?

5. p. 312: What does he say makes courtroom storytelling so challenging?

6. p. 313: What does he say a story consists of?  What's that mean?

7. p. 313: He says each rhetorical move in a story serves one of three functions.  What are they?

8. p. 314: How do the two snippets of testimony on this page illustrate definitional tactics?

9. p. 315: What is the overall goal of definitional tactics?

10. pp. 316-317: How do the two snippets of testimony on these pages illustrate connecting tactics?

11. p. 318: What is the overall goal of connecting tactics?

12. pp. 319-320: How do the two snippets of testimony on these pages illustrate credibility tactics?

13. p. 320: What does he mean when he calls credibility tactics "disruptive?"

14. pp. 321-322: How would you evaluate the competence of the defense's questions in the snippets of arson trial testimony on these pages?  Why?

15. pp. 322-323: So what's the significance of Bennett's notion of evidence-as storytelling?  Of the definition-connection-credibility typology?

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