Infrequently Asked Questions

Circle-no-questions
Circle-no-questions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why do I feel that coming to an event like this, ostensibly only about debating, do I find more people interested in my research and interested in my writing than I found among the professors in my field that I studied with in graduate school?

Why is it that "the choice" - that you have to either become a debate coach OR a scholar, seem so incredibly silly when I am at these events? 


Perhaps it's because that NCA or field of rhetoric "old guard" who assume debate is for immature thinkers to gain maturity, or for students to be introduced to rhetorical or communication theory, but after that it really is for those malformed thinkers that could have been scholars, but failed/chose not too/couldn't cut it, are not present, and would never be present at an event that centers around teenage students, high school students, or beginning undergraduates. If this is true, how do you persuade these reviewers that debate, as a practice, as a living thing, is just as valuable as the discourse of Mitt Romney for the study of rhetoric? Does pointing at how English Composition departments are ahead of us in this respect help?


Why is it so clear that there is a field-wide bias against debate in the scholarship of the field of rhetoric, mostly perpetuated by senior scholars who either practiced debate as an undergraduate, or perhaps couldn't "cut it" as debaters, like the negativity I experienced toward debating as an undergraduate from particular scholars in my rhetoric department at that time?

Flipping the classroom is a popular idea in teaching right now. Could debate serve as a place which we can innovate, as it traditionally has in the field of rhetoric, by flipping the scholarship of the field in an analogous way? Imagine journals containing the narratives of experiential learning from debaters that are explored in the 50 minutes of your University class for connections or disruptions to theories that often take on no more reality for students than that of a spectral powerpoint slide?

How do you persuade scholars of argument that they have the best living laboratory in which to workshop ideas, test theories, and explore the limits of propositional argumentation as an idea every weekend at a campus near them?
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