Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lecture - Academic Debate Needs to Engage in the Public Sphere - Taylor Hahn - 3rd Better World Conference

Lecture - Academic Debate Needs to Engage in the Public Sphere - Taylor Hahn - 3rd Better World Conference from Alfred Snider on Vimeo.

Failure in the public eye: The need for renewed engagement of the public sphere in academic debate communities within the United States, Taylor Hahn, Clarion University of Pennsylvannia, USA

Identified as a core of intelligent and engaged academics, the debate community has historically enjoyed a privileged position in American culture. Unfortunately, the majority of these communities have developed into isolated groups of intellectuals whom rarely utilize their rhetorical skills for the good of public argument. Focusing specifically on policy debate in the United States, this paper argues that debate communities must increase their collective engagement of the general public. Offering multiple options on how to engage a wider audience, this paper identifies both debate competitors and their coaches as forces capable of increasing public engagement and debate through event organization and skill development. What was once a keystone of democratic dialogue, collegiate debate communities are now failing to appeal to groups and cultures outside of their own comfort zones. Working to bridge the gap between academic debate and public deliberation, this paper is an effort to call debaters and their mentors to action. As a former policy debater and current debate coach, I outline two critical goals of this paper. First, to identify flaws in the current system of collegiate policy debate in order to improve the activity. Second, to issue a word of caution to other debate communities, both domestic and international. Policy debate in the United States, while the most identifiable system in need of reform, should function as both a warning and an insight into developing holistic problems for debaters and their educators across the globe.

3rd International Conference on Argumentation, Rhetoric, Debate and the Pedagogy of Empowerment, October 2010, Maribor, Slovenia.

Further details can be found at the conference websites:
Basic information at debate.uvm.edu/​debateblog/​better/​Welcome.html
News blog at betterworldconference.blogspot.com/

The conference was organized by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor in Slovenia uni-mb.si/ , ZIP, Za in proti, zavod za kulturo dialoga/Pro et contra, institute for culture of dialogue zainproti.com/ , and the World Debate Institute of the University of Vermont debate.uvm.edu/​debateblog/​wdi/​Welcome.html .

The organizers are grateful for the support of our sponsor QatarDebate qatardebate.org/ .

Thanks to organizers Boris Vezjak, Alfred Snider and Bojana Skrt. Special thanks to Peter Mesarec, Monica Sobocan and Aljoša Polšak. 
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