Sean Tiffee—a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Language Studies and an Assistant Debate Coach at the University of Texas—has written an interesting post on the UTNIF blog about the role of argumentation in debate.
I made the decision to make my blog post about argumentation for two seemingly contradictory reasons. First, debate evolves at a pace that is simply staggering. The ninth grade debaters of today will be the ones shaping our activity in under a decade. As we all know, debate is a time intensive and life encompassing activity. While there are certainly coaches who have committed their lives to the activity, more and more seem to hit their early to mid 30s and decide they don’t want to lose every weekend for a minimal stipend, which leaves the activity in the hands of 20-somethings. A large-scale commitment of high school debaters to focus on argumentation today means that high school and college debate looks a whole lot different in less than 10 years. Second, as fast as our activity can change, we attempt to innovate among calcified thought. Some of these debates have already been had, they say, and there’s no point in going over them again. I disagree. While some of these debates have been had, it can be a good idea to revisit them with fresh eyes and the benefit of hindsight. In particular, I’d like to revisit a portion of a debate that took place in the Fall 1984 edition of The Journal of the American Forensic Association between Robert Rowland and Walter Ulrich. I know this is old school, but hear me out. Further, in the interest of full disclosure, I intend to cherry pick from these articles in an effort to initiate discussion and encourage you to seek out and read these relatively short articles yourself.
While I do not have the JAFA Rowland and Ulrich articles in my collection, I can share a few related articles that might be of interest to readers:
- Hingstman, David. “The Third Reunion of Argumentation and Debate in the Experiences of Debate Practice,” Argument in Controversy: Proceedings of the Seventh SCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, 1991.
- McGee, Brian. “Judgment after tabula rasa: defending ‘least intervention’,” Contemporary Argumentation & Debate (19), 1998.
- Rowland, Robert. “Debate Paradigms: A Critical Evaluation,” Dimensions of Argument: Proceedings of the Second SCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, 1981.
- Ulrich, Walter. “The Influence of the Judge on the Debate Round,” Argument in Transition: Proceedings of the Third Summer Conference on Argumentation, 1983.
If anyone has access to the fall 1984 issue of JAFA, please let me know.