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Debates: Mar. 6 (topics 1 & 2), 11 (3 & 4),
13 (5). Briefs are due on debate day at the start of main class section.
In this assignment, you will integrate research and oral
communication skills. Teams are given a proposition to debate. A proposition
is a sentence expressing a judgment that you want the audience to accept.
Propositions express a judgment, are debatable, and require proof.
In this class, we will hear debates on environmental topics.
Each team is made of 2 or 3 people.
Here is how it will work.
1. Agree with your and opposing team on the precise
wording of the proposition, and define key and
ambiguous terms. If there are any changes to the wording, please
send the instructor and mentor an email and cc to all pro and con team
people so we are all on the same page.
2. Research your proposition and separately write a "narrative brief" for your side (pro or con).
A brief is a summary
of your main argument with supporting points and premises. Each side must
write a brief with the following items:
a. A proposition.
b. Two or three arguments. These are the main points you want to make.
c. Two or more premises under each argument. These support the argument. Each premise should be supported by at least one citation. Each premise should have at least two sentences.
d. A bibliography with citations
for at least 4 sources (2 mass media and 2 scholarly) . A scholarly source
is a book, academic journal, or interviews with scholarly experts in a
relevant field. These citations can be drawn from your annotated
3. Prepare for the debate. We will allocate 36
minutes to each debate issue. Each team will have 18 minutes of floor time
to make their case and rebut the case of their opponents. The debates will
be structured as follows:
Pro-proposition: 12 minutes to present pro-case.
Con-proposition: 12 minutes to present con-case.
Pro-rebuttal: 6 minutes to rebut con-case.
Con-rebuttal: 6 minutes to rebut pro-case.
Every person must speak. A good way to organize your efforts
would be to have each person speak for 6 minutes (for a team of three,
two people could present two arguments, one person could present the rebuttal).
The case is contained in the brief. You should bring
to the debate a copy of the brief or equivalent notes. The rebuttals
are developed during the debate, when each side listens for flaws in reasoning
or evidence in their opponents' case and points them out in the rebuttal.
A successful strategy can be to anticipate the arguments the opposing team
will make, and to have opposing arguments ready in advance.
A. Pro-proposition: Barbie is harmful to girls.
B. Argument 1: Barbie damages girls' self-esteem.
Premise 1: Barbie is an unattainable figure for most girls. Yahright (1988) found that Barbie's body proportions were 2 standard deviations from normal 18 year old females.
Premise 2: Research shows that girls are oppressed by unattainable figures (Bottoms et al., 1997). They indicate that girls' self-ratings decline when they compare themselves to fashion models.
Premise 3: Barbie makes girls value beauty over intelligence.
Brains and Smarts (1976) studied girls' value systems.
Argument 2: Barbie is a tool of commodity capitalism.
Premise 1: Barbie is very expensive, and requires expensive attachments. More...
Premise 2: Every year, Barbie comes with more things to
Argument 3: Barbie teaches girls the wrong values.
Premise 1: Barbie teaches girls that success means getting a man. More...
Premise 2: Barbie teaches that rich is better. More...
Premise 3: Barbie teaches girls that possessions are good.
Bottoms J., Majors D.E. and A. Jones (1997) Models
and Madness. Wow Books: New York.
Brains Y. and P. Smarts (1976) Girls' value systems: A
study of identity and development.
Female Development 3,
Yahright B. (1988) Barbie is not realistic! About Time
Magazine 1, 23-24.
At least one more reference...