[eDebate] New debate scholarship

Gordon Mitchell gordonm+
Tue Jul 11 13:31:33 CDT 2006

Hi folks.

The three-year research project featuring former college debaters and  
coaches Rodger Payne (Kansas - early 1980s); Tom Goodnight (Kansas and  
Northwestern - 1970s-80s); Dan Reiter (Northwestern - late 1980s); and  
Robert Newman (Pittsburgh - 1950s-60s) is now complete.

Hitting First: Preventive Force in U.S. Security Strategy is in press  
(scheduled release date September 2006) and is currently on deep (37%)  
prepublication sale at Amazon.com:


Also out in the Quarterly Journal of Speech this week is the first  
publication vetted through the Schenley Park DAWG (Debate Authors  
Working Group), a nine-person collaborative of argumentation scholars  
based in Pittsburgh, PA:


The impetus for formation of the DAWG came from our observation that as  
the academic debate activity evolves on a trajectory roughly mirroring  
intercollegiate athletics, scholarly publications on academic debate  
have thinned out and migrated to specialty venues.

The sportification of intercollegiate debate presents exciting  
opportunities (e.g. the recent contract with Cable Sports Network), but  
also imperils key foundations of the activity. One of those foundations  
is the tradition of academic scholarship in debate, forged  
energetically in the early days of the speech communication field, but  
eroded recently by various factors making the publication of scholarly  
work on academic debate for a general readership difficult.

During the past year, we have been meeting (in Pittsburgh's beautiful  
Schenley Park) to generate publications that weave together forensics  
praxis, argumentation theory and social criticism, consistent with the  
following principles:

? DAWG scholarship thematizes academic debate (in its various forms) as  
an object of study. Academic debate can either be a point of departure,  
or an arrival point, of analysis.

? DAWG scholarship frames discussion of academic debate in expansive  
terms that are understandable to those not trained in the activity.  
Complex ideas and concepts can still be drawn from academic debate  
settings, but they need to be unpacked and explained in a way that is  
understandable for a general scholarly readership.

Last month at the International Society for the Study of Argumentation  
conference in the Netherlands, Pittsburgh's John Rief made the first  
public presentation of DAWG scholarship on a convention panel. His  
paper, "The Reflexive Turn in Academic Debate: Issues for the NDT  
Community and Argumentation Theory" reconsiders pragma-dialectical  
argumentation theory's concept of "higher order conditions" in light of  
recent trends in intercollegiate debate praxis:


Come join us in Pittsburgh and help unleash the Schenley Park DAWG!

* * *

Gordon R. Mitchell
Associate Professor of Communication / Director of Debate
University of Pittsburgh
CL 1117, 4200 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: (412) 624-8531
Fax: (412) 624-1878
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