Wednesday, March 25, 2009

debate and "Open for Questions"?

Greetings from Lil Rhody!

While thinking about curriculum for my fall 09 debate class (in which I am trying to critically integrate new media) I started thinking about the new "Open for Questions" virtual townhall the Obama administration has set up. You can check out the resulting blog post over at my new venture The Doxophiliac, but I thought this was a uniquely interesting question for the DAWG--that is, how can we take insight from competitive debate and apply it to the design of public forums like "Open for Questions." In the post, I suggests that these attempts to directly communicate with the public should be designed to help the questioner frame their concern in a way that encourages constructive deliberation, and that engaging in the process of question-formation is intrinsically valuable as well as instrumentally valuable (the process, in other words, is as important as the product). My thoughts at the moment are just preliminary sketches, but they seem to be pointing towards an interesting collective endeavor. What do you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rae-Dupree on Teamwork

Fascinating article here on teamwork and invention. What do you think?

Friday, December 05, 2008

DAWG Open House

DAWG revelers and friends assembled in San Diego at the National Communication Association convention this past November, to celebrate nearly three years of DAWG work and welcome new friends.

The occasion marked an opportunity to unveil the newly-minted, official DAWG logo, and to give away a related line of DAWG swag as part of a "Debate Balderdash" competition. Here, contestants were given a hypothetical term and asked to generate ingenious definitions of that term, with subsequent votes determining the most popular entries (and winning contestants). Some highlights include:

for the term "hyper-non-uniqueness",:
- "A word used to refer to groups that believe they are unique but are in fact both conformist and lame. Goths are an example of hyper-non-uniqueness" (Joe).
- "An awkwardly over-enthusiastic attempt at overwhelming the link" (Taylor).
- "The phenomenon when you realize that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else" (Damien).
- "An extreme aversion to non-normative social constructs characterized by debilitating inability to think outside the box" (Andrew).
- "The state of ultimate, brutal, heart-aching conformity that kills a disad" (Carly).
- "An extreme sameness" (Brita).
- "The act of non-uniquing a disad so quickly your opponents don't even notice it - Boo-yah!" (John).

for the term "D.M.T. argument":
- "Destructive Maintenance of Temerity" (Autumn).
- "Double Mulitplicity Turniness Argument" (Marcy).
- "Damn its Mitchell time Argument, where quality of arguments are sacrificed for speed aka Gordon Mitchell" (unidentified).
- "Demilitarized Ticks - Ugly bloodsuckers which thankfully don't carry Lyme disease, bickering" (Cate).
- "Damien Mother Trucker" (unidentified).
- "Damning Mitigation of Timeframe" (Taylor).
- "Assertion based on the diagram of mutual truculence" (Andrew).
- "Dazzling Monstrous Thunder argument that truly brings the noise" (Carly).

for the term "Refutocracy":
- "A system of government based on a decentralized system of refugees integrated by common water and sewer transport" (unidentified).
- "Form of government characterized by staunch opposition to published scientific findings."

for the term "Vice-presidential burden of proof":
- "The requirement to prove an assertion beyond a glimmer of halfhearted belief" (unidentified).
- "The requirement that one must prove you didn't shoot someone in the face" (Damien).
- "Shooting in the face to ensure agreement" (Joe).
- "No proof needed - shotgun involved" (Marcy).

for the term "counter-maximalist fiat":
- "A car driven by Emperor Maxilullus that is overall ghetto, and thus counter-emperorial" (Tom).
- "When an administrative decree is reversed because it is so damn awesome" (Damien).
- "An order given by the shortest person in the room" (Andrew).

When all the dust settled and the points were counted, TOM ended up on the top of the Balderdash heap, and this position afforded him first pick of DAWG swag, which he used to select a DAWG tie (see image to right).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

DAWGS, Moose & Mountains

"DAWG Power: The Synergy of Writing in Packs" has been presented at the 15th NCA/AFA Alta Argumentation Conference, with the manuscript submitted for possible publication in the conference proceedings. You may note a DAWG first in the acknowledgment section, where the animals below are thanked:

During the panel Q&A, there were two questions that came our way. Tom Goodnight asked a two-parter: 1) What topics are best?; 2) How about institutional support for co-authorship? In my answer to this, I went big picture, arguing that complexification of society creates an exigence for interdisciplinary research. I forgot about the obvious answer, that our DAWG picks topics by looking for issues that originate in the intercollegiate debate community and have relevance for wider society, or in the other direction, are big society questions that come home to roost in intercollegiate debates (remember this for job interviews!). Goodnight followed up by saying that he is currently involved in a big interdisciplinary, international research project covering China and economics.

Rae Lynn Schwarz-DuPre asked whether the NEH grant concept (briefly floated in the conclusion) might invite a backlash in the debate community. She signaled that maybe it would be better to organize competitive DAWGS in summertime, outside of the competitive tournament grid. I responded with: 1) Yes, more meetings would be great; 2) Schenley Park DAWG pushes back against sportification, so it is understandable that there would be resistance. Then I asked her what she thought the elements of resistance might be, and she explained that she foresees opposition from undergraduate debaters and debaters who resent top shelf judges being pulled out of the judging pool to participate in scholarly research endeavors. My response was that I am eager to hear conversations between those advocates of sportification and the grad students who won funding to have time for scholarly research at debate tourneys.

Others in an audience of about 20 included Robert Rowland, Chair at Kansas; John Katsulas, Director of Debate at Boston College; Cate Palczewski, Director of Debate at the University of Northern Iowa, and James Klumpp, Chair at Maryland. Congrats to each of the co-authors for their excellent work on this fun paper, which I think will provide good long-term momentum for our project.

Before signing off, here's another Moose video, shot two days later, right in front of the Rustler lodge, where argumentation scholars almost committed a dangerous fallacy: Argumentum Ad Trampulum!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DAWG pack pandemonium!

Our first coauthored piece, "Debate as a Weapon of Mass Destruction," appears in the June 2007 forum section of the NCA journal Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies. Kudos to lead author Eric English, whose inspired front mushing enabled us to crank this piece out in between forum editor Barb Biesecker's request to write (November 17, 2006) and her final acceptance of the manuscript (January 10, 2007) - under two months.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Violins and Bassett Hounds

BrentS, Cate, Eric, Gordo and John gathered at the Schenley Park Visitors Plaza on May 4, 2007 for a DAWG meeting. The first order of business was to sample an iced tea Americano, a uniquely vile concoction whipped up by the smiling waitperson who somehow jumbled drink orders all together. But delightful dapples of sunshine splashing through the windows kept spirits high, and even inspired Cate's artistic hand (you've already seen the resulting masterpiece; read on for the backstory).


• "Deliberating Debate's Digital Futures" has been formally accepted for publication in Contemporary Argumentation and Debate. Lead author Carly Woods has negotiated successfully to see the proofs before the article goes to print (a good example for future lead authors to follow).

• The writing team for "DAWG Power" is now in place: Gordo, Matt, Eric, Cate, John, and Carly. Gordo indicated that an organizational email on this project will be romping through cyberspace soon.

• DAWG SLEDDing is heading toward critical mass, with a brave pioneer group composed of BrentS, Cate, Carly, Eric and Gordo. Tentative timeline for event is second week of June. If you're already a pioneer, pick a book and target journal and start reading up! Others: Still time to join!

• Revisions of Co-authorship Guidelines 2.0 approved on a 6-0 email vote.

• We now have a handy DAWG co-authorship worksheet for use in breaking down each co-author's precise contributions to each project. Gordo served as trial guinea pig for testing the effectiveness of the worksheet during his annual review, and preliminary responses by the Department Chair were very encouraging. Key topic here: keep detailed records of the meetings and exact nature of your involvement on each project; this will bolster credibility of the worksheet down the line when the time comes for evaluation of your role in collaborative work production.

• Logo and manifesto committee report update - Gordo announced that Damien is working some clever family connections to get help in designing a DAWG logo, and that early design concepts included a dog wearing glasses. Within minutes, Cate sketched the above!! Preferences about glasses high or low on nose? Comment section!

Ehninger's Argument Violin

The group spent the remaining balance of time chewing over Gordo's draft of "Ehninger's Argument Violin," a paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Argumentation, June 27-30, 2006, University of Amsterdam. Conference organizer Frans van Eemeren has invited Gordo to revise his essay and submit it to the journal Argumentation. The roundtable discussion was lively and insightful, producing multiple, promising avenues for revision. Especially tantalizing - the idea that pragma-dialectical argumentation theory's distinction between "strategic maneuvering" and "fallacious derailment" of a critical discussion can be sharpened by developing the essential role of rhetorical contingency assumed in key elements of pragma-dialectics' "ten commandments."