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."

Sunday, April 22, 2007


A key premise motivating DAWG work is that the unique skill set honed during participation in intercollegiate policy debate has great potential to drive scholarly knowledge production outside the contest round setting. Surely one of the most unusual (and perhaps valuable) elements of this skill set is the ability to work for long periods of time in groups, often through the night, on common research projects. Through DAWG SLEDDing (Sleepover Leading to Edited Document Dump), we can mobilize this odd element of our skill set to produce awesome research products! To pilot this maneuver, I propose that we try a book review DAWG SLEDDing experiment:
* Participants convene at 8 p.m., bringing a book to be reviewed, copy of a target journal for publication, and a sleeping bag;

* No one leaves until all participants have had their completed book review edited by at least two other DAWG SLEDDers, and all book reviews have been submitted online to respective book review editors in a collective document dump.

Let's use the comment section to organize inaugural DAWG SLEDDing sometime in May! Keep your eyes on books you may want to review and scout out some promising journals to submit to - book review editors are some of the most starved-for-text creatures in all of academia, and many of them relish high-caliber, unsolicited reviews.