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Tim and Topic areas
In our current system we are locked into a "problem areas" first and then
"topics" after that sequence. The vote for the problem area will take place
before the topic committee meets in July. Then, the topic committee will come
up with a list of topics for the membership to vote on.
Thus, you are not going to get a list of topics for each problem area before
you vote. However, as a member of the topic committee I want to encourage
people in the CEDA community to submit ideas for what they would like the
topics under each problem area to be.
At the topic committee meeting at nationals the favorite seemed to be the
Latin America topic. It was my suggestion, so I liked it. The reasons behind
liking it as a problem area included:
1. We have not debated about it in a long time.
2. The way we debate it will be quite different in a post cold war
3. Latin America is an important scene for a number of dramas which are
likely to be emphasized by debaters: indigenous people, development policies,
ecosystem protection, trade, multi-national corporations, human rights, US
military intervention, democracy vs. authoritarianism, debt crisis, etc. It
gives us a new backdrop for discussing things which are important to us
(given our issue selection track record).
4. However, it is probably the "least nuclear" region of the world. Now that
Brazil and Argentina have foresworn nuclear weapons and signed the Treaty of
Tlatelalco proliferation risks are low, involvement of other nuclear powers
isalmost nil, etc. I do not mind this.
5. It should be fairly easy to research. The popular press writes about it
quite a lot and scholarly books keep getting pumped out with an LA focus.
Now the question is, how should we go about structuring topics? I want to
invite everyone to pick a favorite problem area, and then write a series of
topics. Please post them for discussion and also send them to Pam Stepp, the
chair of the topic committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will attempt to do so for the Latin America topic.
Until then, I am curious about which sorts of topics people would like to
see. For example, we have just finished debating our first policy topic. Do
we want to have them on the list again? How about value and fact topics?
Should they or broad or narrow? Now is the time to recall what you REALLY
think about broad vs. narrow (as opposed to what you think when extending a
T argument) and speak your piece.
Here is my current plan for what I will do on the topic committee. Our job is
to provide a list of meaningful choices. I will strive for:
1. Topics which are fairly broad but bounded. I enjoy learning about the
broad sweep of an issue instead of just a tiny part. I would prefer a topic
about crime to one about gun control. Even over just a semester we need lots
of room to manuver. I frankly like to pick some affirmative case which is
both a good idea and fairly immune from the major negative positions on the
topic. This can be difficult. However, I will make sure to include a narrow
topic option on my list of 5 topics in case people want one.
2. A choice of topics: Which ones should we choose from?
-POLICY: "should" do something about Latin America.
-VALUE COMPARISON: value x more important than value Y in LA.
-QUASI-FACT: Something about LA has been good/bad.
-STRAIGHT VALUE: American practice X in LA is wrong/evil.
-QUASI-POLICY: Policy X in LA would be good/bad.
-STRAIGHT FACT: Fact X is true about LA.
3. Actively floating ideas for you to shoot down.
Tim's questions about which topics with which problem areas are good ones,
but the answer is that we are either going to have to do that work together
or accept whatever strange topics the committee comes up with on their own.
Please feel free to write a topic paper on any of the problem areas
suggesting possible topics.
Alfred C. Snider -- Tuna
University of Vermont
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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