Theory & Practice of Argumentation and Debate
This course focuses on the theory and practice of argumentation. On the theoretical level, we will seek to conceive the operations of social and personal transformation that can take place during debate. In particular, we will focus on the means by which arguments can turn on established bases of authority. These sites of commonplace meaning will not only be approached as potential supports for claims, but also as sites in which uncertainty can be created. On the practical level, we will interpret, analyze, and counter present-day arguments. We will also construct arguments of our own and test them in live debates. Finally, we wil consider the ways in which the contemporary U.S. government and mass media are actually structured, with an eye to developing pragmatic startegies for effecive advocacy.