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Author Topic: Papers Being worked on (I'm working on X)  (Read 7343 times)
Posts: 1

« on: April 02, 2013, 03:58:16 PM »

With topic papers being due in a couple weeks (april 20 something) from what i read in Gordon's post I haven't seen a discussion yet on what papers are being worked on for next years topic. So this thread is in parallel to a post last year for people to post what they are currently working on or need help finishing up before they get submitted.

I heard a rumor that someone was working on an intellectual property rights paper? if that true can someone put me in touch with the author as well as scottlaczko (at)

Thanks and happy writing
kevin kuswa
Sr. Member
Posts: 345

« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 04:10:58 PM »

dates on this stuff from Gordon's post:

   Controversy Papers must be submitted by Monday, April 22nd.

   The topic selection committee will review these papers and submit a ballot to the community. The ballot will be open for a minimum of 14 days. Our current target is a release of the ballot on Saturday April 27th and an a voting period that extends through Saturday, May 11th.

   A community vote will determine the winning controversy paper. Any member of the community is then invited to submit wording papers. All wording papers must be submitted by Monday, May 27th.


I'm revisiting the economic inequality controversy paper, trying to determine how to provide some focus and what to do about the various possibilities for the agent of action (perhaps offering a number of options).  Folks who want to work on it or have feedback on last year's version, please contact me (kkuswa at csufresno dot edu).

Jr. Member
Posts: 53

« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 04:38:26 PM »

I am working on a treaties topic paper, if you want to collaborate you can email me at
Ryan Galloway
Full Member
Posts: 119

« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 08:55:51 PM »

I'm working on an increase affirmative action paper if you'd like to help please email

kelly young
Full Member
Posts: 237

« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 09:40:12 PM »

Several of us at Wayne State are working on a reduce presidential war powers paper. If interested in helping, please contact me at kel1773 at

Director of Forensics/Associate Professor
Wayne State University
kelly.young [at]
Posts: 25

« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 11:05:01 PM »

I'm working on an intellectual property topic. Feel free to message if you would be interested in contributing some research to the paper.

Jackie Poapst
Jr. Member
Posts: 96

« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 09:22:20 AM »

Rashad Evans and I are working on a paper about changing the Federal definition of things like Person, Citizen, Marriage, Poverty, Family.  Help would be very much appreciated, my e-mail is
Full Member
Posts: 153

« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 09:59:18 AM »

i'm not writing a topic paper, so please accept the following advice with my acknowledgements that the work being done by those who are is appreciated...

To treat this year's formulations of topic papers and potential resolutions like any other previous year would be a mistake. Many things happen in any debate season, but there has been at least one strong and consistent argument posited and successfully defended which should have enormous implications for how we as a community proceed with regards to the topics we choose to debate and the resolutions we craft for debating them.

"The USFG should..." should no longer be unproblematically accepted as the starting point for our resolutions. Multiple First Round teams, including the first team in history to win both CEDA Nationals and the NDT in the same season, have been arguing all year long that there are good reasons why they refuse to advocate from the position that the USFG can take ethical action. This perspective has been voiced before, in previous years. But those voices could be ignored, either because their numbers were such that the volume wasn't loud enough, or because the success of teams advocating from that perspective wasn't 'elite enough' to be counted. Neither is the case any longer. Our national champion has told us, multiple other 'elite' teams have told us, and the overall number of teams arguing this position have made it clear the time of reckoning has arrived. It would be an enormous mistake to ignore what they have been saying and its implications for how we construct resolutions. It would be an even bigger mistake to naively think that because they have been successful, no changes are necessary. The 'tipping point' has occurred folks. NOW is the time to account for the changes which have occurred in how this community debates. Rather than continue with stale framework-based "clash of civilizations" debates, we as a community need to not merely acknowledge what's going on, we must account for it. The resolution debated the first year there was a National Debate Tournament makes it clear that our current template for resolutions is not "how we've always done it."

With that preface, i offer the following (very extemporaneous) suggestions for how one might think of alternative constructions of resolutions:

1) Negative Action, passive voice This came up in conversation with others during nationals. Their idea works like this:
- the SQuo approach of future-oriented advocacy would remain in place.
- the use of passive voice is not new. My junior year, 1991-92, the resolution was "One or more US Supreme Court decisions recognizing a federal constitutional right to privacy should be overruled."
- 'negative action' means the AFF gets to advocate against a current policy being implemented/enforced in the SQuo. This is also not new. Prior to the current trend of unidirectional resolutions, there were several resolutions which employed the verb phrase "substantially change." My senior year, 1992-93, the resolution was "substantially change development assistance policy." Several high school resolutions since then have used the "change" verb phrase. The 'reduce restrictions on' portion of this year's resolution allowed for similar AFF ground. To give the unfamiliar an idea of how this might work, consider the 2012-13 resolution under this modified phrasing:
Resolved: Restrictions on domestic energy production from coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, wind power, and/or solar power in the United States should be substantially reduced.

This approach alleviates the concerns raised about defending USFG action, without diverging from a future-oriented, USFG policy-focused, model.

2) Policy Analysis - This approach to constructing a resolution would remain grounded in policy. But rather than require the AFF to advocate a 'new' policy, the resolution would require the AFF to analyze SQuo and/or historical policies. For example, there is a robust debate in the literature over whether the policies which led to the desegregation of public services (schools) and places (restaurants, hotels, and other businesses) were better attended to through the courts or through the legislatures, and there's a less common (though much more spiritedly debated) discussion in the lit about whether such changes which took place in the mid-twentieth century were beneficial as implemented. The idea that one is only 'doing policy debate' if one is proposing new policies to replace old ones is a myth not adhered to in any other forum, and one not shared by everyone in this community. Historians, Sociologists, and Political Scientists all exist in academic disciplines which engage in educational debates about policy, and many of them are focused on the past, not the future. By turning our attention to the past, we could craft resolutions that allow debaters to engage in research and argument focused on the USFG, without requiring them to role-play the USFG in an unethical manner. This approach is admittedly requires the greatest divergence from what we have become used to. But it also provides perhaps the most significant educational benefit. Debating the history of policy-making in any number of areas would keep the focus on 'policy analysis' (which is more accurate than 'policy making' when describing what we as scholars are doing in debate), while providing a more welcoming space for those for whom a focus on the future seems woefully negligent until we have learned from what got us to this point.

3) non-USFG actors - Kuswa has been carrying this flag for years, and the NDT community has had resolution which were not centered on USFG action. i've always thought a 'sports' topic would work best if the NCAA was the actor in the resolution, rather than the USFG. Depending on the topic area, there may be other non-USFG actors which would be better suited to act in the area we want to debate. Whether it be sub-national, supranational, or simply the national government of another nation-state, this approach could allow for all debaters to feel comfortable advocating action from this agent. (obviously, the USFG isn't the only agent which can be problematized, and this approach would need to account for that)

This is not a definitive take on the subject, merely an opening salvo into a much needed discussion. i don't offer the above as absolute solutions, but only as brainstorming ideas to assist in getting the ball rolling.

Speaking after the final round with Sukhi Gulati, who cleared at the NDT, about this very issue, she stated "we are in a transition," a quite-apt phrase that evidences her maturity and intelligence. This isn't the first "transition" intercollegiate debate has gone through, nor will it be the last. But just as this debater recognized, now is the time for the community to recognize where we are and thoughtfully attend to where we want to go.
Jr. Member
Posts: 66

« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 10:04:04 AM »

RE: Hester --

Some similar discussion has been happening in the NDT CEDA Tradition group --
Paul Elliott Johnson
Full Member
Posts: 134

« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 10:09:06 AM »

Would love to get more information about this thread, but am not on Facebook. If any of the participants over there have extensive thoughts similar to/responsive to/inclusive of what hester's saying, feel free to say some of em' here. I know some people have ideological issues with the CEDA forums or whatever so, if so, I get that.
Jr. Member
Posts: 73

« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 11:16:11 AM »

Would love to get more information about this thread, but am not on Facebook. If any of the participants over there have extensive thoughts similar to/responsive to/inclusive of what hester's saying, feel free to say some of em' here. I know some people have ideological issues with the CEDA forums or whatever so, if so, I get that.

finish your diss
Posts: 8

« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 12:51:25 PM »

I was thinking of open-sourcing a paper based around increasing legal protections for non-human animals. If you're interested in an invite please e-mail me:
WHRWNewsdirector (at) gmail
Posts: 7

« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 05:09:14 PM »

One thing that stuck out to me in Hester's post was the idea of bi-directional topics by use of the "substantially change" action verb.

The best debate topic that I was ever a part of was the 95-96 HS topic:

"The USFG should substantially change its foreign policy towards the People's Republic of China"

There was also 98-99: "The USFG should substantially change its foreign policy towards Russia"

Russia wasn't as good IMO because Affs focused heavily on "loose nukes" and other WMD related cases.

In retrospect I think that many view these topics as "too broad" for HS debate, but I think they're perfect for college. When both of these topics occurred, Kritik debate was in it's infancy (in HS at least)... I would be really interested to see how the China topic would be debated in 2013.

The "substantially change" phrase could be applied to domestic topics that would make for interesting debates. I think that "The USFG should substantially change its immigration policy" would make for in interesting college topic (had it not been debated a few years ago).  Could be a little too broad, but those are things that could be fleshed out in the topic paper and the subsequent topic debate.  
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 05:11:13 PM by t-money » Logged
Posts: 2

« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 08:55:25 AM »

It's entirely within the realm of possibility that I've simply invented this memory, but I believe that in the mid-to-late 1990s, Prof. George Ziegelmuller posted to eDebate and expressed the view that the community should debate a sports topic.  I remember being intrigued by the idea, but (much like now) had no active involvement in the debate community.  I was a little surprised that no one picked up the suggestion and ran with it -- partly because the idea seemed to have intrinsic merit and at least equally because I assumed that everyone a "how high?" approach to jump suggestions from Prof. Ziegelmuller.

Yesterday, I read something in Mike Hester's post to the forum (which cross-pollinated with a related discussion taking place on Facebook) that dredged up (and/or prompted me to fabricate) the Ziegelmuller-edebate-post-about-a-sports-topic memory.  As I recall, Mike used the NCAA as an example of a non-state actor that topic-drafting folks might want to consider in light of what Mike characterized as some watershed changes in the way a significant portion of the community thinks about things.

So, those two paragraphs of rambling introduction bring me to this: If there are a couple of other folks who might be interested in doing some heavy lifting, I'd be wiling to join a team to draft a controversy paper on "Reforming Intercollegiate Athletics."  It strikes me as a potentially timely topic area that (1) would present a unique opportunity for the debate community, which I conceptualize as the greatest think-tank in the world, to brainstorm solutions for a real problem in the community's own backyard, (2) plugs directly into many of the same race, gender, orientation, etc. diversity/inclusion issues about which many folks in the debate community would like to speak, and (3) would appear to offer some fertile ground for alternative actors and/or passive-voice constructions, e.g. "The member institutions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association should substantially reform intercollegiate athletics [by [[insert list here if that's your bag]] ]" 

Although I can see some potential in such a topic, I recognize that I lack sufficient familiarity with a lot of things about the current "state of debate" to properly evaluate significant questions like whether a topic could be created within that controversy area that would provide a year's worth of fertile ground for research and debate on both sides of the proposition.  I just don't know enough about many of the stock arguments referred to by labels consisting of thinkers' names to make that assessment.  I will also concede that although I consider myself a well-above-competent researcher, I was never great shakes at the whole "card-cutting" thing.  I honestly believe I'd have been better with modern technology (although I'm not entirely sure about the mechanics of how that works).  I enjoyed the process, I was just terribly inefficient with scissors and tape.  In any event, I recognize that there's no way that working on my own I could produce a controversy paper that met the initial-vetting-of-viability threshold expectations.   

But, if there are a couple of other folks out there who have some interest in such a project (and can augment my own sounding-more-meager-as-my-fingers-keep-typing skill set), we should be able to pull off a controversy paper to toss into the ring for discussion.  I anticipate that I'd be able to put 25-30 hours into such a project between now and 4/22 and would be willing to take responsibility for editing/compiling/assembling the overall product for submission by the deadline.

So, if anyone's interested in putting a project team together to drill some test wells and see if there's anything here worth purusing, shoot me an email at trevor.wells AT pisceandiscoveryinstitute DOT org [That's the most socially-acceptable of the various strange domain names I've claimed and use for non-work-related email correspondence.  It's from a children's story called _Yobgorgle_ by Daniel Pinkwater. I don't really work for a dot-org, although I'd trade just about any day on my actual job for a day in a rowboat seaching Lake Ontario for a sea monster].  If I have old friends who see this post and think this would be a terrible controversy area and an epic waste of time, feel free to backchannel those thoughts, too.  I have almost zero stake in what the community debates about.  I'd like to pop up at a few tournaments next year to reconnect.  For the moment, I'm not swamped at work, and I think I'd have some time to contribute to such a task.  If anyone wants to be a Face or a Howling Mad Murdock or a B.A. Baracus to my Hannibal, let me know and we'll give it a shot.

Posts: 13

« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2013, 10:16:39 PM »

myself and a few others (chris leonardi AKA the stallion, Trevor from Iowa AKA trooth, k-hirn, etc) are working on a paper that deals with the following issues
- campaign finance reform-- both the congressional solutions and court-based approaches (citizens united, buckley v valeo, etc)
- rules on lobbyists/K-street (the jack abramoff story)
- increasing government collaboration with the citizenry/reworking USFG architecture based on the existence of the Internet/other modern communications infrastructures

We are experimenting with the possibility of making us the agents..."r: the college debate community should increase its democracy assistance to the usfg" (sorry, can't let go of the last topic i debated) --- to be clear, we think that researching and defending the hypothetical consequences of a particular campaign finance reform by the USFG could count as a form of "democracy assistance," since we'd be legitimately calling on our gov't officials to implement a change

if interested in helping out, shoot me an email at zaneclarkewaxman at gma1l
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