Faculty Forum

Debating China – The Struggles and Triumphs of Promoting a Culture of Academic Argumentation and Advocacy in the People’s Republic

Dr. Kevin Minch and Dr. Li Xi

While American education institutions have increasingly divested themselves from academic debate instruction, academic debate culture is experiencing a meteoric rise in China.  Government mandates require English majors to take a speech and/or debate class and intercollegiate debate competitions have become a high-stakes activity. The promotion of persuasive speaking and academic debate, however, poses significant pedagogical, ideological, and cultural challenges in a culture that values harmony, sees importance in the preservation of personal “face,” and views critiques of government policy with caution.  This presentation will explore the unique challenges posed when teaching argumentation in an intercultural context while drawing insights about promoting ethical deliberative behaviors here at home.