Debate Proposal

For our second round of presentations, and also for our first major paper, we will study and analyze a controversy in our field and the debate surrounding it. Our understanding of “controversy” can go a few different directions here: it could be a disagreement between members of the field over what should be done in a given situation; it could be a new idea, theory, law, or innovation that changed the field in some way and gave rise to different perspectives; it could be a criminal case or some other incident that involved a breaking of the field’s norms and expectations. Just about any important incident, event, idea, or innovation that generated a debate or different perspectives within the field will work for our purposes (as long as we can find sources talking about the controversy and offering different perspectives on it).

Also, our understanding of the relationship between our controversy and the field can be flexible here as well. For example, the economic crisis of 2008, caused to a large extent by the housing bubble and derivatives trading, was not mainly about accountants, but it involved larger concerns with finance, business ethics, etc., and could be a relevant controversy for accounting majors. Concern over concussions in the NFL isn’t only coming from psychologists, but this controversy could be relevant for psychology majors. Of course, if you want to explore a controversy that is firmly within the confines of your field, that will work fine too.

Again, you will have an opportunity to explore this controversy and the debate around it through the second presentation and the first major paper. For the Debate Proposal, your challenge is to identify a controversy and to begin thinking about the debate surrounding it. Your paper should be one page (single-spaced, 12 pt font, 1″ margins), and it should respond to the following prompts and questions:

  • What is the controversy? How did it arise?
  • What are some of the key terms in the debate? Who are some of the main people in the debate?
  • How is the controversy significant for your field? How has the controversy affected your field?
  • Generally speaking, what are some of the ways people have responded to the controversy? What are some of the main positions in the debate?

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