Announcing NSD Briefs!

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NSD is pleased to announce an exciting new debate briefs project. NSD’s briefs are a bit different than the ones with which you are probably familiar. Unlike other briefs, NSD’s briefs aim to give you resources and knowledge to help you win debates using a type of argument or position. To name a few examples, we have entrees on black nihilism, post-humanism, Wittgenstein, and borderlands. Accordingly, our briefs don’t give you an overview of the stock arguments on the current topic. Instead, they teach you how to construct arguments from a diverse literature base that will help you succeed across topics. We believe that our approach to briefs offers a number of advantages:

First, each brief packet contains a set of articles with a common theme. For the initial launch, NSD is releasing brief packets in the areas of Analytic Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, and High Theory. The goal of each article is to walk the reader through a position/argument, explaining the components of that position/argument, and walking you through how to construct and run that position/argument. This will include the arguments themselves, the function of those arguments in the larger narrative or syllogism, the strategic utility of the arguments, and a defense of the argument against possible objections. Additional resources, such as bibliographies and evidence, are also provided to assist students in constructing the positions.

Second, while generic topic overviews or masses of cards help students gain a quick perspective on the topic, neither strategy can train students into producing good work. Our goal is not to simply provide our readers with arguments, but also to train them into thinking about how they should be constructing arguments, particularly in regards to strategy. Our packets are especially useful if you don’t have readily access to a debate instructor or a debate camp experience. For those who do have coaches, our diverse topics and specialized authors will surely assist you in filling in gaps. Our packets should help supplement part of the teaching experience that goes into learning nuanced debate strategies, something that cards alone cannot provide.

Third, briefs that narrowly focus on a topic are useful, especially at the start of a topic, but they are necessarily superficial. Their focus on giving a topic overview trades off with giving you an in depth look at strategic arguments that reoccur from topic to topic, ultimately underserving philosophical and denser critical arguments. Our goal is to make these strategies more accessible so students can take advantage of their amazing potential across topics.

Finally, because we’re not focused on the topic, our briefs will benefit you not only across topics, but also in anticipation for the next season. Many students have already attended their final competitive tournaments for the season, which makes this the perfect time to invest in readings for personal growth. We recommend that debaters stay busy during their off season by developing content knowledge on key areas to assist in their future success.

Make sure to check out our brief packets for more information on the specific article topics and authors.

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Benjamin Koh