Spring 2023 Classes and Workshops

The new year is almost upon us, which means that a new semester of classes and workshops from New England Debate! Browse below to see what interests you. Some have a minimum attendance requirement before they can start, so I won’t be charging anyone until that minimum is met. If it’s not met by 1/30, the class will be cancelled, so please let your friends know to make sure all classes are filled!

Extemp Roundtable

Fridays from 4-5ET.

This discussion group for current events has already started, but there’s no problem at all signing up now and jumping in. More details and registration found here.

Film Analysis – Religion and Cinema

Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00 ET. 2/7-4/25
Price: $150
Minimum number of students needed: 5


The fall semester film class, where we went through the history of film, was an absolute delight. One student commented:

“I loved this class. I have always loved movies but this class taught me to look closer at them and watch them, less as a form of entertainment and more as a form of art.”

As voted on by the class, the focus we’ll take this semester is on religion in film. I am still working on the syllabus and deciding which films we’ll cover, but it will look largely the same as the fall class: You’ll be required to view one movie each week, and we’ll discuss that film together every Tuesday. There might be some short readings assigned as appropriate, and there’s one 1,000 word paper due at the end. This structure is roughly the equivalent of a 1-credit college course.

I will make sure, at a minimum, we view films relating to the four major religions of the world: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, though it’s likely more time will be spent on Christianity than the others. Regarding potentially objectionable content, I’ll use the same two rules as last time: no R-rated movies and no nudity beyond what you might see at a public pool.

The most exciting element of this class is that films, due to their nature as a very emotional and expressive medium, can potentially explore religion and spirituality in immediate, immersive ways. Indeed, people like Paul Schrader have argued that film form can be of a spiritual (or transcendental, in his words) nature. That is, the way the movie is constructed can be more important to its spiritual ideas than the “content”.

Thus, this class will have three functions: 1. A brief survey of the four major world religions. 2. An exploration of films that students might never watch otherwise, including non-American films. 3. An exploration into art not just as method of delivering content, but as a way of expression that might be just as important as the raw content itself. This is something we discussed in the fall class, but I suspect we’ll go deeper into the subject here.

Economics 101

Wednesdays from 3:30-5:00ET 2/8-4/26
Price: $150
Minimum number of students needed: 5


This will be an introduction to the basics of economics with two primary focuses: the “economic way of thinking” and microeconomics. We’ll briefly touch on some macroeconomic topics, but the foundation of the subject lies in micro (indeed the two classifications are rather arbitrary to begin with–it could easily be argued that macro- is just applied micro-). We’ll be using the book “Foundations of Economics: A Christian View” from Shawn Ritenour, which is an excellent, and funny, resource.

Beginning with understanding just what economics is, we’ll discuss topics such as subjective value, marginalism, exchange, tradeoffs, supply and demand, and elasticity. As the book is written by someone in the “Austrian school” of economics, it is more theoretical and less math-focused than other economics books. That said, if you’re worried about this being a particularly “Austrian” course, please understand that at this level the difference is a matter of approach rather than ideas. On the fundamentals essentially all economists agree.

There will be a couple of quizzes sprinkled throughout the course and a test at the end. The reading requirement each week will be roughly 20-30 pages.

On-Demand Saturday Debate Workshops

Potentially nearly every Saturday from 6:30-8:30pm ET
Price: $20/ea
Minimum number of students needed: 4


This is an experiment, but one I believe might be quite successful. Instead of having pre-planned workshops, I will essentially leave the time slot open most weeks for workshops if people want to do them. In these workshops we will go in-depth on one or two TP cases (either NCFCA or Stoa), discussing arguments, strategy, and preparation. Something you might expect would be a discussion of how powerful certain arguments are and how to organize them, brainstorming cross-x trees to reveal weaknesses in the aff’s approach, and pinning down precisely what avenues of research people should focus on next to make their strategy better.

The default emphasis will be on neg preparation, but I’m open to other ideas as well. That’s because the topics will be decided by the people who sign up. Here’s how it works. Each Sunday before the date in question, I will see if at least 4 people have registered for that date. If I don’t have at least 4 names I’ll email the people who have registered to let them know they have a brief amount of time to cajole others to signing up or it’ll be cancelled. Once 4 or more people have signed up I’ll send out payment details and do a quick poll of what case(s) or topics they’d like to cover. Easy as that!

Note that if you’re super secretive about your neg research you should probably stay away, as we will necessarily be discussing the research you’ve done! But, being open to discussing your plans with others will, I guarantee you, make you a better debater in the long run. Secrecy tends to bring everyone down.

Private Coaching

I (Marc Davis) am available for private coaching and critiqued practice rounds! The price is $30/hour for any session with up to 6 people. More people than that and I’ll probably scale the price up a bit, depending on the details. I can help with any NCFCA or Stoa event, with a couple of caveats. 1. I am not well-versed in LD theory, though I am knowledgeable in philosophy, economics, and argumentation. 2. I am not well-versed in interp-specific knowledge. I coach interps with an emphasis on acting and storytelling, but if you want to know at which angle you’re supposed to cheat or the geometry behind duo blocking or what the script submission rules are I won’t have a clue.

Email me at newenglanddebate@gmail.com if you have any questions or want to book a coaching session.

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