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Each student will be assigned to a 2-3 person team and compete in an Oxford-style debate. This is not high school debate where “anything goes” and facts can be selectively cherrypicked. While it is important to develop persuasive arguments, debate teams should not purposively misstate statistics or intentionally mislead the class. Check and cross-check your facts. One or two key statistics may be useful for your argument, but they should be drawn from high quality sources, not deliberately taken out of context, and cited during the debate. Jamming in too many facts and rattling off lots of statistics during the debate is disorienting and ineffective. All statistics referenced during the debate and in individual motion briefs must be cited.
I need, in the document you will submit to me, the individual motion brief with the instructions below as well as 3-4 FOR the motion examples and 2-3 AGAINST the motion examples where my counterargument will be formed from.
The debate topic is as follows:
Corruption in China has benefitted more than it has harmed Chinese society
FOR: Define corruption and Chinese society. Show the specific ways in which corruption has benefitted Chinese society and argue that those benefits have clearly outweighed the negative effects
AGAINST: Define corruption and Chinese society. Show the specific ways in which corruption has harmed – and continues to harm – Chinese society and argue that those negative effects have clearly outweighed any positive effects
Remember that the primary purpose of these debates is to inform and educate your classmates on pertinent and often under-appreciated aspects of an issue and allow them to make up their own minds.
1) Individual Motion Brief (25 points): To prepare for the debate, each student will write an Individual Motion Brief which will be graded according to a 25-point rubric that is detailed in Gradescope and highlighted below. This short research paper must: 1) clearly state whether you support or oppose the motion, 2) offer THREE compelling arguments in support of your position that are backed by cited evidence from your research, and 3) thoughtfully address ONE potential counterargument by the other side., and 4) stay within a 750 word limit. This counterargument should reflect what you perceive as the greatest threat to your position on the debate motion. Carefully addressing this counterargument will help you prepare for your debate. Each argument and counterargument should start with a succinctly written topic sentence.
The brief must be uploaded to Gradescope by 10pm on the Monday before your debate to give your team time to coordinate, prepare and practice your presentations together before the debate on Thursday. I strongly encourage you to read the example in the Files section of bCourses.
Please download and adhere closely to the Individual Motion Brief template has been provided for the brief. There are some guidelines for word limits for each section, but do not use the max for every section. Use 12-point font and do not exceed 750 words. Single spacing is fine. Also, be sure to include author-date style parenthetical in-text citations (Bremmer 2007, 44), and a reference list according to the Chicago Manual of Style: to an external site..
Examples of previous briefs can be in uploaded files.
Do not include your name on the paper or in the file name but do include the word count. This allows me to grade the briefs blindly and more objectively. Late briefs will be penalized one point per 24 hours after deadline.
While team members should closely collaborate, each member is required to do their own research. Debate briefs should not offer the same arguments or cite the same sources. Your brief must cite in the brief a variety of outside sources and include at a minimum:
TWO required readings from that week’s materials. These are the sources that the other students will be reading, so it is important that you read them also.
ONE physical book from UCB libraries, either from a major university press or a major publisher (limited to: HarperCollins, M.E. Sharpe, Palgrave Macmillian, Penguin, Public Affairs/Hachette Book Group, Picador, Routledge, SAGE, Springer, Simon & Schuster, Vintage, Wiley & Sons, and W.W. Norton). Include a smartphone photo of the book on the Works Cited page.
TWO peer-reviewed journal articles from the UCB library website. I strongly suggest using Academic Search Complete, part of EBSCOhost.
TWO articles from major English language newspapers (limited to: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, CNN, Politico, The Atlantic, Politico, The New Yorker, Bloomberg News, Wired, TechCrunch, VOX, Re/code, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, VentureBeat, The Economist).
TWO articles from respectable Chinese and/or India news sources available in English (such as: South China Morning Post, Xinhua News, Caixin Global, Caijing (English), Asia Times Online, Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express,, Taipei Times)
Students must email me for approval for exceptions to this list. If you are in doubt of the validity of a source, please email me.
2) I also need along with this – as said above – 3/4 reasons to support the motion and 2/3 potential points the AGAINST team might potentially bring up and the counterarguments for them.

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