Debate as Global Pedagogy: Rwanda Rising illustrates that the teaching of debate offers an ideal educational approach for the prevention and remediation of genocide. As the antithesis of propaganda, debate and argument instruction promotes the critical thinking necessary to resist processes of propaganda that enable injustice and human rights abuses. Case studies of argumentation instruction and deliberative forums worldwide demonstrate how environments of discursive complexity can be fostered through education in debate and argumentation. The central example of Rwanda recovering from genocide in 1994 with help from innovative pedagogy by iDebate Dreamers Academy provides a model for how argumentation instruction can reduce and prevent social injustices.
Ben Voth is associate professor of rhetoric and director of debate and speech at Southern Methodist University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Communication Roots of Injustice and Genocide and Rwanda as a Model
Chapter 1: Darkness before the Dawn of the 21st Century--Rwanda 1994
Chapter 2: Discursive Complexity and the Global Renaissance for Justice
Chapter 3: Debate Training in Rwanda among security forces
Chapter 4: Deconstructing Anti-Colonialism and Anti- Imperialism as Jacobin Predicates of Violence
Chapter 5: Debate as Pedagogical Empowerment at HBCUs in the United States
Chapter 6: The Global Ecological Museum and the Climate Debate
Chapter 7: Rwanda Rising: Rwanda as a Global Model for Success
Chapter 8: Guatemala Rising with the Creative Peace Process
Chapter 9: China Rising: Debate programs across China
Chapter 10: Debate as a global empowerment tool for ending Injustice and Genocide
Chapter 11: Coolidge Debate Pedagogy: Learning how to speak and debate
Chapter 12: Conclusions--How Debate Helps the Global Human Community
This is a provocative publication that covers several issues of interest to scholars and citizens…[T]here is much of value for academics in the fields of communication, education, and political discourse analysis. Voth, a professor of rhetoric at Southern Methodist University, argues that the widespread promotion of formal debate programs at institutions throughout the world will effectively combat the negative stereotyping and propaganda that make genocides possible. Voth is explicitly idealistic and opposed to the pervasive cynicism he attributes to "Leftists," who, he claims, dominate academia…. Learning about Voth's projects may inspire further efforts on the part of communication scholars. Notable among several topics Voth proposes for debate is to challenge what he calls "the widespread consensus on climate change.” Recommended.
"Ben Voth's brilliant work focuses on the critical root solution of debate and debate pedagogy as antidotes for the ramifications of violent totalitarianism in the world, including its worst manifestation: genocide. Voth details the end to genocide in Rwanda a quarter of a century ago; he credits open debate as defeating propaganda, which presents the opposite type of communication: controlled, one-sided skewed rhetoric that energizes disrespect. hate and even mass murder. The success of Rwanda and its attendant debate programs give material optimism to make the world a better communicating, and therefore freer, place."
“Debate as Global Pedagogy: Rwanda Rising is without a doubt one of the most important books written within the general field of communications and in particular looking at speech and forensics light of global politics in the last 50 years. Even those not well versed in the history of the genocide in Rwanda are aware that communications and media -- especially hate speech and genocidally intended speech (via radio, pulpit speeches, and print media) -- played a strong role in the Central African Holocaust as much as it did in the other holocausts of the 20th century. No one, however, to my knowledge has looked as deeply as some of the roots of the relationship between communication and genocide than Dr. Voth. We also get a practical and hopeful reminder of how communication can help resurrect a nation and a people. When Dr. Voth writes “Debate can bring genocide to an end in the 21stcentury for a number of important reasons” he is making a powerful case that scholars, journalists, and politicians should all listen to and appreciate. Debate as Global Pedagogy: Rwanda Rising should be on the shelf or the e-reader of everyone concerned with the future of communications but also the fate of humankind.”
“Dr. Voth’s Debate as Global Pedagogy provides an important follow up to his 2014 The Rhetoric of Genocide. Its most important contribution is to investigate how human communication is both the source and corrective to violence and genocide. Examining case studies of the development of academic debate activities in countries like China, Guatemala, Rwanda, and the United States, Voth argues that debate operates as a cure to ideologically closed societies, helping combat the violent histories of colonialism and racism.”
"Through both historical and contemporary, and sometimes controversial, examples, Voth makes a compelling case for the practical application of debate beyond academic competition to real world deliberation. For communication scholars, Voth's work provides evidence of how theoretical concepts can make an actual difference in people's lives and to national conflicts. Rwanda Rising is a timely monograph advocating for the need to listen to opposing voices and engage ideas different than our own."