Whoever came up with William and Mary’s “Raft Debate” is a genius (and obvious shipwreck enthusiast). Here’s the set up for this “delicate balance of comedy and lecture”–
The three survivors of an imaginary shipwreck — a scientist, a social scientist, and a humanist — debate the value of their respective discipline for the rest of humanity. A fourth faculty member, a devil’s advocate, joins the survivors and argues sarcastically that none of the academic disciplines are worth saving. Based on the volume of applause, the audience chooses the sole survivor as the professors cajole, plead, pontificate, and resort shamelessly to props and costumes.
Law professor Scott Dodson, the “devil’s advocate,” won last year’s event with five stirring verses sung to the music of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” This year’s quartet–professors of Classical Studies, Mathematics, History, and Education–will be judged by the Dean of Graduate of Graduate Studies and Research. But, as always, it’s The Tribe which ultimately decides the victor.
The 2011 Raft Debate will be held on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. I’m looking forward to the highlight reel. (Go humanities!!)