Two Chinese students participated with the Linfield College Forensics Team in a debate on the impact of U.S. pop culture April 10.
Zhou Zixi and Bihan Zhang of Xi’an International Studies University, along with their sponsor, Yang Ge, also attended several classes in the Modern Languages, Communication Arts, Political Science and Business departments.
The event, which was held in the Pioneer Reading Room, followed the British Parliamentary Debate format. Jackson Miller, associate professor of communication arts, who coaches the forensics team, mentioned in his opening remarks that Linfield’s team has almost exclusively shifted to this style of debate because of its unique, collaborative aspect.
Other formats involve only two teams, whereas in British Parliamentary Debate, there are four, two arguing for and two arguing against the proposition.
Although the allied teams are not allowed to prepare together, they must cooperate and build on each other’s arguments. Thus, in order to successfully defeat the opposition, teamwork is required.
Although it was just an exhibition match, the debate was a lively contest. Those arguing in favor of U.S. pop culture
highlighted the impact it has played in enacting positive change to conservative systems, such as education. They also emphasized the convenience that American technological innovations have provided.
The opposition argued that the hegemonic influence of the U.S. is detrimental to cultural diversity and decried the materialism that the U.S. is globally spreading.
The debate’s focus on pop culture gave a unique and fresh feel to the discussion on globalization. From Michael Jackson, to ESPN’s Gluttonbowl, to the iPad, no topic seemed off limits.
This is the third consecutive year in which Linfield’s forensics team has hosted students from China. The connections that have recently been made between Chinese institutions and Northwest colleges have led to the formation of the China Debate Association, of which Linfield is a member.
McMinnville is only one stop on a tour of the Northwest for Zixi and Zhang, who will also debate at the Oregon State Penitentiary, Willamette University, the University of Puget Sound and Northwest University.
Nick Hanh/Copy editor