Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp (2021)

Dates: June 27 - July 10

Price: $1,300

Dates: June 27 - July 17

Price: $1,800



Our Approach to Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp

The GDS Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp was created to provide the best possible educational experience for all levels of students. We ask you to consider some important qualities that distinguish the GDS Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp from others. Our Lincoln Douglas staff this year is unlike any other in terms of experience, diversity of teaching styles, argument preferences, and other core identifiers of diversity. The GDS Lincoln Douglas program seeks to balance true understanding of complex concepts while making sure students have the practical tools needed to enjoy competitive success during the debate season. Our approach is battle-tested through many years of working with some of the most successful Lincoln Douglas debaters in the country. 

We believe the best way to achieve our goal for our students is to tailor our instruction to meet the needs of our Lincoln Douglas students. We do not believe “one type of instruction fits all.” Our approach includes specific instruction opportunities to help meet the needs of all students. We teach the basics necessary to understand the advanced nuances of the different argumentative form (and content) practiced around the country. We emphasize how to critically read and break down complex text as a pedagogical core of our debate curriculum. Step by step, we walk students through how to successfully interpret dense, complex material. We place incredible career educators alongside the best young Lincoln Douglas debate alumni to combine the best debate trends with serious educational thought. There are many great debaters. There are far fewer great teachers of debate. We believe that students, parents and coaches should collectively weigh all of the available information to assess which summer experience would best benefit each individual student, and work hard to implement this for students attending our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp.

So what does the GDS Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp Curriculum look like?

The Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp curriculum of any institute is crucial to what a student is likely to gain. In this regard, one should consider whether a debate institute offers a curriculum that addresses the diversity of conditions students are likely to confront in their debate career. One should also consider whether the student would be taught an educationally sound set of practices or a series of tricks that happened to work at a single tournament or in front of a small number of judges.

Our senior staff members have taught at dozens of workshops including University of Texas, Victory Briefs, Sacred Heart, National Debate Forum, Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, and the National Symposium for Debate among others.  The core of the staff is composed of professional educators, some with Master's degrees in education, who are also competitive coaches in the debate game.  

Our approach to Lincoln Douglas Debate is pedagogically sound and time tested in terms of competitive success. Students will have guaranteed access to all Lincoln Douglas Debate staff members. At many institutes, a student's exposure to staff is limited to lab leaders and large group lectures. We want all students to have one-on-one attention with the instructor of their choice at some point during their stay.

The curriculum is designed to give students a common knowledge base in Lincoln Douglas debate, yet avoids hours and hours of lectures on issues that have become tangential to contemporary Lincoln Douglas Debate. Each year we have modified our program based on feedback from coaches and students.

Components of our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp curriculum include the following:

  • Our pedagogy emphasizes small lab groups. Students will be given enrichment exercises to accelerate their growth.
  • The Lincoln Douglas Debate literature base many students are using is changing. While we teach about Rawls, Nozick, Kant, and JS Mill we will also teach you about Wilderson, Hartman, Hooks and Charles Mills. Virtually no other institute has a tenured philosophy professor on staff (with previous debate experience) like we do.
  • We focus on teaching students ethically sound best practices for Lincoln Douglas Debate in dealing with the arguments that seem to pervade many circuits.
  • The novice lab will continue to be a place for students with limited or no experience.
  • We offer a balance of large group lectures and electives to allow students to focus on things they wish to learn/work on.
  • Written critiques allow each student and instructor to see what skills need to be worked on and what progress is being made.
  • More actual debating (after sufficient time to prepare and modify cases) to allow students the opportunity to address weaknesses and emphasize areas of strength.
  • Electives - GDS offers a vast array of electives beginning the first week of workshop. At GDS we attempt offer electives that cater to all skill levels. Most importantly, students have to opportunity to choose electives during each elective cycle.

Research at the Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp

The Global Debate Symposium will also focus on how to research, a skill that many camps seem to have put on the backburner. While it is true you can write Lincoln Douglas cases without evidence, a basis in literature is required to have a grasp of the context of the resolution. One of the most important skills in Lincoln Douglas Debate is the ability to research in college libraries. The internet is helpful, but should not be the only tool that is used to research. Attention will also be placed on effective case writing, effective speaking techniques, strategic decisions and general tips to help students achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves in Lincoln Douglas Debate.




A Sample of Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp Electives

  1. “It Aint Radical Because You Say So” – Beating Performance Positions
  2. The 1AR – “There is no need to be afraid to be affirmative”
  3. Research Techniques/Verbatim
  4. Post Structuralism: Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida
  5. Moral Testimony
  6. Capitalism & Neoliberalism
  7. Anticolonialism
  8. Defending Util vs. Other FWs
  9. Generating Answers to Frameworks
  10. Answering K's Drill Session
  11. Continental Philosophy/Heidegger
  12. Intersectionality & Feminism
  13. Constitutivism
  14. Word Economy
  15. Intro to Meta-Ethics
  16. Defense Against Tricks
  17. Mid 20th Century Radical Black Thought
  18. Prepping for NSDA Nationals
  19. Answering Afropessimism
  20. Beating the Spread
  21. Positional Debating
  22. Role of the Ballot/Role of the Judge
  23. Feminism as a Backlash Against Black Emancipation
  24. Intro to Moral Frameworks
  25. Transitioning from Novice to Varsity
  26. Advanced CPs and PICs
  27. Theory - Beginner/Intermediate
  28. Theory - Intermediate/Advanced
  29. Competition and Permutations
  30. Truth Testing vs. Comparative Worlds
  31. Social Dominance Theory
  32. Beating a “Prep – Out”
  33. Kant – 101
  34. Kant’s Racism: Understanding Kant’s Pragmatic Anthropology
  35. Stand and Deliver – How you say it does matter


Unique instructional opportunities include: Advisory and Office Hours.

Advisory - The advisory program is one of the defining characteristics of a student’s experience at the Global Debate Symposium. Several times during a student’s stay at the workshop, they will meet with a small of group of students, across age/experience level, to discuss everything from things discussed in their lab, institute lectures, guest speakers, as well as ways to get the most out of their workshop experience. Advisory groups are led by a different instructor from a student’s primary lab instructor to give them access to a wider range of workshop staff. The advisory groups remain constant throughout the duration of the workshop.

Students may also seek one-on-one guidance from their advisors. Advisors can listen to students practice speeches, discuss best practices in writing cases, suggesting the appropriate electives choices, etc. Our evaluations have listed the advisory period as something students that had been to other workshops, saw as not only unique, but immensely helpful in their growth.

We also have a resident philosopher on staff to engage students and push them to explore a wide range of philosophy.


Office Hours - Office hours developed to allow all students to have one-on-one time with any faculty member. The student can ask about details of a recent elective, get assistance in the writing of cases, give multiple rebuttal redo’s, ask that question they perhaps didn’t want to ask in another session or get in one last practice round. While office hours are not a requirement for students to attend, our experience is that this time allows students to personally connect with lab leaders that haven’t had the ability to connect with during the day! Office hours occur nightly from 9:45 to 10: 45 pm.


Tentative Schedule


9:00 - 11:30 am
11:30 - 1:00 pm
1:15 - 1:45 pm
2:00 - 3:00 pm
3:15 - 5:00 pm
5:00 - 6:30 pm
6:30 - 7:30 pm
Elective or Practice Debate
7:30 - 9:00 pm
9:30 - 10:45 pm
Office Hours