The Historical Life Raft Debate is a separate event from the annual Founders' Day Life Raft Debate. For those interested in UM's original Life Raft Debate, this event will take place on Founders' Day, Thursday, October 11, at 7:00 p.m. in Palmer Hall.
Since 1998, The Life Raft Debate has been a University of Montevallo and Founders' Day tradition. Out of this has grown a new student-led event that will take place in Carmichael Hall on Tuesday, October 9, at 8:00 p.m.
For the uninitiated, we take this explanation of the tradition from the official Life Raft Debate website:
In the Life Raft Debate, we imagine that there has been a nuclear war, and the survivors (the audience) are setting sail to rebuild society from the ground up. There is a group of academic-types vying to get on the raft, and only one seat is left. Each [speaker] has to argue that his or her discipline is the one indispensable area of study that the new civilization will need to flourish. At the end of the debating, the audience votes and the lucky winner climbs aboard, waving goodbye to the others.
Each [speaker] gets to give an introductory account of his or her discipline, then give a brief rebuttal to the others, and, finally, the audience votes all but one panelist off.This year, a Historical Life Raft Debate will feature five student actors who will argue for a historical figurehead. The disciplines and historical figures represented will be:
- English, Jane Austen
- Mathematics, Alan Turing
- Psychology, Wilhelm Wundt
- Philosophy, Baruch Spinoza
- Science, Nikola Tesla
Student speeches will contain both facts and inaccuracies. The audience will be given transcripts of the debate and must first determine which information is true or false before they can vote for their discipline/historical figure.
Students in attendance will also be invited to present a short argument for their personal discipline.