Inhabiting SCOPUS: Navigating Modern Controversies with Performative Approaches in a Public Speaking Course


  • Lane Sorensen



COLL-P155 is an undergraduate public speaking course in which students give speeches on modern public controversies such as capital punishment, abortion, immigration, etc; in other words, issues for which many might hold a definite – at times inflexible – bias. In order to mitigate such biases, the concept of scopus, moving out of one perspective to inhabit another (Arthos, 2017a: Lecture 11), is situated in the goals of the speech assignments and combined with the theoretical and practical benefits of drama pedagogy as illustrated by Even (2008). Following a description of the speech assignments is a pedagogical reflection of activities that combine scopus and drama pedagogy to get students up and out of their seats in order to act out frames of mind that might embody perspectives drastically different from their own. From encouraging ad-hominem attacks in fictitious arguments about favorite foods to highlight the counterproductive and harmful nature of alienating language, to acting out a Grimm’s fairytale from the villain’s perspective to encourage empathy with an unpopular position, the lessons of open-mindedness and civility emphasized in these performative activities can be transferred to discourse surrounding real-world controversies.


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Arthos, John (2017c): Lecture 3: Audience. Public Oral Communication. Indiana University-Bloomington. January 25, 2017. Lecture

Arthos, John (2017d): Lecture 1: Course Introduction. Public Oral Communication. Indiana University-Bloomington. January 11, 2017. Lecture

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