The Phi Kappa Literary Society is a debate society at the University of Georgia. We meet every academic Thursday at Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus at 7 p.m.

All with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and oratory are welcome.



This Week: Pizzino, Parliamentary, and Presidential

Special Program: 

Dr. Christopher Pizzino will be presenting a short lecture on the modern importance of a liberal arts education.

About Dr. Piozzino:

Assistant Professor, PhD Rutgers University 2008, specializes in Contemporary American Literature.  His teaching and research interests include comics and graphic narratives, science fiction and theory of the novel.  He has published essays on Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller and Slavoj Zizek, and is currently working on a book entitled Arrested Development: Comics at the Boundaries of Literature.

The Debate:

  • Obama vs.Cameron
  • Bush vs. Blair
  • Reagan vs. Thatcher

Phi Kappa is going old school with a good ol’ Tea Party debate—and we’re not talking about Michelle Bachmann’s government injections! No, this week we will be debating whether the Parliamentary System or the Presidential System is better. Bring your tea kettles and hot dogs because we’ll be debating it up like it’s 1812.

Br. Wheeler will be presenting the resolution, “Be It Hereby Resolved: The Parliamentary System Is More Effective than the Presidential System.”

Br. McDuff will be negating.


By “Parliamentary System”, I am referring to a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined.

By “More Effective than” I mean that the first option mentioned operates in way that achieves… intended results more often than the latter

By “Presidential System” I am referring to a system of government in which the Executive Branch is independently elected by the people, and is separate from the other two branches of government. 


This Week: The International Criminal Court

At this week’s meeting, we will be debating the International Criminal Court. The definitions are below and we hope to see you at Phi Kappa Hall at 7PM this Thursday!

BIHR: The International Criminal Court should be able to exercise universal jurisdiction.

Terms for the Debate:
International Criminal Court, often referred to as the ICC, 
is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. As of now the Court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council. It is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes. Primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is therefore left to individual states.

Universal jurisdiction is a principle in international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting country.

Should be able: The implication of “should be able” is that if this resolution is passed then the ICC should be allowed to immediately practice universal jurisdiction. This would include jurisdiction over states, such as the United States, that have never ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.



 BIHR: The University’s Steam Plant Should Adopt Biomass Gasification.

Bro. Henry Friederich will be presenting the resolution, and Bro. Matthew Tyler will be giving the first negation.

Terms for the debate:
Steam Plant: The UGA Physical Plant’s four steam boilers near East Campus Rd and Cedar St, including three natural gas boilers and one coal boiler.  The coal boiler is responsible for less than half of the campus’s energy but the majority of its pollution.  At nearly fifty years old, the coal boiler is set to be decommissioned within the next five years, and UGA has stated the desire to maintain multiple fuel sources, providing a unique opportunity to move to more sustainable energy sources.

Should adopt: By this it is implied that UGA should, at minimum, replace the coal boiler with a biomass gasification plant within the next five to ten years.

Biomass gasification, as recently adopted by the University of South Carolina and soon to be implemented in DeKalb County, is the process in which solid biomass is pressurized, producing a gas that is combusted for use in a steam system.  While a variety of fossil based feedstocks such as plastics can be gasified, biomass gasification is limited to organic feedstocks such as wood or agricultural waste.

The debate will focus on the potential of biomass gasification in the context of a large university campus, as compared with other alternative energy sources, whether sustainable (such as solar thermal energy) or not. The decision of UGA’s next energy source will affect the university and wider Athens communities for decades to come.  Bring your best environmental and economical arguments!


Globalization Has Killed the Great American Novel

Are you a real, gun-totin’, Alaska-lovin’, meat-eatin’ patriot? Then come out this Thursday to Phi Kappa Hall to defend your country’s honor against robot socialist zombie writers from abroad!

Brother Michael Antonoff will be presenting the resolution “Be It Hereby Resolved: Globalization has killed the great American novel.”

A special, mystery brother/sister will be negating!



BIHR: Globalization has killed the Great American Novel. 

Terms for the debate:
Globalization: By globalization, I am referring to the increased communicative relations (and thus exchange of ideas) between nations around the world. This increased communication is due largely to exponential increase in published printed works, as well as the burgeoning internet community. 

Great American Novel: Novels that are considered to be apart of American Literary canon (i.e. Huck Finn, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises). “Great”, of course, is a subjective term. In this case, it is used simply to refer to novels that are considered part of the literary canon and have considerably helped to define the era that they were written in. 

Killed: Due to the increased international media output and cosmopolitanism, the idea of having a distinctly American novel as representative of an age has been outmoded.


Should UGA Demolish Rutherford Hall?

Come and join the Phi Kappa Literary Society for its weekly debate:
BIHR: UGA should demolish Rutherford Hall.

The resolution will be presented by Brother Whit Carmon and negated by Brother Henry Friederich.

Have your pitchforks, torches, and arguments in-hand—it’s sure to be a heated debate! Guests are welcome to speak—invite your friends. Invite people you don’t really like. Invite everyone!

Image via the Flagpole