RALEIGH TAVERN PHILOSPHICAL SOCIETY LECTURE TRADITIONS
1. There should be no protracted discussion until the presenter has finished delivery of the lecture. Applause upon completion, whether one agrees or disagrees with the content, is a sign of collegial appreciation of the energy and scholarship undertaken by the presenter. It also indicates that the lecture has been formally accepted and that the presenter is now open for a period of constructive questioning.
2. Papers should try and be approximately 20 to 30 pages in length (double-spaced) and delivery should endeavor to take between 30 to 50 minutes. Elaborate footnotes are unnecessary but prominent sources and referenced scholarship should be placed parenthetically within the text. Excessive wording and length of text tends to detract from the main theme and can be limiting in regard to post-lecture discussion.
3. Lectures are to be prepared on computer discs or in other ways conducive for inclusion on the web site.
4. It is customary to take a ten-minute “break” between the delivery of the lecture and the debate of its content. The total time spent delivering the lecture and the critical discussion that follows should approximate a two-hour plus period of time. Remember the post-lecture discussion and/or debate should be a key feature of our organization’s mission.
5. The post-lecture discussion should be spent correcting printed errors in the text, extending specific lecture points, engendering new ideas inspired by the lecture and developing contrary arguments in the best tradition of the Socratic method.
6. Topics for lectures should be discussed (in the pre-lecture business period) at least two months in advance for acceptance by the membership. Topics should be ones the presenter has been interested in developing but has not hitherto been afforded the time or place to do so. Wide-ranging historical or global perspectives are encouraged as well as interpretations of current events and public policy debates. Attempts should be made to keep solely personal perspectives to a minimum.
7. The name of our organization—The Raleigh Tavern Philosophical Society—is derived from the actual Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia, where, during the Revolutionary period, policy, politics, and political theory were hotly contested. With this tradition in mind, we of the membership endeavor to highlight political debate as one of our most important charges.
8. Membership has been structured to include four academic positions alongside those of four non-academics in order that theory and practicality may match and merge into more substantive debates and experiences. The model for such an arrangement is the John F. Kennedy Institute of politics at Harvard University. Remember that guests should be limited as indicated by our bylaws and not allowed to participate unless called upon by the sitting members.
9. At the beginning of each new president’s term the outgoing president will formally present his or her successor with a framed embroidered rendering of the actual Raleigh Tavern. This symbol of our organization will be kept in safekeeping by the sitting president until he or she relinquishes that office at which point it will be passed on to the next encumbent.