Images of CSI and blood science usually comes to most people's minds when they hear the word forensics. What does that have to do with what we do? The word forensics comes from the Latin word forensis refering to open court or 'before the forum'. In ancient Greece, citizens were their own defendants during trials, which meant they needed to learn effective and persuasive ways to present their case in the public forum. In modern usage, forensics has come to take on two meanings: a form of legal evidence, or a public presentation. References of forensics can be found as early as the 4th century BC by Aristotle in his book Rhetoric. Rhetoric can be a tricky concept, but essentially it is the understanding of argument and discourse through the art of language and persuasion. Aristotle maintains that there are three genres (or types) of rhetoric: Deliberative (looking towards the future, requiring actions/solutions), Ceremonial/Epideictic (often looking to the past, celebrating something), and Forensics (looking to the past to uncover facts or truths that have already happened). Each of these types of Rhetoric uses the five canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. The effectiveness of any argument depends on the speaker's - or writer's - use of rhetorical appeals (ethos - ethics/character; logos - logic; pathos - emotion). Through academia, the classic language of forensics became the terminology used in teaching law, which then became the backbone of debate, and in turn transitioned into the Individual Events that we are familiar with today. As forensicators, our job is to uncover the truth in the world around us. In the Interp events, we do this with other people's words and stories, as we find the truth in life's struggles and joys. In Public Address, we take relevant and current issues and bring our own truth to them through research and logical reason.
Forensics in Michigan
There are two different Individual Event categories in Michigan Forensics: Public Address and Interpretation. Within these 2 categories, there are subcategories called events. Each year, there are two events (one in each category) that also has an option available for 9/10th graders.