Alan G Gross, Professor of Communication Studies
Rhetoric of Science - COMM 5110; WRIT 5777
TTh 2:30-3:45 Lind 215
Rhetoric of science deserves the close attention, both of students of rhetoric and of disciplines other than rhetoric with an interest in science. Those interested in rhetoric will focus on the methodological innovations rhetoric of science has introduced.Celeste Condit’s The Meaning of the Gene and my Communicating Science, written with Joseph Harmon and Michael Reidy,take one innovative path: they attempt to gain a better understanding of science by combining social scientific and rhetorical methods, an attempt to incorporate the breadth possible with the one with the depth possible with the other. Leah Ceccarelli’s Shaping Science with Rhetoric and my Starring the Text take another path. Each attempts to reach beyond case studies, still the preferred genre in rhetorical criticism; each unites case studies into an argument in which cases are subsumed as evidence for a general claim. At this point the course will move from rhetoricians to those historians, sociologists, and philosophers who have found a rhetorical perspective useful in their own work. We will look at the work of historians Bruce Hunt on physics and Frederic Holmes on chemistry. We will also read sociologist Richard Harvey Brown’s A Poetic for Sociology. Finally, we will read philosopher of science Stephen Kellert ‘s Borrowed Knowledge: The Challenge of Learning Across Disciplines. In all of this work, rhetoric is applied creatively to the solution of historical, sociological, or philosophical problems.
Richard Harvey Brown, A Poetic for Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977. ISBN 97880226076195
SyllabusWeek 1. Condit. Parts 1 and 2.
Week 2. Condit Parts 3 and 4.
Week 3. Gross et al. Communicating Science.
Week 4. Ceccarelli Parts 1 and 2.
Week 5. Cecarelli Parts 3 and 4.
Week 6. Brown Chapters 1 and 2
Week 7.Brown Chapters 3, 4, and 5
Week 8. Kellert Chapters 1-3
Week 9. Kellert Chapters 4-6
Week 10. Kellert Chapters 7-9
Week 11. Student oral presentations. Term paper due.
Week 12. Student oral presentations
Week 13.Student oral presentations
Week 14. Student conferences
Week 15.Student conferences.
Communication Studies majors are encouraged to complete the department's
1. Indicate your intentions by signing the instructor's Senior Paper
2. Register for COMM 3995 by contacting the undergraduate advisor
3. Request and attend a meeting with the instructor to discuss the
4. Complete a paper that receives a B- or better and that conforms to
If the student accomplishes all four steps, she or he will receive a S
The first draft of the senior paper is due April 6. If the instructor
Page updated October 24, 2008