Condit, Prelli, and Depew and Lyne offer useful taxonomies of scholarship in the rhetoric of science, technology and medicine (RSTM), and once again provoke questions about the distinctiveness of a rhetorical approach. Rhetorical studies examine the choices rhetors make at all levels of invention (e.g., lines of argument, arrangement, terminology, visuals). But rhetoricians have not been clear in defining the distinctive contribution of their approach, and scholars in related fields do not routinely access or acknowledge rhetorical studies. There are also impediments to framing rhetorical studies for scientists and practitioners: the term rhetoric still has negative connotations in science publications, and rhetorical concepts like cooperation and reputation are addressed by other fields, creating a competing discourse. Nevertheless, RSTM will expand, and new directions for scholarship include visual rhetoric and the new persuasive practices brought about by online publication.
rhetoric of science, visual rhetoric, history of science, evolutionary biology, online journals
Copyright © 2013 Jeanne Fahnestock