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This manifesto presents positions arrived at after a day-long symposium on agency in science communication at the National Communication Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, NV, November 18, 2015. During morning sessions, participants in the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine preconference presented individual research on agency in response to a call to articulate key problems that must be solved in the next five years to better understand and support rhetorical agency in massively automated and mediated science communication situations in a world-risk context. In the afternoon, participants convened in discussion groups around four topoi that emerged from the morning’s presentations: automation, biopolitics, publics, and risk. Groups were tasked with answering three questions about their assigned topos: What are the critical controversies surrounding it? What are its pivotal rhetorical and technical terms? And what scholarly questions must be addressed in the next five years to yield a just and effective discourse in this area? Groups also assembled capsule bibliographies of sources core to their topos. At the end of the afternoon, Carolyn R. Miller presented a reply to the groups’ work; that reply serves as the headnote to this manifesto.


rhetorical agency, rhetoric of science, science communication, automation, biopolitics, publics theory, risk

Total Pages

16 pages


Copyright © 2016 Lynda Walsh

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Great_Chain_of_Being_2.png (198 kB)
Figure 1: Visualization of the Great Chain of Being, Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Cristiana, published in Perugia, Italy, 1579, plate 2 after page 220. Available at https://commons.wikimedia.org

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