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Growing attention to a rift between epistemology and ontology, between words and things, sets new challenges and invigorations for a Rhetoric of Science that traditionally aims to “analyze and evaluate the persuasive communications of scientists” (Ceccarelli, 2017, para 6). Rhetoricians confront a vibrant, new intellectual space where scholars across disciplines are seeking to better account for bodies and moving to “include the materiality of our ambient environs” in their analyses (Rickert, 2013, p. x). The question, in light of material expansions, is what is a Rhetoric of Science, and what are its futures?

In response to the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2018 conference call for junior and senior scholars to discuss “major developments in rhetorical studies,” we offer a Feyerabendian innovation-meets-dogma performative session: the junior scholar, representing innovation, argues that Rhetoric of Science must move aggressively beyond a study of texts and scientific language to account for continuous technological, social, and biological entanglements; specifically, to expand the field’s practices to include neuro-cognitive approaches and other forms of experiment. The senior scholar, representing dogma, expresses caution, arguing that the domain of a Rhetoric of Science is still symbols and semiosis; specifically, that looking at “ambient rhetorics” and “entanglements” is another approach, not a foundational shift.


entanglement, junior senior scholar, bodies, futures, Materiality, Rhetoric of Science


Copyright © 2019 David R. Gruber and Randy Harris

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