107 | CCN: 31421

Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse

Instructor: Nasser Zakariya,

4 Units

Popular and public discourses have long constructed varied cultural representations of scientific knowledge and technological innovation. Scientific research programs and apologetics are framed by and structured through these discourses, relating beliefs in and doubts about the sciences, offering meaning-making orientation to practitioners and concerned publics. Focusing on several cases primarily from the nineteenth century through the present, this course will examine the nature, structures and play of such scientific discourse. Examples will be drawn from past and present imaginations of scientifically and technologically enabled futures and induced catastrophes; the lure of scientific discourses and technological innovations for understanding literary and artistic endeavors; narrative underpinnings of literary and scientific texts; representations and receptions of paradigmatic scientific subjects and experiences; and relations between notions of scientific and political unity. Attention to the pervasiveness of these discourses will help us investigate the changing nature and status of the category of “science,” its limits and potentials.