The Craft of Writing
R1A 002 | CCN: 31192
Rhetoric of Science and Public Health Crisis
Instructor: Jennifer Lum
Date / Time: Tu/Th 5:00pm - 6:29pm
This course is an introduction to the rhetoric of science and technology, with an emphasis on the power of persuasion in producing scientific knowledge, technological artifacts, and public understandings of scientific and technological developments. How, we will ask, is science rhetorical? What can rhetorical analysis tell us about the relationships between science, technology, politics, and society? Perhaps most pressingly, how might we think about COVID-19, as well as other public health crises, as rhetorical phenomena, and why is this important?
The course will begin by unpacking what it means for science to be rhetorical, and what is at stake in such a concept. We will then turn to examine some of the rhetorical practices and material conditions that have shaped public health crises around the turn of the 21st century, including the 1995 Chicago heat wave, COVID-19, the avian flu crisis of the early 2000s, gun violence, and more. Along the way, we will explore how various techno-scientific, political, and social narratives about these events have shaped not only what it means to be alive, but to be human, to be at risk, to be a member of society, and to be ethically informed.