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505.2 Case (25%, 25 points)

For Project Two, plan, research, and write an analytical essay of at least 1,800 words that forwards a claim or advances an insightful proposition using selected rhetorical concepts or frameworks to examine a contemporary scientific or technological controversy. The rhetorical concepts you select may come from readings for the class or from outside research and reading you do independently. You may choose freely from a range of conteporary scientific and/or technological controversies (e.g., the Fukushima radiation crisis, the BP oil spill, Climategate, the discovery of microbial alien life, the reclassification of Pluto, etc.). You should not expect to account fully for the controversy, and, in fact, narrowing the scope and selecting which materials to work with will be one of the challenges in composing a response to this call.

Your essay should adhere strictly to APA or MLA style. The rhetorical concept(s) and controversy you work with here may also extend into Project Theee, the poster, and the RST Conference at the end of the semester, so it might be helpful to keep this in mind as you gather resources and decide how best to approach the project.

Among our purposes should be to more deeply understand selected (perhaps favorite or inspirational) rhetorical concepts in relation to some contemporary controversy in science and/or technology. The following questions serve as another way of introducing this perspective on learning: 1) What can we understand about rhetorical qualities manifest in this controversy? And 2) What can we understand about the controversy by viewing it in light of rhetorical concepts? Note that you could approach the essay as an opportunity to examine a controversy that has not yet been recognized publicly or that could be illuminated through rhetorical thinking (especially Burke's master terms, the stases, the rhetorical situation, Aristotle's appeals, or procedural/processual rhetoric). You should imagine as your readers an audience of peers.

A printed draft of your work is due in in class on Monday, October 31. A revised draft of your work is due to the EMU Online dropbox by the beginning of class on Monday, November 7.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of Composition
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2019 Office Hours: T, 12-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485

"Rhetoric of science is simply, then, the study of how scientists persuade and dissuade each other and the rest of us about nature, —the study of how scientists argue in the making of knowledge" (xii). Randy Harris, "Introduction," Landmark Essays on Rhetoric of Science: Case Studies

"The reality, feasibility, and representativeness of a project are progressive concepts, but they are also controversial; that's why it's so hard to get a clear idea about the technologies involved" (66). Bruno Latour, Aramis, or The Love of Technology

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