Workshop 25: Citizen Science and Emerging Rhetorics of Science
James Wynn and Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher
Citizen science has been an important part of the scientific tradition since at least the middle of the nineteenth century, but in the last decade has seen enormous growth. Digital technologies have ushered in a new era of citizen science creating novel opportunities for doing science and reconfiguring relationships between publics, amateurs, and scientists.
In our workshop we will explore the issues and challenges that this new era of citizen science raises, the intellectual opportunities it creates for rhetorical scholarship to make contributions to the study of science, and the prospects it offers for scholars in rhetoric to engage with scientists, decision makers, and grassroots activists.
In pursuit of these goals, we will be reading works in both rhetoric and science characterizing historical and contemporary forms of citizen science. Topics will include the role of citizen science in the emergence or evolution of genres and means of argument; the opportunities and challenges of using citizen science to reconfigure relationships between scientists, publics, and other relevant stakeholders; the rhetorical affordances of digital technologies to configure and maintain networks and communities of citizen scientists; and the role of the media in shaping perceptions of citizen science. In addition to readings, we will also work with participants to develop drafts of talks or research papers on topics related to citizen science.