Inventing the Future
ARST Vicentennial Celebration
The Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Orlando, FL, USA
November 14, 2012
Association for the Rhetoric of Science & Technology (ARST) Preconference, held in
conjunction with the 98th annual meeting of the National Communication Association
In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology
(ARST), this day-long preconference seeks to unite multiple generations of rhetoric of science and
technology scholars in a conversation about the inventional potential of the rhetoric of science, technology,
and medicine. Position papers that take stock of the existing trajectories and future possibilities of
scholarship in the rhetoric of STeM (science, technology, and medicine) will be discussed at the
preconference and will subsequently appear in a special forum of POROI.
Preliminary Schedule
8:30-9 am
Inventing the Future: Welcome and Introduction to the Conference Theme
Rhetoricians have long paid homage to rhetorical invention, but the concept sometimes
recedes to the background of our scholarly inquiries. Yet invention possesses rich potential
as a rubric through which to approach the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine.
Among the tools and strategies of invention are the use of different templates, the
importation of language from one context into another, the deployments of stases, the
introduction of tropes and figures to shape or re-shape the reception of discourse, the
pulling of a historical thread into the present situation, perspective by incongruity, and
numerous others. The preconference will feature invention as a way of stimulating a lively
discussion of our past, present and future. Participants will be encouraged to think, talk,
converse, and write about the ways that the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine
can be more inventive within academic and public contexts.
Plenary Session I: What’s In Our Repertoire?
This session will explore how earlier work in the rhetoric of science and technology may
afford resources for thinking about, or engaging in, rhetorical invention. Rather than frame
early work in the area as foundational, we will revisit past work with an eye toward finding
inventional possibilities. Perhaps we will find threads that were never picked up, threads
that were dropped, and threads that can be pulled through to the present. Or, we may find
nascent themes that can unsettle current practices. If there is life in our intellectual
habitat, we can look for the plentitude and potentiality that might be found within our
intellectual heritage.
To explore these questions, three position papers reflecting on the inventional potential of
earlier work in the rhetoric of science and technology will be shared in advance with
preconference participants. The session will begin with each of the three scholars giving a
3-5 minute presentation reminding the audience of the central argument of their paper.
Then, two more scholars will give 3-5 minute responses. The floor will then be opened for a
discussion of the inventional possibilities in the rhetoric of science and technology. The
room will be organized in a double horseshoe formation so that all participants can see one
another with major speakers at the front table.
Position Papers: Celeste Condit, John Lyne & David Depew, Lawrence J. Prelli
Respondents: Jeanne Fahnestock and John Angus Campbell
Plenary Session II: Horizons of Possibility
This session will mimic the session format of the first but will focus on emerging work,
collaborative projects, and the developing possibilities for shaping discourse and discursive
understanding in the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine. It will take seriously
the idea that there is a repertoire to be drawn upon, updated, or deployed in order to
provide resources for invention, and it will consider recent venues or research or public
intervention as places where renewed attention to invention might produce creative
Position Papers: Leah Ceccarelli, Carl Herndl, Randy Allan Harris
Respondents: Lynda Walsh and Carolyn Miller
12:15-2 pm
Lunch in small groups on your own.
2-3:15 pm
Emerging Directions in the Rhetoric of STeM: Octavian Table Discussions
While we are at lunch, the room will be reset into 6 tables. Each table will contain between
two and four conversational “anchors” who will lead a discussion of the inventional
possibilities of their designated area. Other participants will be free to enter and leave the
conversations at will and may choose to occupy a designated “devil’s advocate” seat in
order to make sure multiple viewpoints are aired. At the end of the conversation, each set
of table anchors will coordinate a position paper outlining potential futures in the area to
appear in POROI.
Scientific Genres
Rhetoric of Technology
Rhetoric of Medicine/Health
Visual Rhetorics of Science
Science, Publics, & Controversy
Nanotech. & Synthetic Biology
Jeanne Fahenstock and Carolyn Miller
Bill Kinsella and John Lynch
Judy Segal, Lisa Keränen, and J. Blake Scott
Larry Prelli and Celeste Condit
James Wynn and Lynda Walsh
David Berube and Greg Wilson
Inventing the Future: Part II
This session will link back to the morning’s themes. It will begin with a brief report of major
topics discussed at each table. The session will conclude with a plenary discussion of future
collaborations and larger projects that would benefit ARST and ideas about how we can
better partner with other parts of the academy and relevant public and stakeholder
Oral History Project
During breaks, a team of digital media scholars will execute an oral history project and will record video of
participants reflecting on their experiences doing research in the rhetoric of science, technology, and
medicine. These will be uploaded to a refurbished ARST website via youtube.
ARST Bibliography Project
The preconference may lead to an attempt to compile a master bibliography of scholarship related to the
rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine by merging existing bibliographies and participant
contributions. We will seek volunteers to coordinate this effort after the meeting.
For More Information
Visit the ARST website at: for information about ARST.
For information about the preconference, contact:
Lisa Keränen, ARST First Vice-President and Preconference Organizer
Department of Communication
University of Colorado Denver, Campus Box 176
Denver CO 80217; Phone: 303.556.5668
Email: [email protected]
*Lisa Keränen thanks the members of the ARST Board of Governors and ARST Officers, including David Depew, Karen Taylor, David
Berube, Aimee-Marie Dorsten, James Wynn, Greg Wilson, and especially John Lyne for their input on the conference theme and

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