In Poroi’s 2013 special issue “Inventing the Future: The Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine,” Lisa Keränen reflected on the variety of purposes contributing authors ascribe to the scholarship and practice of rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine (RSTM).1 Keränen especially noted the distinction Randy Harris, Lynda Walsh, and Carolyn Miller draw between studying persuasion and making persuasion happen. As Harris puts it, it’s the difference between “the impulse to understand persuasion and the impulse to achieve persuasion” (Keränen, 2013, para. 7; emphasis in original). The latter is the active choice, which Keränen refers as “engagement,” a term she equates to “public intellectualism.” As a lens through which to imagine possibilities for our work, however, “engagement” can be much more than merely doing scholarship in public. I don’t intend to wax pedantic here about precise interpretations of engagement. However, as Kenneth Walker and Sara Beth Parks show, without some definitional work “engagement” risks being reduced to only one of its many facets, which include not only public engagement (Berube, 2013; Ceccarelli, 2013; Keränen, 2013), but also classroom teaching (Ceccarelli, 2013) and transdisciplinary research with—rather than focused on—STEM practitioners and related stakeholders (Walker, this issue; Parks, this issue; Druschke, 2014).

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Published in POROI, v. 12, issue 2, p. 1-13.

Copyright © 2017 Lauren E. Cagle

This work is licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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