ARST @ RSA 2012

Medicine, Health, & Publics

Association for the Rhetoric of Science & Technology (ARST) Preconference           
held in conjunction with the biennial conference                                                           
of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA)
Registration Deadline April 1st

Preliminary Schedule of Events*

For a downloadable program, click here.


All events take place in the Commonwealth D Room of the Loews Hotel.
* A finalized schedule will be posted in March.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

12:00 – 12:30 pm            Registration

12:30 - 12:45 pm            Welcome and Introductions

12:45 - 2:00 pm              Session I: The Rhetoric of Opting In:
Decision Making in H1N1 and Seasonal
Flu Vaccinations
Over the past two decades, vaccination has become a controversial practice between medicine and its publics. This panel reports on a study of family decision-making during a flu vaccination initiative for children in a rural area of a Southeastern state. By examining survey and interview responses, we analyze parental decisions concerning vaccination with the aim of encouraging increased understanding a vaccination controversy as a specific example of the contentious territory between medicine and its publics. 

You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?: Pushing Vaccinations in Closed Communities
Clare J. Dannenberg
Linguistics Lab
Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
Get a Good Workout: Immune Systems and Vaccination
Bernice L. Hausman
Department of English
Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
“Doesn’t Scare Me, the Flu:” Seriousness and Personal Risk in Vaccination Discourse
Heidi Y. Lawrence
Rhetoric and Writing Program
Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)

2:00 - 2:15 pm        Break

2:15 - 3:30 pm        Session II: Citizens & Controversies
Controversies have historically provided occasions where citizens participate in public discourses about biomedical research and practice. The papers on this panel explore how citizens have attempted to shape the contours of controversies that sit at the intersection of biomedical science and public policy or practice.

Harms of Hedging in Scientific Discourse: The Origins of the Autism Vaccine Controversy
Lauren Archer
Department of Communication
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Science-Based Controversy and Radical Democracy:  Anti-Vaccination Discourse as a Case-Study in Agonism
Melissa Carrion
Department of Communication
Purdue University (Peru, IN)
Errors of Eros: Politics of Intimacy and Friendship In Neurodiversity and Cure Autism Movements
Nathan Crean-Williams
Department of Communication
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
Bioidentical Hormones and ‘Wellness’ in a Culture of Medical Surveillance 
Colleen Derkatch
Department of English
Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)
3:30 - 3:45 pm         Break
3:45 - 5:00 pm         Session III: Emerging Public Discourses about Health and Medicine:
From Place and Technology to Alternative Medicine and Self-Disclosure 
This panel examines emerging discourses and topoi related to the rhetoric of medicine and health. By considering place and space, new technologies, and the creation of new publics, it offers insight into future lines of inquiry in the rhetoric of medicine.

Rhetorics of Health and Place in the Making of a President
Lora Arduser
Department of English & Professional Writing
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
Amy Koerber
Texas Tech University
Department of English, Technical Communication and Rhetoric (Lubbock, TX)

The Stasis of iPad as an e-Health Technology
Monica Brown
Department of English
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
The Creation of a Biomedicalized Traditional Chinese Medical Public 
Erin Wais-Hennen
Department of English
Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, KY)
The Rhetoric of Self-Disclosure: The Use of Topoi in Student Disability Accommodation Requests 
Raquel Baldwinson
Department of English
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
ARST Happy Hour TBA.

Friday, May 25, 2012

8:30-9:45 am         Session IV: Public Participation and Medical Practice                                
What are the varied ways that publics participate in medical research and practice? How do publics understand health responsibility differently than policy makers might envision? How do publics actively resist, support, challenge, or alter medical research and practice?

Public Participation and Federal Pharmaceuticals Policy: The Invalidation of Breast Cancer Survivor Testimony in the FDA Avastin Hearings, 2011
Scott Graham
Department of English
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
Christa Teston
Department of English
University of Idaho (Moscow, ID)

Rhetorics of Health Citizenship: How Older Adults Intertwine the Public Discourse of Individual Responsibility With Critical-Collective Conceptualizations Of Healthy Living 
Philippa Spoel
Department of English
Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON)
Roma Harris
Information & Media Studies Faculty
University of Western Ontario (London, ON)
Flis Henwood
School of Applied Social Science
University of Brighton (Brighton, UK)
Rhetorics of Resistance and Containment in the Rhetorics of Bug Chasing 
Jennifer Malkowski
Department of Communication
University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO)
9:45-10:00 am       Break

10:00-11:15           Session V: Public Participation and Medical Practice Continued
This session takes up the questions of Session IV by considering two cases concerning public involvement in medical practice. The Rhetorical Construction of the Public as Exemplary Speaker
Patty Kelly
Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 
(Burnaby, BC)

The Shifting Configuration of ADHD In the Emerging Culture of Networked Knowledge
John Lyne
Department of Communication
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Susan M. Wieczorek
Department of Communication
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

11:15-11:20             Brief Break

11:20-11:45 pm       Closing Reflections and Future Directions

Preconference Program

Click here for a preliminary conference program.

Preconference Registration

Click here for a conference registration form.

Please fill it out and mail it the old fashioned way with a check payable to “ARST” to William White, the ARST treasurer, at the address listed on the form.

Direct any payment and registration inquiries to the ARST Treasurer at

Deadline for Registration: April 1

Note that space is limited to the first 45 registrants.