Alan Gross, Rhetorical Theory and the Rhetoric of Science

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A Special Issue of POROI, the Journal of the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry

The rhetoric of science, as a field, has established itself as a subfield of communication studies, a sister field of technical communication studies, and a partner to science and technology studies. It is, in other words, thoroughly embedded in the American university context. While it would be fair to say that the field was built by a polyphony of voices (John Angus Campbell, Lawrence Prelli, Charles Bazerman, Jeanne Fahnestock, William Keith), for this special issue of POROI, we drawn one of those voices to the fore: Alan G. Gross, on the 25th anniversary of the publication of his monograph, The Rhetoric of Science.

The voice of Alan G. Gross is, itself, diverse and capable of its own polyphony. Central texts have defined a research agenda in the rhetoric of science (Rhetoric of Science, Communicating Science and others). Still others have worked in the history and theory of rhetoric (Chaim Perelman, Rereading Aristotle's Rhetoric). Threaded throughout Alan's career has been an interest in rhetorical studies of other discourses of power, beyond scientific discourse (for one example of many, see: "When Nations Remember: Hiroshima in the American Consciousness and Conscience." Prospects 27 (2002): 467-88). It is our goal to critically reassess Gross's contribution to the rhetoric of science and the project for a rhetoric of inquiry. It is also our goal to understand that reducing Gross's work to "just" a contribution, even a foundational one, to the rhetoric of inquiry is to see Gross's larger project as a rhetorical critic and theorist through too-narrow blinders.

For this special issue of POROI, we seek submissions of three types:
Full-length articles that take at least one starting point Alan G. Gross's work, picking up his projects and extending, correcting, or subverting them in the best academic fashion.
Critical engagements of 2,000 words or less that respond specifically to one of Gross's books or articles -- critical re-evaluation, refutation, reappraisal. We especially encourage such analyses of less well-known texts -- Gross's writings on medical rhetoric, on visual communication, on public address, for example).

Timeline: Critical Engagements (Editorial Review Only)
Proposal to Editors by August 15, 2013
Notification on Critical Engagements and Personal Reflections by September 1, 2013
Draft of Critical Engagements and Personal Reflections to Editor by November 30, 2013
Revisions of Critical Engagements and Personal Reflections to Editor by February 1, 2014

Timeline: Full-Length Articles (Both Editorial and Blind Peer Review)
Proposal to Editors by August 15 1, 2013
Editorial Acceptance of Proposal by September 1, 2013
Draft of Full-Length Articles to Editor by November 30, 2013
Blind Peer Review completed by February 1, 2014
Revision of Articles by April 1, 2013

Send questions to: Sara Newman ( and David Beard (