Monthly Archives: July 2012

Interview with Dr. Carolyn R. Miller on Figure/Ground Communication

CRDM’s own Dr. Carolyn Miller was recently interviewed by Mridula A Mascarenhas of the interdisciplinary research website Figure/Ground Communication (click here for our informal interview with her last semester). The following was taken from the introduction to the interview:

Carolyn R. Miller is SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication at North Carolina State University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in rhetoric and technical communication for the Department of English and the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, of which she was founding director. She is a past president of the Rhetoric Society of America, past editor of its journal, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and was named a Fellow of the Society in 2010. She has also held offices in the ASHR, ARST, ATTW, CCCC, and MLA. Her research interests are in digital rhetoric, genre studies, rhetorical theory, and rhetoric of science and technology. Her publications (she realizes in retrospect) are a series of attempts to figure out the conceptual vocabulary of rhetoric: invention, kairos, community, ethos, pathos, genre. She has lectured and taught in North America, Norway, Denmark, Italy, South Korea, and Brazil. She is currently working on Genre Across Borders, a web project to provide scholarly networking for genre researchers across disciplines and around the world.

Click here for the full interview

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Week 1 with IGERT in Lima, Peru – The Role of Rhetoric in Transgenetics

Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks we’ll be following incoming CRDM student Molly Storment’s experiences in Peru. Please also see her original post here:

Hola a todos! I have been in Peru since July 14 with NC State’s Genetic Engineering and Society program, to study pest issues in developing nations. Today we arrived in Iquitos, Peru, officially ending week 1 in Lima.

This was a busy, full week of conferences, farm tours, and museum visits. Conferences were spread over Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at three universities in Lima: San Marcos, Catolíca, and La Molina. The schedule included a diverse mix of presenters representing different universities, different areas of transgenic research (including Peru, Brazil, Panama, and the Key West), and the Peruvian government. These conferences have provided a unique opportunity for not just our group of NC State students, but for all these interested groups. We were able to spend some one-on-one time with Amy Morrison, who is working with the Aedes mosquito in Iquitos, Peru; Nestor Sosa, who is researching dengue and working with Oxitec in Panama; Margareth Capurro, who is researching transgenic mosquitoes in Brazil; and Mike Doyle, who is also researching transgenic mosquitoes in Key West. These conferences provided an opportunity for these scientists, working in the same feild, to meet one another and discuss their own technical, social, and regulatory difficulties in each of their areas. Hosting this meet-up in Peru has been significant for a number of reasons, the most significant being the fact that Peru passed a 10 year moratorium on transgenic crops just this past December. These researchers, while working in different areas, have had several overlapping concerns, the biggest being public perception and opinion of their work, governmental regulation, and ethical issues.

A common thread I have noticed in many of these discussions is the difficulty in navigating boundaries: institutional boundaries, governmental boundaries, economic boundaries, and personal boundaries. We were able to see first hand the differences in economic interests even just within the Cañete valley in Peru, when we visited a corporately owned farm (which produces artichokes for Kirkland), a privately owned farm, and a university research farm. Some researchers presenting at the conferences stressed that no one product would be suitable for all areas. These same researchers (Peruvians themselves) also exhibited much pride in Peru’s biodiversity and diverse lanscape. This sense of nationalism extended, from my experience so far, from the scientists who were looking into tools to help preserve this biodiversity, to the citizens who wanted to protect their environment from these transgenic products. What is most interesting to me is discovering how skeptics and proponents (and those who are unsure or have no opinion) share this great sense of pride in their agriculture and environment, but come to seemingly opposing conclusions on how to make “progress.” This, I think, is the role of rhetoric in transgenics.


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Dr. Andrew Binder

Over the course of the next few months the CRDM blog will periodically feature a Q + A with one of our outstanding faculty members. We take classes with them and work with them on scholarly projects, but now we’d like to learn more about what else they’re doing. We’ve talked with David RiederJessica JamesonChris AnsonMatt MayDavid BerubeSusan KatzMaria PramaggioreSusan Miller-CochranRobert SchragCarolyn R. MillerBrad MehlenbacherR. Michael YoungJason SwartsAdriana de Souza e SilvaElizabeth Craig, and Victoria Gallagher, and we recently caught up with Andrew Binder, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and associate director of the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCOST) Project.:

What are you reading?

This past weekend I finished The Walking Dead: Compendium One, which collects the first 8 volumes of the ongoing comic book series. (The comic presents graphic situations they could never translate to television, which—compared to the AMC show—makes it infinitely more interesting.) Current novels include A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers and Les Particules élémentaires by Michel Houellebecq. In the academic realm, I am finishing up Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. And a number of books and articles on risk.

What classes are you teaching?

In July I’m travelling to Peru for two weeks to help teach the IGERT course “Genetic Pest Management in Developing Countries.” Part of the course will involve a two-day conference in Lima hosted by Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, which will feature guests from other Latin American countries that are developing genetically modified mosquitoes. Should be a fascinating mix of interdisciplinary perspectives on issues of transgenic organisms.

This fall I’m looking forward to piloting a CRDM course, “Empirical Social Science Methods for Digital Media Research,” and teaching the second iteration of an undergraduate course on “Mass Media and Politics.”

What are you writing about?

This week, I’m submitting a book proposal that further develops the ideas I explored in my doctoral dissertation regarding public opinion of science & technology, the social dynamics of risk perception, and media discourse about high-risk research. There are also a number of other articles to be written using those same data, which I hope to complete this summer.

What are you listening to?

With June 16 marking the 15th anniversary of OK Computer, I’ve been listening to that quite a bit lately. Otherwise, it’s been a reliable rotation of North Carolina blue grass (e.g., Steep Canyon Rangers, Chatham County Line, Doc Watson, the Avett Brothers’ Emotionalism), 1990’s/2000’s hip hop (e.g., Jurassic 5, Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang), and Glenn Gould’s performance of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier.

And I’m about to start selectively re-listening to the CBC podcast series “How to Think About Science” (—24-listen/).

What are you watching?

Euro 2012. NASA’s video compilation of the recent transit of Venus ( The $5 comedy specials of Louis CK and Aziz Ansari. And re-watching the complete series Mr. Show.


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