Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet

Anticipated publication: Spring 2019 from The Ohio State University Press.

Book cover for Science Communication Online (book cover design by Susan Zucker)

(Book cover design by Susan Zucker)

Uncloistered by the web, science is finding its way into previously unimagined audiences. Whether collecting data in one’s backyard to help wildlife experts manage wolf populations or even funding research out of one’s own pocket, nonexperts can engage science at an unprecedented scale. As science communication has moved online, a range of important new genres have emerged that put professionals and the public into conversation with each other. In Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet, Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher takes up these “trans-scientific” genres to explore how scientists are adapting their communications, how publics are increasingly involved in science, and how boundaries between experts and nonexperts continue to shift.

Bringing together genre studies and the rhetoric of science, Mehlenbacher examines a range of new forms of science communication that challenge traditional presumptions about experts and nonexperts—including Twitter and Reddit AMAs, crowdfunding proposals such as Kickstarter and, civic-minded databases such as Safecast, and the PLOS blogging network. Science Communication Online illustrates the unique features of these genres and connects them to their rhetorical functions and the larger context leading to their emergence and evolution—from the democratization of science, challenges to expertise and expert status, and new political economies. Science Communication Online captures the important moment we find ourselves in now—one not defined by science and society but science in society.

Available for pre-order. Paperback available: 29.95 USD/ 39.42 CAD.


Emerging Genres in New Media Environments

Palgrave Macmillan, 2017


This volume explores cultural innovation and transformation as revealed through the emergence of new media genres. New media have enabled what impresses most observers as a dizzying proliferation of new forms of communicative interaction and cultural production, provoking multimodal experimentation, and artistic and entrepreneurial innovation.  Working with the concept of genre, scholars in multiple fields have begun to explore these processes of emergence, innovation, and stabilization. Genre has thus become newly important in game studies, library and information science, film and media studies, applied linguistics, rhetoric, literature, and elsewhere. Understood as social recognitions that embed histories, ideologies, and contradictions, genres function as recurrent social actions, helping to constitute culture. Because genres are dynamic sites of tension between stability and change, they are also sites of inventive potential. Emerging Genres in New Media Environments brings together compelling papers from scholars in Brazil, Canada, England, and the United States to illustrate how this inventive potential has been harnessed around the world.

Outstanding Features:

  • Explores cultural change over time as revealed through the creation and emergence of new media genres
  • Includes attention to visual and multimodal genres (19th-century photography, public commemorative sites, digital artistic works, videogames) as well as text-­centric genres
  • Incorporates contributions from multiple disciplines (art history, communication, education, composition, game studies, literature, rhetoric and technical communication) and multiple countries (Brazil, Canada, the UK and the US)
  • Connects new media studies, rhetorical analysis and cultural innovation and transformation through genre theory

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