Tag: evolution

Writing Science: Viewing Science as Social Practice in the Composition Classroom

Composition endures, in fact thrives, at universities that are heavily invested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But, this also means that composition instructors who are primarily trained in the Humanities and Social Sciences may encounter more and more students whose interests and majors are (for some) somewhat alien. Put simply, STEM topics do not readily offer themselves up to make writing assignments for broad audiences, and students may struggle in constructing them. A further challenge in working with STEM students has to do with their dispositions toward critiques of science and ideology. Students in STEM fields may not have been exposed to the possibility that social norms have been packaged into scientific knowledge production, and they sometimes find such suggestions threatening. One way to productively engage students STEM topics is to highlight that science as a social practice. That is, science not entirely viewed as the ‘discovery’ of facts, but as a pursuit embedded within particular cultural and historical contexts. Scientific knowledge is produced and disseminated by people for other people, and so must follow the social and rhetorical codes of its times. Viewed in this way, scientists do not ‘reveal’ the nature of the world, but rather make arguments about it. As those arguments ‘go public,’ their authors take on a broader set of interests, concerns, presuppositions, and stakeholders than might be encountered among expert audiences. (read more...)

Diet and the Disease of Civilization: An Interview with Adrienne Rose Bitar

In her recently published Diet and the Disease of Civilization, Dr. Adrienne Rose Bitar argues that diet books capture the socio-political concerns of America. Looking at Paleo, Devotional (or ‘Eden’), Pacific Islander (or ‘Primitive’), and Detox Diets, she posits that the narratives of modern diet books both mourn and critique a loss of innocence, purity, and purpose. They criticize post-industrial excesses, addiction, technocratic alienation, and the disappearance of traditional morals and lifeways. These developments, authors contend, are showing themselves in a decline of physical health (obesity, hypertension, stress, diabetes) – conditions that result from the average American’s disconnect from nature and ‘natural’ ways of eating. (read more...)