A Hard Look at Ourselves: A Reception Study of Rhetoric of Science
Leah Ceccarelli. Technical Communication Quarterly. St. Paul: Summer 2005. Vol. 14, Iss. 3; p. 257

Start and Finish Date: September 10, 2006


Overall, the article discusses Ceccarelli's relationship with critics of her work in the rhetoric of historical science. Her research had cut "new" ground in an area that already had "established" experts. She faces the criticism of other disicplines head on and makes an excellent case for interdisciplinary study. Her candid self analysis is impressive. She recongizes that "late comers to the conversation cannot jump in with an outsider's depiction of the established literature and hope to carry the day" (262). However, I think that the arrogance of her critics is out of line; there is always more than one way to solve a problem, Ceccarelli offers suggestions about how she might do her research; "I would have done betterto acknowledge and even emphasize similarities between my work and the work of rhetorically sensitve historians, pointing to the places where the research of both sets of professionals can comfortably overlap" (263).

In her "call to action" at the end, she remarks that "such candid self-analysis is unpleasant, but if we are to improve the status of our discipline, it is a necessary first step" (263).

While this article doesn't necessarily speak about OSS, it does speak to the criticism we receive from outside of our discipline. This is a good reminder as I go into the chemistry community. As an outsider with no training in chemistry (or any science), I must remember that my role is to serve as an interpreter and ambassador.