Constructing Texts in Fringe Science: Challenges in Propaedeutics



This brief article examines the scholarship of propaedeutics, which is involved when teasing meaning from cutting-edge scientific and technological fields that are often in flux. Because these fields are plagued with uncertainty, mired in shifting jargon, highly controversial, and often politicized, the scholar who studies these areas must build texts in order to approach the claims and counterclaims made by proponents and opponents and offer rhetorical critical insight. The term fringe science is used to describe three sub-fields that have been the subject of work by the author and his team. Nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and geo-engineering are three highly interdisciplinary technological fields that offer many opportunities for rhetoricians of science and technology as well as pose risks. To critique them demands a basic understanding of what they are and what they purport to be.

Keywords: propaedeutics, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, geo-engineering, fringe science

How to Cite: Berube, D. M. (2013) “Constructing Texts in Fringe Science: Challenges in Propaedeutics”, Poroi. 9(1). doi: