Leveraging strategic interventions for science communication: A study of a feminist, transdisciplinary network

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This dissertation arose from years of cognitive dissonance. Years of being told I am supposed to be a certain way, act a certain way, and believe specific things because I inhabit the world in a woman’s body. It draws upon neurofeminism and the arguments made by members of the Neurogenderings Network advocating for more critical examinations of how research is conceived of, conducted, and communicated regarding the idea of a sexed brain—a brain that is distinctly male or female. The Network is a neurofeminist network consisting of 21 women from countries and institutions worldwide at varying stages in their academic and professional careers. The members of the Neurogenderings Network embark on these more critical, deliberate examinations in their research design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination. In trying to understand why the scientific literature, like that of the Neurogenderings Network members, that clearly advocates for a neurobiological continuum is so often invisible in academic and public fora, I wondered, is it a communication problem? A marketing problem? Are the data showing that gender is not hard-wired from gestation unclear, weak, or merely not heard?

To begin answering these questions, this project rhetorically analyzes a handful of the Neurogenderings Network members’ scholarly and public-facing texts, reviews of them and reactions to them, to determine how these women go about intervening in neuroscience realms as transdisciplinary, feminist scholars to bring about change. Ultimately, I show how Network members render ethos through resistive readings, strategic ambiguity, and rhetorical questioning techniques to argue for alternative methods of neuroscience research practices.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2027. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.

Feminist Rhetorics of Science, Rhetorical Analysis, Neurofeminism, Polysemy, Rhetorics of Health, Science, and Medicine