Rhetoric in the Flesh: Trained Vision, Technical Expertise, and the Gross Anatomy Lab

T. Kenny Fountain

Order the book from Routledge or at Amazon.

Rhetoric in the Flesh is the first book-length ethnographic study of the gross anatomy lab to explain how rhetorical discourses, multimodal displays, and embodied practices facilitate learning and technical expertise and how they shape participants’ perceptions of the human body. By investigating the role that discourses, displays, and human bodies play in the training and socialization of medical students, T. Kenny Fountain contributes to our theoretical and practical understanding of the social factors that make rhetoric possible and material in technical domains. Thus, the book also explains how these displays, discourses, and practices lead to the trained perspective necessary for expertise. This trained vision is constructed over time through what Fountain terms embodied rhetorical action, an intertwining of body-object-environment that undergirds all scientific, medical, and technical work.

This book will be valuable for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in technical and professional communication (technical communication theory and practice, visual or multimodal communication, medical technical communication) and rhetorical studies, including visual rhetoric, rhetoric of science, medical rhetoric, material rhetoric and embodiment, and ethnographic approaches to rhetoric.

Intended users of Rhetoric in the Flesh include:

  • Researchers and teachers in technical and professional communication
  • Researchers and teachers in rhetorical studies
  • Industry practitioners in medical writing and medical communication
  • Researchers and teachers in medical humanities
  • Researchers and teachers in anatomy education and medical education
Specific university courses in which Rhetoric in the Flesh might be used include:
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Medical rhetoric
  • Rhetoric of science
  • Research methods in technical and professional communication
  • Qualitative and ethnographic approaches to technical communication
  • Material rhetoric
  • Theories of the body and embodiment
  • Medical education
T. Kenny Fountain is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication from the University of Minnesota in 2008. He is a former Writing Center Assistant Director at Yeshiva College and a former Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. His research interests include the rhetoric of science and medicine, visual studies of science, rhetorical theory and history, communication in the disciplines, and theories of the body and embodiment. He has published work in the journals Medicine Studiesand the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication as well as the edited collections Solving Problems in Technical Communicationand Pluralizing Plagiarism.
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