Program in Comparative Literature

Hannah Alpert-Abrams



Interests: twentieth century literature, archives, colonial Mexico, book history, digital humanities


Education: BA, Oberlin College ; MA, University of Texas at Austin

Graduate Research Assistant: Reading the First Books Project, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections

Research: Contemporary repurposing of texts and narratives from early colonial and pre-colonial Mexico. 

Language Background: English, Spanish


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Science Writing

44665 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 114

The pace of scientific research today is tremendous, from biology to astronomy, from engineering to medicine. Yet there is a communication gap between the science done in a laboratory and newspaper articles or public policy. In this course we will look at the history of science and at current academic and popular science writing to understand how we talk about scientific truth. We will consider why inaccessible writing sounds truthful and how popular writers use scientific facts to draw unlikely conclusions. We will then look at contemporary science writers who are effective in communicating the importance of new ideas while staying true to scientific rigor in order to identify ways of doing science writing right. Intended for science majors and non-majors alike, this course will give students tools for reading scientific writing critically. At the same time, students in this course will be asked to conduct research and produce original writing, including a scholarly essay and a portfolio of journalistic pieces, so that by the end of the course students will be confident science writers.

Assignments and Grading

Oral presentations: 10%

Research Summaries: 10%

Essay 1.1: 10%

Essay 1.2: 10%

Interview Report: 10%

Researcher Profile: 10%

Portfolio drafts: 20%

Final Portfolio: 20%

Required Texts and Course Readings

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007.

Andrea Lunsford. Easy Writer. Fourth Edition ed. Boston: Bedford/Martin’s, 2010.

Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Best American Science and Nature Writing: 2013. New York: Mariner Books, 2013.

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

External Links