Broadly speaking, my research is devoted to better understanding the circulation of linguistic patterns and argumentative strategies in biomedical decision systems. Central to this research agenda is a commitment to treating biomedical deliberation and decision-making as complex networks of individuals, scientific instruments, regulatory structures, professional commitments, and economic investments. With this framework as a foundation, I argue that to understand the circulation of discourse within these complex networks requires theoretical foundations and methodological approaches consonant with the scope of the task. Subsequently, pursuing this research agenda has required me to pursue 1) theoretical advances in rhetorical new materialisms (a network theory of language in action), 2) computational and statistical rhetorics (novel methods for exploring discursive circulation at scale, and 3) to leverage those theoretical advances and methodological extensions to explore specific biomedical decision systems. A few recent projects include:
Where’s the Rhetoric? Imagining a Unified Field (The Ohio State University Press) The emergence of rhetorical new materialisms and computational rhetorics has provoked something of an existential crisis within rhetorical studies. In Where’s the Rhetoric?, I tackle this titular question by arguing first that scholarly efforts in rhetorical new materialisms and computational rhetoric be understood as coextensive with longstanding disciplinary commitments in rhetoric. In making this argument, I excavate the shared intellectual history of traditional rhetorical inquiry, rhetorical new materialisms, and computational rhetoric with particular emphasis on the works of Carolyn Miller, Kenneth Burke, and Henri Bergson.
Conflict Metrics is the public-facing portal for data associated with my research on conflicts of interest in health and medicine. This site is devoted to providing public access to biomedical research sponsorship and funding data. The focus on data visualization is part of this project’s broader aims of helping researchers, policy-makers, providers, and patients rethink conflicts of interest. Much of the data available here has been made possible through collaborative work developing an AI system designed to understand and trace COI in biomedical research. This line of research has been been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).
The Politics of Pain Medicine (2015, University of Chicago Press) chronicles three years of ethnographic research and nearly ten years archival research into interdisciplinary pain medicine and related public policy. The book traces how researchers, policy makers, and practitioners have struggled both to define pain itself and to establish clinical standards for pain management. Using these interdisciplinary advancements as crucible, I explore the many resonances between pain science’s efforts to establish an integrated mind/body approach to treating pain and the anti-dualism of rhetorical new materialisms. (Sample.)