Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

Kopelson, Karen

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

McDonald, Frances

Committee Member

McDonald, Frances

Committee Member

Freeman, Lauren

Author's Keywords

rhetoric of health; rhetoric of medicine; Latour; neocolonialism; racism


This project examines the construction of scientific facts surrounding the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak as well as the subsequent uptake and transformation of those facts by the United States government. While the Ebolavirus ravaged the communities of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, the incidence of the virus in other countries was very low. Nonetheless, the United States spent $576 million on domestic preparedness and response. This study addresses this mismatch in the context of the reinvigorated interest among rhetoricians into writing and science. Applying and expanding the methodology of Jeanne Fahnestock, this study analyzes Ebola-related statements in scientific articles, webpages of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and governmental documents. Not only does this answer Fahnestock’s call to use her technique to investigate the use of scientific information by political groups, but it uncovers a way in which neo-colonial discourses and actions can emerge from scientific accommodations.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons