Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation is a virtual ethnography of the lived racialized and gendered experiences of scientist bloggers of color. It looks to extend and complicate the literature in the fields of higher education, science communication, and science education by examining how scientists of color use blogs to speak the truth to power and to the people. The goal of my study was to learn how scientists of color use blogs to share their work; disrupt or promote normalized views of what a scientist should be; advocate for change or maintain the status quo within the scientific community; and encourage other people of color to participate in science.
I conducted semi-structured interviews with five scientist bloggers of color (4 women, 1 man) three times over a 6-month time period. Using the theoretical anchors of critical race theory (CRT), intersectionality, and science identity, I engaged in inductive coding of transcripts and a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of participant blog posts. This unveiled six themes (with 27 sub-themes): (1) Starting and Staying in Science; (2) General Costs and Benefits of Blogging; (3) Nuts and Bolts of the Work; (4) Negotiating Being “Conspicuously Invisible” Online; (5) Putting “Expertise and Networks to Serve”; and (6) Multiple, Intentional Forms of Engagement Can Reaffirm Identity.
This study is significant because of the lack of critical attention paid to scientists of color in college/university settings who engage with the public. Despite their dedication and contributions to science knowledge production and public engagement, scientists of color are often (in)visible to the scientific community. This work highlights the experiences of scientists of color and interrogates who has the power and privilege to be a public science knower/public intellectual in an online environment.
Lisette E. Torres-Gerald
Torres-Gerald, Lisette E., "“Speaking truth to power and to the people”: Scientist bloggers of color as public intellectuals" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17584.