Innovative Popular Science Communication? Materiality, Aesthetics and Gender in Science Slams

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksArticle in conference proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper is about the communicative construction (Knoblauch 1995, 2017) of science communication in a popular genre called science slam, more precisely, within the context of the materiality, aesthetics and gender. In Science Slams, we can observe how popular scientists position themselves. Although seeing the success of female performances (for example Giulia Enders) might lead us to hope for new norms of gender, technical jargon, and visual practices in scientific communication, these hopes are not wholly fulfilled in the Science Slam genre. Our empirical observations (ethnography, video analysis, interviews) have shown that, even if the new genre seems to enable all kinds of revisionist representations of science for men, women remain silent and invisible. Although the technical jargon and visual practices of Science Slammers is quite different from that used in university lectures, marginalization of gender, among other groups, remains an issue. Drawing on typical tropes of patriarchal societies, successful Science Slams women are presented as objects of desire, hardworking assistants, or aunts, mothers, and grandmothers. In this way, the Science Slam could be understood as expression of a still problematic gender relation in science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenealogy of Popular Science : From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality
EditorsJesus Munoz Morcillo, Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha
Number of pages30
Place of PublicationBielefeld
Publishertranscript Verlag
Publication date24.11.2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-8376-4835-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-8394-4835-9
Publication statusPublished - 24.11.2020