Rhetorics of Scale in Literary & Scientific Discourse
- Author(s): Jin, Jay
- Advisor(s): North, Michael
- et al.
Rhetorics of Scale in Literary & Scientific Discourse examines the problem of scale as a mode of qualitative description, a problem that quietly underlies many theorizations of scale in both literary-critical and techno-scientific contexts but becomes incandescently knowable at their intersection. This dissertation unfolds the tangle of rhetorical and logical ambiguities, paradoxes, and slippages in three such intersections across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: the development of zoom technology and aesthetics, the theorizations of hierarchy in narrative structuralism, organicism, and cybernetics, and debates over traditional versus computational literary criticism. With this unfolding, Rhetorics of Scale argues that these ambiguities are not barriers to understanding scale problems, but rather interpretive frames that make the concept of scale deployable as an analytical category in the first place—a category that analyzes the uncertainties of knowledge and describes their conditions.