Teston's book wins second major award

October 29, 2019
Christa Teston

The Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology and Medicine (ARSTM) has announced the winner of its 2019 Book Award: Bodies in Flux: Scientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty (University of Chicago Press 2017) by Associate Professor Christa Teston. This award will be presented to Teston during the National Communication Association conference on Nov. 16 in Baltimore, Md. This is the second major award Teston’s book has received.

As Teston herself describes, “Bodies in Flux uses rhetorical theory, especially theories that attend to the role of nonhuman actants, to understand how evidence is constructed and then mobilized in cancer care situations.” 

The book’s inception began early in Teston’s life. Her mother went to medical school after having three children and is now an oncologist in Cleveland, Ohio. While her mom was in medical school, her dad served as a Methodist minister. Teston grew up in a household where there were several ways to make sense of the world in all its complexity and uncertainty. 

“I suppose,” Teston says, “in some ways rhetorical theory is just another body of knowledge or tradition (in addition to religion or science) you can use to understand how humans negotiate and navigate such complexity and uncertainty—especially when these complexities and uncertainties collide in the corporeal body.”

The official ARSTM awards committee statement is full of praise: “The analyses are strong and ingenious, and the evidential grounding for the arguments is powerful. Teston’s book is closely reasoned, interestingly focused and solidly grounded in evidence. The book has great potential for transferability to medical ethics, medical humanities and health communication, to name a few other disciplines of interest.”


By Avery Samuels