Lynda C. Olman, Ph.D.

Professor; Chair of English
Lynda Walsh


Lynda Olman (formerly Lynda Walsh) is a professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her primary field is the rhetoric of science, particularly the public reception of visual STEM arguments and of the ethos or public role of the scientist.

Her most recent book, Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy (Oxford, 2013) traces a dominant strand in the role of the science adviser back to its roots in Ancient Mediterranean prophecy. Her first book, Sins Against Science: The Scientific Media Hoaxes of Poe, Twain, and Others (SUNY, 2006), examined the pivotal epoch when science first entered American political life. Her most current project seeks a structural vocabulary for scientific graphics in order to help non-experts better interpret them. Walsh also has published studies in environmental and non-Western rhetoric; these are joined to her main body of work through an unswerving commitment to archival data, inductive methods and interpretation of results in terms of local politics.

Research interests

  • Rhetoric of science
  • Topologies
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Reception studies

Courses taught

  • Core Writing: ENG 100j, 102
  • ENG 301: Understanding Arguments
  • ENG 400B/600B: Topics in Professional Writing
  • ENG 401B/601B: Advanced Non-Fiction
  • ENG 730: Introduction to Graduate Study in Rhetoric & Composition
  • ENG 735: Seminar in Rhetoric & Composition
  • ENG 739: History of Rhetoric, Renaissance to Modern



  • Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy. Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Sins Against Science: The Scientific Media Hoaxes of Poe, Twain, and Others. Albany: SUNY Press, September 2006.

Edited collections

  • Walsh, Lynda and Valerie Gerstle. Autism Spectrum Disorders in the College Composition Classroom. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2011.

Peer-reviewed articles

  • Walsh, Lynda. "Bruno Latour on Rhetoric," Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 2017.
  • Walsh, Lynda and Kenneth C. Walker. "Perspectives on Uncertainty for Scholars of Technical Communication," in Technical Communication Quarterly, 25.2 (2016): 71-86.
  • Walsh, Lynda. "The Visual Rhetoric of Climate Change," WIREs Climate 6.4 (2015): 361-368.
  • Walsh, Lynda, and Andrew B. Ross. "The Visual Invention Practices of STEM Researchers: An Exploratory Topology." Science Communication 37.1 (2015): 118-131.
  • Walsh, Lynda and Kenneth Walker. "Uncertainty, Spheres of Argument, and the Transgressive Ethos of the Science Adviser." Proceedings of the 2013 Iowa State Summer Symposium on Science Communication, Ames, May 29-June 1, 2013.
  • Walsh, Lynda. "Resistance and Common Ground as a Function of Mis/Aligned Attitudes: A Filter-Theory Analysis of Ranchers' Writings on the Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project." Written Communication 30.3 (2013): 355-387.
  • "Toward An Accountable Hybridity for Transnational Rhetorics," Rhetorica 30.4 (Autumn 2012), 392-431.
  • Walker, Kenneth C. and Lynda Walsh. "'No One Yet Knows What the Ultimate Consequences May Be': How Rachel Carson Transformed Scientific Uncertainty Into a Site for Public Participation in Silent Spring" Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26.1 (2012): 3-34.

Book chapters

  • "Rachel Carson." In Fifty Feminist Thinkers, Lori Marso, ed. New York, Routledge, 2016.
  • "Tricks, Hockey Sticks, and the Myth of Natural Inscription: The Visual Rhetoric of Climategate." In Image Politics of Climate Change. Visualizations, Imaginations, Documentations, Birgit Schneider, Thomas Nocke eds., Bielefeld, Ger.: Transcript Verlag, 2014, 81-104.


  • Ph.D., English (Rhetoric & Composition/English Language & Linguistics), University of Texas at Austin, 2003
  • M.A., Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin, 1998
  • B.A., English, Colorado College, 1994