Iranian Nuclear Facility Photo & Interpretation

This morning I received an automatic update message from Imaging Notes, a remote sensing (satellite imaging) trade magazine.  The lead-off story was about one of the alleged nuclear material refining facilities in Iran. 

The image, and the annotations provided by a private company, are eerily similar to those Colin Powell used in his February, 2003 speech to the UN when he argued on behalf of the doctrine of pre-emptive war in Iraq.  I point all of this out not to question the interpretation of the Iranian image, but simply to point out that as lay-people and citizens, we do not have the means to engage with the arguments presented in such images, but must take or refuse their content based with only our trust or mistrust in the party providing the image to guide us. 


Iranian Facility



Visual Tweets

Image credit: From YouTube
H/T to A Mutual Respect

Full confession: I just joined Twitter about 30 minutes ago. However, for considerably longer, I've been curious about the significance of Twitter's text-based 140-character format. Although Twitter contains some visuals such as profile pictures and links, it is primarily a print-based medium. The viewer experiences Twitter posts, or tweets, as a wall of sentences. While tweets are themselves primarily textual in nature, two recent videos offer visual interpretations that play with the relationship between image and text.

New Pedagogy Resource: Guide to Teaching Visual Rhetoric

A new page has been posted to the Assignments section of Viz., a Guide to Teaching Visual Rhetoric that provides a brief overview of the theory and practice of visual rhetoric and offers some ideas for incorporating instruction in visual rhetoric into composition classrooms, as well as a number of resources.  The intoductory guide is designed to complement the sample assignments and theory pages.  If you are interested in including visual rhetoric into your classroom but aren't sure how, we hope this page will provide you with a useful resource for getting started.

Blogging Pedagogy: Or, How to Make Students Read Musicals as Rhetorical Texts?

Andi, I enjoyed reading your post from Saturday, as I'm struggling myself to think about how to teach visual rhetoric in my classroom-although, the concerns I'm undergoing are much different from yours.  There may be ethical concerns about using podcasts to teach a variety of songs united around a different theme, but most of what I do will involve looking at pretty pictures.

Exposure to Exploitation

Image of a South Vietnamese ManImage Credit: Peter Davis, Hearts and Minds

This past week my students and I were considering the representation of the Vietnam war in network news coverage and in documentary films such as Peter Davis' Hearts and Minds (1974).  Several of the images we considered depict bodies in pain or men, women, and children dead or dying.  As we discussed the appeals to the emotions of the viewer at work in these images, the conversation gradually turned to the ethics of the photographers and filmmakers but I left the classroom wondering about the ethics of teaching these images.

Visualizing Revision: The Case of Origin of Species

Screenshot of Preservation of Favoured Traces

Image credit: Ben Fry

This month, Ben Fry at Seed launched a project called The Preservation of Favoured Traces, a visualization tool that allows us to witness how Origin of Species evolved across six revisions during Darwin’s lifetime. The results are intriguing not only for those of us who teach rhetoric of science (and who secretly harbor a crush on Charles Darwin, especially during his mutton-chop phase), but for scholars interested in how textual history might be visualized.

White House, Green House

Michelle Obama Farmer's Market
Image Credit: The New York Times

Nestled between the white monuments of Washington D.C. is a new dash of green. On September 17th, Washington D.C. opened a weekly farmer's market near the White House. This opening, ceremoniously attended by Michelle Obama as well as hundreds of shoppers, led me to think about the ways in which the First Lady has championed the sustainability movement. One of her first ceremonial acts as a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was to plant a garden. The White House website includes a film about digging this garden and compares Michelle Obama to Eleanor Roosevelt, the only other First Lady to plant produce on the White House lawns. In her remarks at the opening of the Farmer's Market, Michelle Obama refers to the White House gardens as "one of the greatest things that I've done in my life so far" and describes supporting the Farmer's Market as an extension of her commitment to making healthy food more widely accessible.

Visualizing 'Green'

Thin Ice photos

Image credit: From Maureen R. Drennan
H/T to Artist as Citizen Burning Embers Competition

This series of photos by Maureen Drennan resonates with the way I have been thinking about environmental activism. The photographs tell a story of ice-fishing communities in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota and depict ordinary ice-fishers: bright-eyed children over plastic gallon fishing buckets, seasoned fishers in pullovers and camouflage, and bright cabins in contrast to the winter white. There are also pictures of cracks in the ice.

Visual Rhetoric of Crisis?

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with summer; and I know it's the end of summer, because people are sending me urgent messages requesting a description of the course I plan on teaching this fall. What I've come up with so far is a course on "Crisis Rhetoric". One of the primary questions the course will seek to answer is whether there is such a thing as a legitimately, discretely definable "crisis rhetoric." How does the art of persuasion change in situations of crisis, and how can the art of persuasion be used to create a sense of crisis in any given public sphere?

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