Department of Rhetoric and Writing

The University of Texas at Austin

Visual literacy, meet information literacy

Trinity College Library, Dublin

Libraries: They aren’t just for reading anymore

  Meghan Sitar of the University of Texas Library System forwarded a link to the virtual poster session at the 2007 American Library Association conference. The title of the session is “Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy.”

Viz. receives 2007 MEME award

We are proud to announce that viz. received the 2007 Mastery of Electronic Media in Education (MEME) from the Computer Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. Check out the announcement on the CWRL’s website. Read more about Viz. receives 2007 MEME award


useful CAPTCHA Read/Write Web reports here on reCAPTCHA, a new initiative that makes use of CAPTCHAs, those mangled images, like the one above, users must decipher to sign up for online accounts and services. The program substitutes questionable scans from book digitization pro Read more about reCAPTCHA

Ethnic Cleansing in Brooklyn

Artist rendering of the Fulton Street Mall in Brooklyn Photo of the Fulton Street Mall in Brooklyn Jerome Krase at passed along a photo gallery comparing an artist’s rendering of the Fulton Street Mall in Brooklyn versus the mall itself.

New theory article on viz.!

We’ve posted a new article in the theory section of the site. “Ekphrasis: Image and Text” outlines the discussion surrounding the use of ekphrasis and relates that history to the interconnection of images and text. Enjoy!

Political Theater

We’ve known for a long time that politics is theater, but just in case anyone has forgotten, Slate has posted an unfortunately titled slideshow documenting Rudy Giuliani’s many attempts at playing dress up, “Rudy in Leather and Lace.” (Speaking of the title, if this were not a blog that was soley concerned with visual rhetoric, I might be inclined to point out that said title might not be very appealingto any audience, ever, but it is, so I won’t.) Come August, these photos might make excellent fodder for those awkward it’s-the-beginning-of-the-semester-and-we-don’t-know-each-other-and-you-think-rhetoric-is-something-liars-do presentations where we teachers try to illustrate for our students the relevance of what we do to the wide-wide world. Failing that, come October it may provide some inspiration as you consider your Halloween costume (for example, you might write a note to yourself to the effect of “don’t dress up like the love-child of Liza Minnelli and Don Corleone”).

Rudy Giuliani dances in drag

Photograph by Joe DeMaria/Associated Press

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods This is an incredibly useful tool for those of you who might be teaching information design courses, or are looking for the best way to present data for your own work. The one problem with the periodic table metaphor is that the authors appear to have padded their list of examples so that they will fit into the periodic table format (how often are you likely to use a “Temple” diagram?). But I suppose that’s just a problem with information design metaphors in general.

Visual examples of rhetorical figures

If you are interested in rhetoric, hopefully you are already a reader of “It Figures,” where author Figaro provides examples of rhetorical figures in contemporary discourse. He also provides witty images to go along with his posts, some of which go beyond decoration by being excellent visual examples of the figures he is illustrating. In a recent post, he introduces a new figure—the “portmanym” or the “figure of conjoined names”—illustrated by a mashup of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney (which, to my eye, looks strangely like John Kerry). You can see the post here—if you dare.

Nina Berman Documents Iraq Wounded

I recently discovered the photography of Nina Berman and have been completely bowled over by it. Her photos of soldiers wounded in Iraq are some of the most emotionally wrenching I've seen, masterful examples of the emotional impact photos can have, regardless of what you think of the current war. I have a feeling that her images will be long remembered for how powerfully they document the wounded (as opposed to deceased) casaulties of the war in Iraq. The series "purple hearts" and "marine wedding" are especially powerful.

Remote Sensing, Logos Images and the Irony of Evidence

My take on visual rhetoric is largely informed by my prior career with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In the UT Visual Rhetoric Presentation I have a slide that depicts a photo from the Cuban Missile Crisis alongside a picture from Colin Powell's Presentation to the UN.


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