Visual Rhetoric - Visual Culture - Pedagogy
Recent Blog Posts
Submitted by fc on Fri, 2010-02-05 11:08
Image Credit: FairFoodProject.org
This carrot-wielding fist appears on the website housing “Fair Food: Field to Table” a multimedia presentation created by the Fair Food Project in cooperation with the California Institute for Rural Studies. The project draws on a visual iconography of labor and political activism as part of its educational outreach to university students. It also aims at turning students into educators with its three-part multimedia presentation and associated resources. More about the project,including video, after the jump.
Submitted by noelradley on Mon, 2010-01-25 15:20
In this beginning part of 2010, our television screens repeat images of the injured, the displaced, and the dead in Haiti. This emerging archive of profound trauma presents with questions of how we should feel and what we should do. Here on the Viz. blog, we also ask what it means to capture and distribute images of tragedy. During last Wednesday’s Oprah show, Haitian immigrant and R&B artist Wyclef Jean delivered a message to Americans from the Haitian people: “No more photo ops.” Jean, who documented himself and his crew collecting dead bodies from the streets, could not be clearer. However, it’s unlikely that journalists like Robin Roberts (ABC) will accommodate the Haitian people in this way.
Last semester, Viz. bloggers asked what are the implications of representing political events, such as documenting the Vietnam war or mass killings, as in the case of the Fort Hood incident.
Image Credit: Phil Gyford
For a handout, download the PDF document outlining this assignment.
Notes for the Instructor: The design of this unit is to teach students to do analysis of visual media like musicals, which include song and dance as well as traditional scripts and visual elements, by focusing on the issues of rhetorical delivery (specifically, the performance of the actors within the stage/camera shot, and the visual elements associated with that performance). This unit was built to go after a more traditional unit that focused on analyzing the lyrical content of musicals’ songs, and to encourage students to tie lyric to delivery.
The elements of the unit included as follows:
Week 1: Introduce terminology of delivery, do comparative analysis of examples in class.
Week 2: Watch two versions of a full-length musical and analyze them in class.
Week 3: Write a short comparative rhetorical analysis (1-2 pages in length), bringing in new material to go with material already covered in class.
Week 4: Write and workshop full-length (5-7 pages) paper.
Goals: The goals of this unit were to make students aware of visual forms of rhetoric and the delivery within performance contexts, as well as to make them consider how those gestures work to constitute meaning along with more traditional elements (like words and lyrics). This unit is also to help them expand their researching skills by learning how to research in multiple venues (electronic and non-electronic, performance reviews, books on composers and lyricists, etc).
Image Credit: Mary Lucier, "The Plains of Sweet Regret" (North Dakota Museum of Art. Photo: Rik Sferra)
As more individuals and organizations are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other sites to engage in debate, express viewpoints and organize politically, instructors are incorporating these new media into the rhetoric classroom. How can studying new media enhance rhetorical thinking and writing? What is the relationship between new media and visual rhetoric? What problems do instructors and students face when adapting traditional rhetorical concepts to new media? Are assignments possible that not only analyze but also utilize new media? What are students' expectations concerning new media assignments and how might they conflict with our goals as instructors?
The following assignments and discussions suggest a range of approaches to these questions and offer innovative strategies for teaching the visual, textual, and auditory rhetorics of new media.
Jim Brown (Wayne State University): “YouTube and Detroit—State of the Debate”
Alexandra Juhasz (Pitzer University): Viz blog post regarding "Learning from YouTube"
Bill Wolff (Rowan University): "Oral History Video Composition"
Josi Kate Berry (UT): “My Facebook Ethos”
Mark Fullmer (Fullerton College): “Theorizing Facebook in the Classroom”
DWRL (UT): "The Geo-Everything Project"
Jeremy Dean (UT): “Map Three Readings”
Eileen McGinnis (UT): “Mapping Galapagos”
Kevin Bourque (UT): “The CWRL Guide for Podcasting in Pedagogy”
Lydia French (UT): “Community Podcast/ Video Group Assignment”
Megan Little (UT): “Recording Good Ideas in Oral Peer Review”
Paige Normand (Badger Dog & The Undergraduate Writing Center): “The Pagecast Process"
David Parry (UT Dallas): "Twitter for Academia"
David Silver (University of San Francisco): "Twitter Assignment"
Eileen McGinnis (UT): “Using Flickr to Teach Visual Rhetoric”
Ingrid Devilliers (UT): “Showcasing/Peer Editing Student Drafts and Public Arguments Using Technology”
John Jones (UT): “Translation Assignment”
Submitted by Rachel Schneider on Mon, 2009-10-26 11:46
Image Credit: Spring Awakening
This weekend I happened to attend a performance from the Broadway Across America’s tour of Spring Awakening, which was incredibly enjoyable. The show, based on Wedekind’s 1890s play, deals with issues of teenage sexuality, rebellion, depression, and even abortion. Spring Awakening does a very good job in its staging and design of making the connection between teens of the 1890s with teens of the 2000s.
Submitted by EmilyBloom on Tue, 2009-10-20 15:46
Image Credit: Screen Shot from Pandora
While listening to Pandora the other day, an advertisement interrupted my music. This advertisement told me that my life would be happier and more successful if I commit myself to a monogamous relationship. The advertiser was a website called twoofus.org which is sponsored by the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) and provides resources for individuals and for Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI) grantees. After a little digging around, I found that the Healthy Marriage Initiative was created in 1996 with the injunction to preserve the institution of marriage because “marriage is the foundation of a successful society.” Hearing this advertisment led me to consider how the traditionally conservative pro-marriage position becomes increasingly complicated, on both the left and the right, in the context of same-sex marriage debates. Would the creators of this ad feel they had succeeded if I was now persuaded to marry my same-sex partner? Does pro-marriage mean the same thing that it did to the creator's of the Healthy Marriage Initiative in 1996?
Submitted by Rachel Schneider on Mon, 2009-10-19 16:23
Right now in my class we’re preparing to turn in the first draft of the second paper assignment, which is a comparative rhetorical analysis between two productions of the same musical where I’d like my students to talk about the different rhetorical arguments made by each production using sets, costumes, and performance, as well as changed scripts. In order to alleviate student concerns, I’ve set myself the task to write a sample paper for them. It’s been an interesting experience for me, and a somewhat difficult one. For my texts, I’ve chose to compare the original 1949 Broadway production of South Pacific with the 2008 revival.
Image Credit: CastRecordings.com
Submitted by Andi on Fri, 2009-10-02 21:18
Image Credit: Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post
H/T: The New York Times
Noel’s comments this past week about the circulation of iconic images of violence and the role of affect in our reception of these images left me wondering about contemporary photojournalism and its treatment of war. In their text and blog, No Caption Needed, John Louis Lucaites and Robert Hariman have written extensively about the way iconic images, such as the photograph of General Loan executing a suspected member of the Viet Cong, circulate in public culture but what should we make of images that are less well known or that focus on the more mundane aspects of war?
Submitted by timturner on Tue, 2009-09-29 12:45
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.
by Tim Turner
What is Visual Rhetoric?
As a discipline of rhetorical study, visual rhetoric can refer to a wide variety of analytical and pedagogical practices. Essentially, however, it refers to the practice of analyzing and/or describing how images communicate meaning or advance arguments. It may be thought of as the rhetorical analysis of images using the familiar vocabulary of rhetorical theory (such as ethos, pathos, and logos), but with a supplementary vocabulary unique to the analysis of the visual (e.g., with reference to color, graphic design, iconography, etc.) Although the object of visual rhetorical inquiry can be virtually limitless as long as images of some kind are involved, in rhetoric courses these subjects frequently include advertising, iconic or contemporary photography, film, maps, and web design.
Additionally, in a recent review article on the current state of visual rhetoric, Paul Messaris articulates four key questions for establishing the broadest framework of such study:
Each question aims to unsettle conventional wisdom about the difference between images and words, thus complicating the supposed "differentiation of the verbal and the visual" that David Blakesly has also challenged.
Aims of Visual Pedagogy
The basic paradigm for teaching composition (exemplified in the "controversy model" often employed introductory rhetoric courses) involves leading students first to describe and analyze the components of persuasive written arguments by others (rhetorical analysis) before leading them to write such persuasive arguments themselves (advocacy).
The aims of visual pedagogy are similarly twofold: by including instruction in visual rhetoric in the curriculum, instructors can help students
Analysis as visual literacy: Today, digital technology, social media, YouTube, and the omnipresence of cell-phone cameras (among other developments) have made images a ubiquitous part of everyday communication networks. As citizens-and as consumers-all of us are confronted with visual presentations of information and argumentation on a near-constant basis. For this reason, instructors are encouraged to think of visual rhetoric not as a supplement to the curriculum, but as a vital component in the process of helping students become more literate participants in these networks.
Creation as visual competency: In addition to helping students become more literate and active interpreters of visual communication, visual pedagogy can also play a part in helping students become active participants in these exchanges by fostering visual competency. Here, the goal is to help students successfully deploy visual arguments of their own, either in support of mostly written arguments (e.g., using images or graphically presented statistical information to support the arguments of an advocacy paper) or in place of mostly written arguments (e.g., substituting a short film, slidecast, web site, or brochure designed using professional software in place of an advocacy paper).
Incorporating Visual Rhetoric in the Composition Curriculum
There are many ways to incorporate visual rhetoric and visual pedagogy into the curriculum for composition or literature courses. The following breakdown distinguishes between short- and long-form projects.
Short-form projects (1 - 2 class meetings)
Long-form projects (from several class meetings to semester-length projects)
Available Technologies and Applications
Flickr - Massive database of images, many of which are licensed using Creative Commons.
Google Maps - Using "My Maps" or Google Earth, the creative possibilities here are almost limitless.
InDesign - This professional Adobe software is used for desktop publishing of items like pamphlets (how-to guide).
iMovie - Software for editing and creating films (how-to guide).
MindMapping - This software enables students to brainstorm by creating visual representations of the thought-process (how-to guide).
Viz. - This web site, maintained by the visual rhetoric project in the CWRL, includes an ongoing blog on visual culture, a visual rhetoric assignments database, and introductory pages on theories of visual rhetoric.
YouTube - This ubiquitous site doubtless needs no introduction. A virtually endless resource for video content.
Viz.: A web site for visual rhetoric, visual culture, and pedagogy, maintained by the DWRL
Viz. collection of visual rhetoric assignments
Viz. bibliography of resources on visual rhetoric
No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy
Sociological Images: Inspiring Sociological Imaginations Everywhere
Information Aesthetics: Where form follows data
"Visual Rhetoric" (Wikipedia)
"Visual Rhetoric" (Wikibooks)
"What is Visual Rhetoric, and What is its Tradition?" by David Blakesly
"What's Visual about Visual Rhetoric?" by Paul Messaris // Quarterly Journal of Speech 95.2 (This review article is available as a full-text PDF through JSTOR)
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