Visual Rhetoric - Visual Culture - Pedagogy
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Submitted by Andi on Wed, 2010-02-10 16:04
Image credit: Food for the Poor, Inc.: www.foodforthepoor.org
H/T: Nhi Lieu
This week my students and I were working our way through our lesson on visual rhetoric that ends with my students working collaboratively to analyze Dorthea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” using many of the tools that our previous classes and readings have provided. Rather than supply my students with the context surrounding this image, I thought I’d see what shared cultural knowledge we had as a group and so asked them to jot down what they know already about the iconic photograph. In No Caption Needed (a book and a blog), Michael Hariman and John Louis Lucaites argue that iconic photographs circulate broadly as a vital part of public discourse in a liberal democratic society. Not surprisingly, my students were able to draw on their collective knowledge to identify most of the contextual framing I would have been able to provide in my brief introduction to the image.
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).
By Rachel Schneider
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 EmilyBloom on Tue, 2009-12-01 16:16
Image Credit: The Guardian
Samuel Beckett's Play (dir. Anthony Minghella, 2000)
This is my last Viz posting for the year, so I thought I’d be introspective, or perhaps, self-referential. Specifically, I want to talk about podcasting pedagogy I’ve been experimenting with this semester and how it’s raised interesting questions in our classroom about the relationship between visual and auditory rhetoric. The final assignment for our class was a podcast in which students delivered an argument on a contemporary controversy. It was very strange for all of us to rely so heavily on voice without a piece of paper to mediate the exchange. Early twentieth-century theories of oral delivery such as those by T. Sturge Moore advocated that speakers of poetry should stand behind a curtain so that listeners could listen more attentively and W.B. Yeats suggested that his Abbey Theatre actors should be placed in barrels to train them against using distracting motions. Not wanting quite so drastic an approach, I at least thought that a focus on the auditory would push my students to consider their words in action and more carefully focus on simplicity, organization and delivery.
Submitted by EmilyBloom on Tue, 2009-11-17 18:02
Image Credit: You Tube
H/T: Noel Radley
In the Fall of 2007 at Pitzer College, Professor Alexandra Juhasz embarked on an adventurous pedagogical experiment in teaching new media through new media. Her course, which focused on You Tube, attempted to provoke critical thinking in her students about You Tube through class assignments in which students composed vlogs and wrote commentary on others’ videos. As she has documented in a series of academic inquiries in the International Journal of Learning and Media, her blog and on You Tube itself, Juhasz concluded that You Tube’s rhetoric of democratization and viewer-empowerment belies the essentially corporate nature of the medium and the mediocrity of its output. Juhasz’s discussions of You Tube and pedagogy also show the challenges for instructors who may find the public spheres of new media to be uncomfortable, exhausting and resistant spaces for pedagogical work.
Submitted by Rachel Schneider on Mon, 2009-11-09 19:03
Image Credit: Screenshot from The Grub Street Project
While I wrote in my last blog here that I would use this week’s blog to discuss my upcoming conference paper for MMLA, I was led astray this weekend by an excellent panel I attended at CSECS that I thought the viz. audience might enjoy. (Sorry, Gossip Girl fans. Tune in next week!)
After deciding to attend the panel entitled “Mapping Culture: Topographies of London,” I was delighted to discover it featured not only a paper on Boswell’s enchanting London Journal, but also an excellent discussion about using mapping strategies to teach and research eighteenth-century texts. What united the various papers on the panel, which discussed such disparate texts as John Gay’s “Trivia,” the Mohock Club, Boswell’s aforementioned Journal, and Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, was that each paper was based on material provided by The Grub Street Project, a website that unites topographical data with literary texts like Pope’s Dunciad.
Submitted by Rachel Schneider on Mon, 2009-10-19 17:23
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 timturner on Tue, 2009-09-29 13:45
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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