Glossary Entry-Wood

Reality: In The Power of Maps, Wood discusses how maps represent a reality to an audience that has not interacted with the environment.  Even though the audience has not interacted with the area the map covers, the members can construct the environment in their mind from the map and their own experiences [CJR].
Boundary: A boundary is a separation between connecting elements.  In exploring maps, however, Wood highlights the arbitrary nature of boundaries.  First off, many different elements are used as a sign of a boundary: a fence, a desert, territorial decisions, etc..  Because of this, boundaries are social constructs that are mostly respected but oftentimes disputed due to different viewpoints [CJR].


Abbott, Edwin Abbott. Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. London: Seeley, 1884. Reprint, New York: Dover, 1952.

On the surface, Flatland is a quaint story about A. Square, resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, exploring different lands of different dimensions.  The book, moreover, is an analysis on the effects of different perspectives within different spaces, and how those perspectives conform or disconnect to the worldview of others. [CR]

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Campbell explores the commonality between different themes throughout many different mythologies.  The main theme is the hero’s journey, or the main character’s development from inexperienced youth to wise master.  How this journey is portrayed is analyzed through the difference perspectives. [CR]

Gravett, Paul. Graphics Novels: Everything You Need to Know. New York: Collins Design, 2005.

Gravett analyzes the effectiveness of the medium of graphic novels through his exploration of thirty of the most prolific ones.  Through those examples, the author discusses different themes, influences from outside of the United States, and even how to view graphic novels. [CR]

Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

As the title of the book implies, Latour introduces the concept of Actor-Network-Theory, where objects participate in the construction of social objectives.  Latour argues for this viewpoint as opposed to the one where the social is just a collection of viewpoints applied to certain situations. [CR]

Shlain, Leonard. Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light. New York: Morrow, 1991.

Although art and physics may seem diametrically opposed, Shlain explores in his book that they are more connected than people will acknowledge.  He analyzes the development of both throughout history, revealing how art has often predicted the trajectory of the development of physics. [CR]

Stop-Draw 3/13

Hello everybody!

So my stop-draw was made specifically with the class in mind, so I changed it.  Let’s see how it goes.

In Unflattening, Sousanis discusses the interplay between text and image, especially with regards to comics.  It reminded me of how often it is in the comic book industry for writers to dictate what is drawn, and for artists to dictate what is written.

Stop-draw prompt- the first person who responds to this post comes up with a caption for the picture below.  The next person draws a picture based on the first person’s caption.  The person after that makes a caption for that picture, etc…

Big Ideas 2/23

Visualizations are concrete representations of abstract ideals, such as time or relationships.  The image does not exist on its own, but as an interpretation of a subject beyond itself.  Because of this, the visual also alludes to the connections between different aspects of the represented relationships.  Choices of color, structure, type, and other dimensions illustrate how different abstract elements combine and diverge in the outside world.  Designers, therefore, have to take this into account when designing graphics: connections between different graphical elements hold implications towards the connections of their real-life counterparts [CJR].

Visual Rhetoric Project Proposal

Visual Rhetoric Proposal

Cover Analysisà Cover Design (?)


The cliché goes “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  With regards to books, however, most people do.  Covers are generally the audience’s first introduction to the book.  The rhetorical purpose of a book cover is to convince people to pick up the book.  Whether an elaborate scene or a minimalist presentation of just the title, if the cover does not entice the reader into picking up the book, then it is unsuccessful as a cover.  I want to examine different covers in order to analyze the messages that come across from them, and how those will or won’t appeal to potential readers.


First, I want to research what has already been studied about book covers.  My research will focus mainly on how publishers make decisions about cover arts, how is that different for different genres and different audiences, and what message do they hope to get across.  Why do most children’s books and graphic novels have vivid pictures on their covers, whereas many young adult novels have icons instead of characters?  Are there other reasons why publishers change the covers of a book other than taking advantage of a movie/television adaptation?  What are the different effects of cartoonish covers and photorealistic ones?  How much say doe the author have in the covers?


Then, I want to analyze the covers of popular books.  Either I will choose one category of books (Young adult or children’s or adult or …), or compare and contrast between different categories.  Either way, I will develop a coding system based on certain factors on the cover: number of characters, action vs. static, contrast, cartoony vs photorealistic, etc…Afterword, I will analyze the effect that the book has on both my understanding of what the book’s about and my interest in the book.  For the latter, I will read the blurbs on the back or inside and see if it lines up with my analysis.


Finally, using the information I learned about the creation of covers, I hope to conceptualize covers for my own stories.  I will explain why I made certain rhetorical decisions with regards to audience, genre, contrast, etc…  I may even design one or more of my own to present to the class for the presentation.

Reading Question (Barry)

As I read through Syllabus, I noticed how there were many times where the pictures had to contort around the text, and vice versa.  There are other times, however, where that is not the case.  The page (pg. 88) below is a good example.  I was immediately drawn to the “Hate Cr-ay-on-!” in the top center of the page.  This statement has conformed to the contortions of both the other drawings and texts.  The painted strips on the bottom left, however, are allowed to cover up Chew-Barry.  It made me think about the negotiation of space.  How do visual rhetors negotiate space between different elements, and what do those decisions imply?

Reading Questions (Barthes)

“This question grew insistent.  I was overcome by an “ontological” desire: I wanted to learn at all costs what Photography was “in itself,” by what essential feature it was to be distinguished from the community of images.” ( Barthes, 3)

When I first read this question in Camera Lucida, I expected that the entire book was going to be about divorcing the photo from its subject, focusing instead on the rhetoric that comes from its physical attributes.  Although a photo’s physicality is discussed extensively throughout the book (paintings are meant to show a constructed reality whereas photos presumably illustrate an actual reality, frames within a film are fleeting while a photo is observation of a single frame, that being printed on paper illustrates its impermanence), the majority of the book discusses how Photography represents the reality of its subject to the observers of it (what the operator wants the observer to see vs what actually draws the observer’s eyes- studium vs. punctum, how little details define the time and situation in photos more than shocking details do, and how photographs illustrate the impending demise of its subjects due to Time).   Still, I couldn’t shake the thought of the rhetorical effects of a photo’s physicality.  So my questions are these: what are the rhetorical effects of the physical body of photography, without considering its subject?  How would you compare or contrast them to the rhetorical effects caused by the subject?

Cortney’s Intro

Hello all!  Quick synopsis about myself: this is my second semester in Graduate School, I’m currently a substitute teacher, I like lesson planning and integrating outside material into what has to be taught, but I get frustrated with classroom management so I’m getting out of physically teaching students, and I hope that I can use my Written Communication degree to get into writing textbooks, publishing, or making standardized testing more accessible to all students.

What  is visual rhetoric?

The impact that media which is experienced completely or mainly through the eyes of an audience.