Stop-Write 4/3

Thinking about the readings on mapping and defining disciplinary activity, take 5 minutes to answer the survey questions. When everyone is finished,  share with someone next to you and see if there are any similarities or differences that are worth noting about your experiences in the field thus far.

1. Where are you from? City, Province or City, State

2. From what institutions did you obtain the following degrees (as applies)? BA or BS MA or MS PhD Other Please specify degree.

3. What graduate program are you in?

4.  What professional organizations do you belong to?

5. Who were the first scholars you were introduced to and how have they shaped your understanding of the field?

6. What scholars best connect with your research interests and why? List up to 3


Survey modified from

Mueller, Derek. “Emplaced Disciplinary Networks from Middle Altitude.” Cross-border Networks in Writing Studies. 24-25.

Reading Question 3/20

In the second half of Unflattening by Nick Sousanis, imagination is a key term used to help us see beyond what is presented when it comes to ideas, concepts, visuals, ect. Sousanis describes imagination as a way to “exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (88). It seems that embracing imagination validates discovery, helping us see in new inventive ways.

With this in mind, what role does imagination play in our critique and understanding of visuals and is our interpretation valid?

Big Ideas in Unflattening 3/13

“In seeking new approaches for opening expansive spaces and awakening possibilities, let us look to our ways of seeing themselves, and how, quite literally, the means to create perspective lies right between our eyes. The distance separating our eyes means that there is a difference between the view each produces- thus there is no single, “correct” view. (Sousanis 31).

Perspective in visual rhetorics is an invitation for viewers to have a say [and know it will count] during the process of critiquing images. When perspective is not accounted for as a step in a visual rhetorical analysis,  new interpretations and discoveries become unknown and will never be accounted for. 

Bibliography Entry 2/27

Valerie V. Peterson (2001) The rhetorical criticism of visual elements: An alternative to Foss’s Schema, Southern Communication Journal, 67:1, 19-32, DOI: 10.1080/10417940109373216

I found this article when looking for sources that would continue the discussion of Sonja Foss’s Theory of Visual Rhetoric through Halle library’s esearch (it can also be found on Google Scholar.) Valerie Peterson discusses the strength of Sonja Foss’s rhetorical schema (1994). The article is a starting place that presents the first of its kind on proposing an evaluation of visual imagery from a rhetorical perspective. [JW]

Burke, K. (1966). Language as symbolic action: Essays on life, literature, and method. Berkeley: University of California Press.

This book is cited not only in Foss’s article but several articles that discuss visual rhetorics, rhetorical theory, and images. You can pick up this book at the Halle library or find critiques of Kenneth Burke’s essays on Google Scholar. The book itself includes essays on symbolism, rhetorical criticism, and how symbolic action can be understood in non-traditional ways. [JW]

Chryslee, G. J., Foss, S. K., & Ranney, A. L. (1996). The construction of claims in visual argumentation. Visual Communication Quarterly, 3(2), 9-13.

This was cited in Foss’s article and can be found on Google Scholar with limited access. It presents a case that viewers construct claims for images, assuming an audience-centered perspective on the creation of images which situates the viewer as the dominant factor in the construction of arguments of images. I find this perspective valid in some aspects of critiquing an image but further investigation should be sought out on the process. [JW]

Bateman, J. (2014). Text and image: A critical introduction to the visual/verbal divide. Routledge.

This book was found when looking for articles citing Sonja Foss on Google Scholar. A book review can be found @EMU Find Text through the Halle Library database. In his introduction, Bateman describes how text and images have been critiqued separately by scholars but no frameworks consider both image and text in their methods.[JW]

Gries, L. E. (2013). Iconographic tracking: A digital research method for visual rhetoric and circulation studies. Computers and Composition, 30(4), 332-348.

This article presents a research method for studying rhetorical circulation; how images circulate in digital spaces. Laurie Gries incorporates traditional qualitative and new digital research strategies to track the Obama Hope image which was conducted after a five-year long case study of tracking the image across genres, mediums, and contexts. In terms of visual rhetorics, circulation studies consider how images travel through geographic locations, space, and time. [JW]


Reading Question 2/13

But there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut. When I see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observer” (Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 8)

The term “gesalt” refers to groupings and our tendency to see patterns whenever possible. Human perception isn’t literal. We will close gaps, see motion, make partial shapes into whole ones in ways that are surprisingly predictable” (Johanna Drucker, Graphesis, 57)

Gesalt diagrams

Annie Dillard suggests there are two types of seeing which she  describes as walking with a camera and walking without (8).  These two ways of encountering visuals and understanding images around us makes me think of Johanna Drucker’s discussion on Gesalt diagrams and how human perception isn’t literal. She describes this further and goes on to say ” we don’t simply see what is in a mechanistic way. Instead, what is seen is what is made (57).

Is this type of seeing Drucker talks about “walking with a camera or walking without?” How do we make sense of the two types of seeing both Dillard and Drucker describe?

Brooke Notes 2/6/17

Title: Barry, Lynda. Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor

Book Citation: Barry, Lynda. Syllabus. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2014. 101-200. Print

Summary: In the last hundred pages of Lynda Barry’s Syllabus, there are several themes represented such as time, awareness, focus, panel picturing, and the intersections of writing and the visual. In the exercise’s Barry has presents, she emphasizes how the daily practice of drawing and writing regains our attention span (115) which for many of us is typically lost when we stop drawing altogether after our adolescent years. Barry introduces the question on what is looking vs gazing (127) and attention vs awareness (143) which ties into her next discussion on time. She notes that when drawing comics, it can be quite hard to pinpoint the exact time it takes to draw an image. This discussion on time brings into question our awareness and feelings when completing a task (131) and how oftentimes we have no recollection of the thought process from beginning to end when we are focused on composing.

Keywords: Panel comics, picturing, creativity, dreaming awake, awareness, attention

Citations: McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009. Print.

Chaon, Dan. Stay Awake: Stories. New York: Ballantine, 2012. Print.

Quotations:  “Both writing and drawing lean on a certain kind of picturing—not the kind that is already finished in your head and just needs to be put to words or reproduced on paper- it’s a kind of picturing that is formed by our own activity, one line suggesting the next” (136).

“On my mind is the question raised by some of my students about what things are worth drawing and writing about – I don’t believe thinking can give you the answer to this, though it feels like it can long enough to stop us from trying” (162).

Question: One of the concepts that Lynda Barry emphasizes in  Syllabus is that an image is not what anyone thinks about them (126) so there should be no need to worry if you think your artwork is terrible or not. Shifting this idea to the professional world, how might a design produced online for a website or layout be critiqued? Do the standards change when producing for the business world vs. university? If yes, how can students prepare for the drastic change of criticism and expectation if the standard  is different in the classroom?

Big Ideas Entry 1/30/17

How does an image move or transfer (Barry 9), not only in geographical locations but from our mind and thoughts? How are our hands, images, and insight collected and made apparent through some display of visual representation? These are some of the very questions Lynda Barry seeks to answer, expanding reader’s idea of visual representation to more than an image drawn or painted, but also to a book, song, or object we interact with (15). One of the ways to answer these questions is by using a composition notebook. Collecting elements from our everyday lives and using these as entry points can create unexpected juxtapositions that form stories and show different patterns that Barry believes will help discover “what this thing I call ‘the back of the mind” is up to (62). When this is achieved, understanding movement and transfer of the visual from within becomes more apparent. [JW]

Glossary Entry – 1/23/17

Advenience/adventure: According to Barthes, advenience or adventure is “the attraction certain photographs exert” (19). A picture that advenes has adventure and is what makes photography “exist.” In other words, if a photograph does not move onlookers in any significant way, whether through its aesthetic appeal or something on the inside that ignites curiosity or interests to explore that photograph’s depth, there is no photograph. This attraction that Barthes says causes a specific photograph to move past being an image but fluctuates between objects and persons is caused by its animation, “the attraction that makes it exist” (20). [JW]

Referent: A photographs referent is “not the optionally real thing to which an image or a sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph” (Barthes, 76). This notion of a photographs referent is contrasted with a painting, which can impose reality, never being seen by the artist. A photographs referent interjects that the thing has been there (76) whether that be the objects, humans, or event that is captured. [JW]

Ja’La’s Intro

Hi everyone,

I’m very excited to be in this class with you all. I’m Ja’La (Jay-Luh) and this is my last semester in the Written Comm program here at EMU. My time at EMU has been multifaceted, as I have been a graduate assistant in the Holman Success Center for two years, teaching Introduction to the University and being a success coach to students on academic probation.

I have a variety of interests and before joining the program in 2015, I was an assistant writer for two years at a large church in Columbus, OH. That experience informed my decision to pursue the technical writing track because a lot of my work had to do with fundraising, writing copy for the web, editing copy, and social media management.

Whenever people ask me “what do you do/want to do” I don’t have a standard answer. On one hand, I am passionate about mentoring college-aged students, working in the University, and doing work overseas with non profits. I love traveling because I grew up in a military family and lived outside the United States for over 10 years before moving to Michigan. On the other hand, I love the fast-paced business world and working with organizations or people who could use staffing help in the communications department.

With all that being said, I’m looking forward to learning more about the fascinating world of visual rhetoric as I continue to work on my final MA project that has a key focus in this sub-discipline!