Big Ideas – 4/3

Maps provide us with a way of constructing knowledge and understanding the world around us. Wood acknowledges that the purpose of maps is to “present us not with the world we can see, but to point toward a world we might know” (12). Further, the knowledge represented through maps cannot be taken as Truth because all cartographers create maps through their own lens with which they understand the world. That is, we must consider “the agency of the mapper” to examine potential biases that are inevitably embodied through maps (Wood 24). [NW]

Bibliographic Entries – 3/13

Hall, S. (1997). The work of representation. In S. Hall (ed)., Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage, pp. 13-74.

This book chapter, which is available here, was recommended as further reading by Gillian Rose. Hall defines representation, and explains how and why it is an an integral part of the way people produce and exchange meaning across cultures. Hall also explores the constructionist approach of meaning making and the prominent impact it has had on cultural studies. [NW]

Evans, J. and Hall, S. (1999). Visual Culture: The Reader. London: Sage in association with The Open University.

Rose lists this book for further reading because it is a collection of multidisciplinary key texts that have shaped the field of visual culture. A central idea of this book is that there are three core concepts involved in studying visual culture: the sign, the institution, and the viewing. Evans and Hall explore how visuals are studied using these three concepts, and also put these concepts in conversation with cultural theory and rhetoric. [NW]

Foster, H. (ed.) (1988). Vision and Visuality. Seattle: Bay Press.

A PDF of this book, which was recommended for further reading by Rose, is available here. The book’s chapters offer deeper insight into the nuances of vision and visuality–otherwise known as scopic regimes. The texts compiled in this book work to suggest ways that deepen our understanding of vision, to socialize vision, to explore the subjectivity of vision in production and interpretation, and to historicize vision’s practices and resistances. [NW]

Mirzoeff, N. (2006). On visuality. Journal of Visual Culture, 5(1), 53-79.

I found this source by searching “visuality” in EMU’s E-search database. Mirzoeff argues that although many people believe visuality became a keyword for the visual culture field as a result of postmodern theory, it was actually originated by Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian. Mirzoeff frames “visuality” historically, drawing attention to the ways it was originally used to represent and resist imperial culture. [NW]

Kaszynski, E. (2016). ‘Look, a [picture]!’: Visuality, race, and what we do not see. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 102(1), pp. 62-78. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00335630.2015.1136074
I found this source by searching “visuality” in EMU’s E-search database. This article argues that perceiving vision and visuality as connected, but distinct, impacts the way we are able to interpret racial identity constructs. Kaszynski argues that moving past vision along creates a more comprehensive understanding of racial construction in the 21st century United States. [NW]

Reading Question – 3/6

“We look at interface as a thing, a representation of computational processes that make it convenient for us to interact with what is ‘really’ happening. But the interface is a mediated structure that supports behaviors and tasks. It is a space between human users and procedures that happen according to complicated protocols” (Drucker 139).

This excerpt reminds me a lot of writing more broadly. All sorts of people–students, non-writing instructors, administrators, and the public–often think about writing as a thing–a textual product. Yet, we know writing is a recursive, social process that is contextually and rhetorically situated. Despite all the time and research it took to inform our understanding of writing as a process, there are still people who don’t get it, who still view writing as only a product. I’m curious what the process will look like to reframe interfaces as an interactive structure that exists between human users and protocol-informed procedures, as opposed to a static thing. What will need to happen throughout this process to create a meaningful paradigm shift for composition / TPC / interface design scholars, as well as other stakeholders such as students, non-writing instructors, administrators, and the public more broadly?

Brooke Notes – Sonja Foss, “Theory of Visual Rhetoric” – 2/27

Foss, Sonja. “Theory of Visual Rhetoric.” Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media, edited by Ken Smith, Sandra Moriarty, Gretchen Barbatis, and Keith Kenney, Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005, pp. 141-52. 

Summary: Foss provides a brief history of visual rhetoric’s place within the larger collection of rhetorical theory. She argues that visual rhetoric has two meanings–communicative artifacts, and the scholarly perspective used to study the communicative artifacts. She goes on to argue that visually rhetorical artifacts must showcase symbolic action, human intervention, and an authentic audience, while the visual rhetoric perspective seeks to understand an artifacts nature, function, and evaluation. Ultimately, Foss argues for a more inclusive understanding of rhetorical theory that not only recognizes verbal discourse, but visual discourse as well.

Keywords: visual rhetoric, images, symbolic action, human intervention, audience, perspective, communication, nature, function, evaluation, deductive, inductive

Quotations:

  1. “Although a natural affinity appears to exist between rhetoric and visual symbols, the inclusion of visual imagery in rhetorical study has not been the seamless process that the above narrative suggests” (142).
  2. “That the study of visual images continued and, indeed, now flourishes in rhetorical studies is because of a number of factors. Primary among them is the pervasiveness of the visual image and its impact on contemporary culture… To restrict the study of symbol use only to verbal discourse means studying a minuscule portion of the symbols that affect individuals daily” (142).
  3. “The study of visual imagery from a rhetorical perspective also has grown with the emerging recognition that visual images provide access to a range of human experiences not always available through the study of discourse” (143).
  4. “As a result of nascent efforts to explore visual phenomena rhetorically, the term visual rhetoric now has two meanings in the discipline of rhetoric. It is used to mean both a visual object or artifact and a perspective on the study of the visual data. In the first sense, visual rhetoric is as product individuals create as they use visual symbols for the purpose of communicating. In the second, it is a perspective scholars apply that focuses on the symbolic processes by which images perform communication” (143).
  5. “Not every visual object is visual rhetoric. What turns a visual object into a communicative artifact–a symbol that communicates and can be studied as rhetoric–is the presence of three characteristics… The images must be symbolic, involve human intervention, and be presented to an audience for the purpose of communicating with that audience” (144).
  6. “Visual rhetoric as a theoretical perspective–or what might be called a rhetorical perspective on visual imagery to distinguish it form the other sense of visual rhetoric–is a critical-analytical tool or a way of approaching and analyzing visual data that highlights the communicative dimensions of images” (145).
  7. “A rhetorical perspective on visual imagery is also characterized by specific attention to one or more of three aspects of visual images–their nature, function, and evaluation” (146).
  8. “Description of the nature of the visual rhetoric involves attention to two components–presented elements [design choices] and suggested elements [interpretations based on design choices]”  (146).
  9. Function, as it is used in this perspective, is not synonymous with purpose, which involves an effect that is intended or desired by the creator of the image” (146).
  10. “Whatever criteria are used, scholars who adopt a rhetorical perspective on images and choose to focus on evaluation are interested in improving the quality of the rhetorical environment by discriminating among images” (147).
  11. “Scholars who apply a rhetorical perspective to visual imagery deductively use visual imagery to illustrate, explain, or investigate rhetorical constructs and theories formulated from the study of discourse” (147).
  12. “A second approach to the application of a rhetorical perspective on visual imagery is the investigation of the features of visual images to generate rhetorical theory that takes into account the distinct characteristics of the visual symbol. Scholars who pursue this round begin with an exploration go visual images and operate inductively, generating rhetorical theories that are articulate about visual symbols” (149).
  13. “Visual rhetoric, as communication data to be studied and as an approach to those data, suggests the need to expand understanding of the multifarious ways in which symbols inform and define human experience and constitutes a call to expand rhetorical theory, making it more inclusive in its encompassing of visual as well as verbal symbols” (151).

Questions:

  1. This chapter was published in 2005. Have visual rhetoric scholars engaged Foss’s call for uptake in the past decade? Do we now have a more inclusive collection of rhetorical theory that not only recognizes but prioritizes visual communication?
  2.  In WRTG 540, we’ve talked about the importance of text production, not just interpretation. That is, a visual rhetoric class cannot only showcase Foss’s understanding of the visual rhetoric perspective, but must also include the generation of communicative artifacts. How do other rhet/comp programs make peace with this balance–particularly programs that emphasize visual rhetorics?

Further Reading:

  1. Foss, S.K. (1994). A rhetorical schema for the evaluation of visual imagery. Communication Studies45, 213-224.
  2. Burke, K. (1966). Language as symbolic actionL Essays on life, literature, and method. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Glossary Entries – 2/13

Information graphics: Most broadly, Drucker defines information graphics as “visualizations based on abstractions of statistical data” because, despite the final graphic form, information graphics originate from quantitative data sets (7). She further argues that these graphics are always interpretative since there is no innate correlation between visual form and graphic expression (7). [NW]
Graphical user interface (GUI): Drucker defines a graphical user interface as “the dominant feature of screens in all shapes and sizes” (8). These interfaces allow us to interact with information graphics of all sorts. Interface design shapes the way we construct knowledge, as well as our everyday behavior. [NW]

Potential resource for posters – color scheme tool

Hi everyone,

I stumbled upon this website called Colourlovers the other day, and I’ve found it really helpful in helping me think about potential color palettes/schemes for my poster. As someone who isn’t too versed in color theory (yet), I found it helpful to browse the variety of color schemes that are shared on this site, which are also conveniently sorted into  “channels” based on purpose (web, print, etc.).  Also, the schemes lay out the number/code for each color used, which makes it easy to replicate the colors in whichever software you’re using.

Wanted to share the resource in case anyone else was interested!

Bibliography Entries – 2/6

Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and Composition, 22(1), 5-22. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2004.12.004

This source, which is the primary text that Wysocki is responding to, is accessible through Google Scholar. Kress explores what can be gained (affordances) and lost when we shift communicative representation away from writing, and toward materiality, images, digital media, and other non-traditional forms of communication. He also discusses how these shifts toward design can impact learning, forms of reading, knowledge, and human agency. [NW]

 

Saenger, P. (1997). Space between words: The origins of silent reading. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

This book, which Wysocki references in her discussion of space, is accessible through Google Books. Saenger documents the history and process of how reading–which was originally an oral activity–has become a silent activity due to writing and the written space between words. The space on pages (which makes reading a silent activity) originates from and continues to shape how we comprehend words and reading. [NW]

 

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17763/haer.66.1.17370n67v22j160u

This article, which I’ve heard framed as a foundational text for multimodality (and has been cited in several of our readings already), is accessible through Google Scholar. The New London Group argue that we need a broader understanding of literacy–one that encompasses the multiple communication channels students use daily. They argue that embracing a multiliteracy / multimodal pedagogy can empower students to design and shape their social futures.  [NW]

 

Ball, C. (2012). Assessing scholarly multimedia: A rhetorical genre studies approach. Technical Communication Quarterly, 21(1), 61-77. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2012.626390

Per our conversation about assessing visual texts, this article, which is accessible through Cheryl Ball’s website, might be helpful. Ball outlines what scholarly multimedia texts are–what they look like–and recommends that teachers invite their students to help generate assessment criteria with which their work can be assessed. She also argues that when assessing multimedia work, the content and form cannot be separated from the text’s rhetorical purpose. [NW]

 

Norman, D. Affordances and design. Retrieved from http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/affordances_and.html

This source, which was listed in Wysocki’s works cited page, explores Norman’s concept of affordance. He explains that the term affordance has gained traction with design work, but the concept of perceived affordance raises important questions about physical and cultural constraints. Norman also argues that we can be well served by thinking about affordances relationships between various design elements/stakeholders. [NW]

Stop Write – 1/30

We seem to live in a world where math, science, and “practical” knowledge are valued, and the humanities–the arts–are not. Yet, Barry talks about art, and the arts more broadly, as an essence that lives and transcends. Consider the following passage from Syllabus:

“There is something common to everything we call the arts… This ancient ‘it’ is something I call ‘an image.’ By image I don’t mean a visual representation, I mean something that is more like a ghost than a picture; something which feels somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive- a book, a song, a painting–anything we call an ‘art form’” (15).

In the time remaining, respond to at least one of the questions below:

  • What does Barry’s explanation mean to you?
  • How might you differently describe the “it” that is present in the arts/humanities?
  • What do Barry’s and/or your explanation say about how we ought to value the arts/humanities?
  • Can you name and describe an example of Barry’s ‘image’ concept that is representative of her (or your) description?
  • How is Barry’s understanding of ‘an image’ similar to or different from an idea?

Reading Question: Barthes (1/23)

Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Translated by Richard Howard, New York, Hill and Wang, 1980, p. 56.

Examining this photograph, Barthes argues that Queen Victoria sitting regally on the horse is the studium because it is the “historical interest” that draws in the viewer and leaves a general impression of liking or disliking the photograph (57). He also argues that the Scotsman holding the bridle is the punctum because this detail “‘brings out’ the Victorian nature,” though this nature is not named (57).

I’ve struggled with these two terms–studium and punctum–throughout Camera Lucida because I am unsure of their origins. The way Barthes identifies the elements of the photograph above seems to imply that studium and punctum simply exist, and have been captured by the photographer. Studium and punctum are supplied and/or created by the photograph itself. Other excerpts from the book seem to support this argument.

Yet, I can’t help but think that studium and punctum are much more subjective than Barthes is articulating and illustrating here. For instance, if someone could not place the woman on the horse in her historical context, he might not be drawn into the photograph, or if he focused on other detail than the holding of the horse’s bridle, the photograph’s punctum would be different. Earlier in Camera Lucida, Barthes even mentions that he interprets photographs with his studium (28), which suggests that viewers, or spectators, are the ones that bring studium and punctum to a given photo. These two concepts are created through an individual viewing and interpretation of a photograph.

With these two conflicting interpretations, I’m left with the following question (that I had throughout the entire first part of Camera Lucida): Where are studium and punctum located in the photo-viewing interaction? I.e. Who/what creates a photograph’s studium and punctum?

 

 

Hello World: An Introductory Note from Natasha

As I’m sitting here trying to compose an introductory blog post about myself, I’m having mildly traumatic flashbacks to the seven-or-so drafts of an Introduction Memo that I wrote for WRTG 424 when completing my bachelor’s degree at EMU, majoring in both written communication and speech communication. Just as a heads up… you’re only getting one draft. Sorry, friends.

I’m Natasha, and I am enrolled in EMU’s Written Communication MA program, concentrating my studies in the Teaching of Writing. As a graduate assistant, I teach in EMU’s First-Year Writing Program and consult in the University Writing Center. However, I’m feeling a bit more than a little bitter-sweet, since this is my last semester in the program, and I know that I’ll deeply miss my friends, colleagues, and faculty here–and the weekly snacks in class.

Like Cortney, I also identify as a nerd, though not quite as strongly as I did a few years ago when I attended anime/comic conventions and sewed my own cosplay costumes. Now, when I’m not researching the ways that written self-advocacy practices influence student agency and responsibility, I spend most of my free time crafting, assembling puzzles, watching musicals–can we just talk about Hamilton for a second?–reading, and developing travel plans. It’s a bit old-lady-ish, but that’s okay by me.

I’ll close by saying that I’m really excited for this class and interested to see the visual rhetoric designs that everyone creates. And, if we don’t yet know each other well, I look forward to correcting this circumstance soon! 🙂