Reading Question 4/3

“Inquiring into patterned activity at any one scale can tell us something that is not evident at any other scale. Through the deliberate alteration of scale, this opening segment of the project seeks to define Canadian-American writing studies interdependency from perspectives that are yet uncommon; it seeks to introduce a viewshed for graphical, distant, and aerial treatments of disciplinary activity that may contribute to a definition concerned less with fixed essences or contrastive differentiation than noticing time-sensitive patterns and emerging shapes” (Mueller, 23).

As an “indexical aereality,” this text spatializes disciplinary activity and movement across the Canadian-American border through maps (43). This spatialized knowing seems reflective of Sousanis’s wayfinding in its shifting from a static locale to a dynamic motion of relationships that serve as definitional and shape-making. As shapes emerge, so too do contours or borders—borders that overlap other borders possibly. Are there ways of mapping or knowing borders as fluid or the edges as fraying? Some rhetoric scholars see the field as one of borrowing from others, others seem more siloed in their view—does scaling in this way take stock of the silos’ contents and their movement, or show tributaries from other ways of knowing and other fields? Also, rather than mapping only disciplinary activity, could we map disciplinary inactivity? Failures of doing, not doing, and not reaching—an antimap?

Glossary Entry 4/3

Map: Wood and Fels refer to maps as “historically contingent sign systems” (1992). Maps work because they selectively represent interests from the past, and these interests are rhetorically bound and concentrated in class, gender, occupation, etc. [KP]

Wood, D., & Fels, J. (1992). The power of maps. Guilford Press.

Standpoint: In class, we differentiated perspective and standpoint. Perspective can be considered physically–it is an act of looking, an ocular operation. Standpoint, on the other hand, is formed by identity. Our standpoint is so innate to who we are that it is pre-cognitive. Barthes would find that standpoint lends itself to punctum, because punctum draws on our unique identities.

Barthes, R. (1981). Camera lucida: Reflections on photography. Macmillan.

Intro, Head Map, Definition

As follow-up to the call for a blog entry in the closing minutes of Monday night’s class, here goes.

Derek Mueller is Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University, where he regularly teaches courses in visual rhetorics, writing pedagogy, and research methods. His research attends to questions concerning networked writing practices, rhetorical aspects of computational methods (e.g., data mining and visualization), and discipliniographies or field narratives related to rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Mueller’s work has been published in Kairos, Enculturation, Computers and Composition, Present Tense, Composition Forum, and JAC. For more, visit

Head Map

Head Map - WRTG540
Head Map – WRTG540

Visual Rhetorics Definition
Study of images, graphics, and visuals, how and why they are made, what are their effects, and how they circulate. But “study” is dissatisfying because rhetoric requires action and “study” hints at knowing too passively.