From the category archives:


Defining Visual Rhetorics: History of the Visual

by Dr Davis on June 16, 2014

Finnegan, Cara A. “Doing Rhetorical History of the Visual: The Photograph and the Archive.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 3913-4305. Ebook.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Finnegan begins by discussing the visual rhetoric within a speech by FDR. She then compares it to a LOOK (pictorial magazine) layout on the same topic–poverty and the Depression (3943 of 6169).

Finnegan argues that identifying “visual rhetoric” as images specifically we are “reinforcing the subordinate status of visuality in the contexts of rhetorical culture” (3955 of 6169). Instead, she suggests that we “conceptualize visual rhetoric as a mode of inquiry” (3967 of 6169).

As a heuristic she suggests that we use “the tools of rhetorical history to sort out three moments in the life of an image for which a critic must account: production, reproduction, and circulation” (3975 of 6169).

Finnegan explicates David Zarefsky’s four senses of historical rhetoric and then says that the third (historical study of rhetorical events) and fourth (rhetorical study of historical events) (3997 of 6169) are both necessary for “doing rhetorical history of the visual” (4009 of 6169).

In her discussion of production (starting at 4030), Finnegan introduces the history of the technology of modern photography, the debut of picture magazines, and the FSA photographs which were printed in LOOK. She does not attempt a complete history, but introduces these three production ideas as a means of complicating/examining/illustrating the history of production (4076 of 6169).

As Finnegan moves into reproduction, she says we must look at what images “are made to do in the contexts in which we discover them… [T]he ways that the arrangement of image, text and caption work to create meaning in the contexts of particular rhetorical events” (4076 of 6169).

The context of the photographs is within a magazine that intended to “use photographs to tell narratives about real people in specific situations, but always in ways that cultivated universal interest” (4047 of 6169). Complicating this particular photograph spread is its positioning between an article on buying a wife in Zululand and a two-page centerfold of an actress in a bathtub full of flowers (4087 of 6169).

There is a lot of discussion of rhetorical issues: the child as a visual synecdoche, the distortion of scale, the irony of “children of the forgotten man” when the man isn’t pictured at all, the infantilization of the poor, the layout of the images…

Possible problems:
Finnegan argues that “the layout of the image [of an African-American girl by herself] in a circular shape” represents surveillance (4110 of 6169). The girl is being seen only through the camera lens.

I don’t think surveillance is an issue here. Most people of the time would not have thought of cameras as circular lenses. Historically round or oval frames were used for portrait photography in the late Victorian age and on into the Edwardian age. The time of the photograph (1937) makes it far more reminiscent of this than it does of the modern surveillance cameras (which I, at least, do not think of graphically as circles). If it were considered anything, I think it would most likely be “posed,” since photographs were not instantaneous.

This, I think, is one of the difficulties of doing historical rhetoric. Few rhetoricians are also historians and it is very easy, even for an academic, to get focused on one idea and not look for alternative explanations.

Finnegan says that the facts offered in the short and dramatic captions are “not credited to any kind of expert who might testify as to the accuracy of the facts” (4142 of 6169). However, the FSA are experts who produced the photographs and they felt the captions were well done (4208 of 6169).

Finnegan discusses the rhetorical presentation of the magazine (4164 of 6169), including how it contributes to views of poverty in the Depression (4174 of 6169).

Neil Betten argues there is a continuum of views on poverty from a “hostile view,” which blames the victim, to an “environmental view,” which faults the socioeconomic system (3, qtd in Finnegan 4174 of 6169).

The LOOK photo spread “seems to invite a hostile reading of the sharecroppers’ plight through its use of vivid images and dramatic text, [but] it also suggests a more environmental view through its deployment of the powerful trope of the ‘forgotten man’” (4186 of 6169).

Finnegan discusses the political advantages for FSA to have its photographs in LOOK and the fact that the photos were circulated in a number of different contexts, so their perception was not limited to the readers of LOOK, what Finnegan calls “the fluidity of the circulation of the FSA photographs” (4229 of 6169).

WC CC3 by Twice25

WC CC3 by Twice25

Related readings:
Blakesley, David and Collin Brooke. “Introduction: Notes on Visual Rhetoric.” Enculturation 3 (Fall 2001). Web.

Zarefsky, Davis. “Four Senses of Rhetorical History.” Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases. Ed. Kathleen J. Turner. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 1998. 19-32.


Defining Visual Rhetorics: Images Construct Memory

by Dr Davis on June 15, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Edwards, Janis L. “Echoes of Camelot: How Images Construct Cultural Memory Through Rhetorical Framing.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 3595-3904. Ebook.

This article looks primarily at the main image associated with John Kennedy, Jr.–the image of a boy in short pants saluting his father’s casket, after framing and practicing the argument on the flag-raising image from 9/11.

Edwards argues that “images disseminated in connection with newsworthy events become attached to the event in the form of cultural remembering” (3595 of 6169).

Images can “express particulars to evoke the universal” (3600 of 6169). According to Edwards specific images “create larger rhetorical frameworks that revive and reimagine the narratives that constitute cultural myths” (3611 of 6169). Iconic photographs “expand representation” (3622 of 6169).


The image’s reproduction was not simply as a photograph, even when cropped in various ways. Instead, it was also referenced verbally (3654 of 6169).

When John Kennedy Jr died “news outlets and editorial cartoonists linked the tragic and premature deaths of father and son” continuing “a narrative of national regret over unrealized potential” (3676 of 6169).

When they are used out of historical context, they refresh the memory and associate it with the new experience. The photo acts as an argument, saying that this new thing is related to the old thing (3687 of 6169).

Edwards examines the JFK Jr photo in relation to Perlmutter’s “eleven characteristics of outrage-provoking photographs” (3732 of 6169). The eleventh discusses the composition of the photograph as it is most commonly reproduced (3787 of 6169).

Edwards discusses the editorial cartoon appropriation of the image (3799-3869) discussing the recontextualization of images.

Related readings:
Perlmutter, David D. Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Icons of Outrage in International Crisis. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Zelizer, Barbie. Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.


Tech to Support Learning

by Dr Davis on June 14, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Bransford and Brown.“Technology to Support Learning.” How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000. 206-230. Web. May 2012. .

“[T]here is a strong argument for electronically linking students not just with their peers, but also with practicing professionals” (212).

Scaffolded experiences can be structured in different ways. Some research educators advocate an apprenticeship model, whereby an expert practitioner first models the activity while the learner observes, then scaffolds the learner (with advice and examples), then guides the learner in practice, and gradually tapers off support and guidance until the apprentice can do it alone (Collins et al., 1989). Others argue that the goal of enabling a solo approach is unrealistic and overrestrictive since adults often need to use tools or other people to accomplish their work (Pea, 1993b; Resnick, 1987). Some even contend that well-designed technological tools that support complex activities create a truly human-machine symbiosis and may reorganize components of human activity into different structures than they had in pretechnological designs (Pea, 1985). (214)

This is an interesting set of options. I am most likely to use the first set, even though I know that often my students will need to re-visit the idea of learning. While always having a solo approach is very unrealistic, there are lots of instances when that is exactly what every single one of us has to do.

[T]he mere existence of these tools in the classroom provides no guarantee that student learning will improve; they have to be part of a coherent education approach ” (216).

This is absolutely true and not the way we consistently use technology in the classroom.

An added advantage of networked technologies for communication is that they help make thinking visible. This core feature of the cognitive apprenticeship model of instruction (Collins, 1990) is exemplified in a broad range of instructional programs and has a technological manifestation, as (220) well (see, e.g., Collins, 1990; Collins and Brown, 1988; Collins et al., 1989). By prompting learners to articulate the steps taken during their thinking processes, the software creates a record of thought that learners can use to reflect on their work and teachers can use to assess student progress. (221)

I like the idea of thinking being visible. I have always liked the apprenticeship model.

The introduction of new technologies to classrooms has offered new insights about the roles of teachers in promoting learning (McDonald and Naso, 1986; Watts, 1985). Technology can give teachers license to experiment and tinker (Means and Olson, 1995a; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). It can stimulate teachers to think about the processes of learning, whether through a fresh study of their own subject or a fresh perspective on students’ learning. It softens the barrier between what students do and what teachers do.

When teachers learn to use a new technology in their classrooms, they model the learning process for students; at the same time, they gain new insights on teaching by watching their students learn. Moreover, the transfer of the teaching role from teacher to student often occurs spontaneously during efforts to use computers in classrooms. (226)

Sometimes we forget how long it took us to learn to do something because it’s been so long since we learned it. Learning something new, even if it isn’t technology, keeps us involved and remembering the process.

“At the University of Illinois, James Levin asks his education graduate students to develop web pages with their evaluations of education resources on the web, along with hot links to those web resources they consider most valuable. Many students not only put up these web pages, but also revise and maintain them (227) after the course is over. Some receive tens of thousands of hits on their web sites each month (Levin et al., 1994; Levin and Waugh, 1998)” (228).

While I think this is unlikely to continue, unless students are considering the net their memory space, the more practical we can be in our assignments, the more likely our students are to find them useful. …Unfortunately sometimes they are very practical but the students are not yet aware of that.

“The process of using technology to improve learning is never solely a technical matter, concerned only with properties of educational hardware and software. Like a textbook or any other cultural object, technology resources for education—whether a software science simulation or an interactive reading exercise—function in a social environment, mediated by learning conversations with peers and teachers” (230).


Assessing Student Composition

by Dr Davis on June 13, 2014

Sorapure, Madeline. “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions.” Kairos 10.2 (Spring 2006): 1-15. Web. 12 May 2012.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“I suggest an assessment strategy that focuses on the effectiveness with which modes such as image, text, and sound are brought together or, literally, composed. Moreover, I propose that we draw on our familiarity with rhetorical tropes—and specifically with the tropes of metaphor and metonymy—to provide us with a language with which to talk to our students about the effectiveness of their work” (Sorapure 2).

“[W]e are at a transitional stage in the process of incorporating new media into our composition courses” (Sorapure 2).

“A broadly rhetorical approach can accommodate these differences—that is, an approach that focuses assessment on how effectively the project addresses a specific audience to achieve a specific purpose. The weakness of a broad rhetorical approach is that it doesn’t in itself offer any specific guidance or criteria for handling the multimodal aspects of the composition” (Sorapure 3).

Assessing how students design relations between modes appeals to me on practical grounds because it addresses of the two most common problems I’ve seen in the new media compositions my students have done. First, some students seem inclined to match modes, so that, for instance, a Flash project will have a song playing in the background while on the screen the lyrics to the song appear along with images depicting exactly what the lyrics say. While some repetition across modes may be useful in focusing attention or highlighting key ideas, too much mode matching diminishes the potential of multimedia composing by, in essence, leveling the modes so that they each express something more or less equivalent. Productive tension between modes here is at a minimum. (Sorapure 4)

“The opposite sort of problem occurs when students include an element in a project simply because it looks good or because it is a cool effect, despite the fact that the element adds nothing to the meaning of the project and bears little, if any, relation to the other components of the project” (Sorapure 5).

“Metaphor designates a relation based on substitution; in a multimodal work, one mode can metaphorically represent or stand in for another, as when an animation of a word dynamically represents its meaning. It is a relation based on similarity between elements in different modes” (Sorapure 5).
“similarity and substitution” (Sorapure 5)

“Metonymy designates a relation based on combination; modes can be metonymically related when they are linked by an association, as when lines from a poem are combined with a melody from a song. It is a relation based on contiguity between elements in different modes” (Sorapure 5).
“contiguity and association” (Sorapure 6)

assignment = create a collage using Photoshop
The collage was to illustrate a particular quote (Sorapure 6).

Sorapure gives four student examples and discusses them in detail. This is useful for teachers who have not had this kind of assignment, as well as anyone trying to follow her argument (7-10).

Sorapure also discusses one multimodal project and two professional projects (11-14).


Credibility in Video News

by Dr Davis on June 12, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Cummins, R. Glenn and Todd Chambers. “How Production Value Impacts Perceived Technical Quality, Credibility, and Economic Value of Video News.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 88.4 (Winter 2011): 737-52.

production value = “technical aspects of content” (Cummins and Chambers 738)

n = 154 people
students, average age of 21
adults, average age of 50 (Cummins and Chambers 742)

The study found that viewers recognized higher production value and found it more credible, but did not see it as being worth paying for (Cummins and Chambers 745).

The authors recognized the potential limitations of the extreme differences in the production values of the texts. “Stories high in production value differed along multiple dimensions: resolution, aspect ratio, audio quality, and shot stability” (Cummins and Chambers 746).

“Student viewers also perceived the content to be less credible compared to adult viewers” (Cummins and Chambers 747). Which means there is hope for our students!


Juxtaposition Thinking

by Dr Davis on June 11, 2014

Rice, Jeff. “Juxtaposition.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 73-92. Print.

For my notes on chapter 4 from the book, I wrote:

As I was reading the highlights and notes I wrote in the book for this, I kept thinking of the digital presentations my second semester fyc course does. It seemed like juxtaposition would help make those more interesting. I may write about that more later…

Here’s what I was thinking:

I have the students make a list of the kind of images, sounds, and videos they think they will be looking for. I make my own list for a class I will be teaching in a year, just to give me something to do with them on this and to try out things on my own.

I am going to be teaching an Honors Class on Science Fiction and Fantasy (more specific than that, but let’s just go with that). So I wrote this list:

Images of the book covers
Werewolf pictures
Vampire pictures
Juxtaposition of pretty girl with tattoos and a coyote
Lamb necklace image
Scooby van
Scooby gang
Pictures related to wizards
–maybe that film clip from Jurassic Park
giant swords
Asian guy using a Western sword
Glowing swords
Churches (at least one, maybe one and one abandoned—ruins?)
“The Life of the Everyday Housewife” country song—old, who sang?
“this is the life of the everyday housewife, who gave up the good life for me”
nuclear family: father, mother, daughter (teenager)
Louisiana swamp town, bait store
Inside a convenience store type bar
Official government shield (which letter organization?)
Empty/ghost town (but modern)
One “typical” image of a Christian
One iconic image of Christ
Woman in black motorcycle gear—with helmet (or obviously American Indian)
Picture of the Church of Christ with the barbed wire around it

I mostly wrote these in the order they are in. (I did add Elvis later.) I knew I was looking for both images and sounds, so I could have some of both.

I thought of this list based on books. The first 7 are related to Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. The next 7 are related to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Series, especially book 3. The next 7 are related to John Ringo’s Princess of Wands. I didn’t intend to just have 7 for each, but that happened. I wonder if my subconscious thought that was sufficient.

The last 4 are actually related to Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, which we are not going to read for the colloquium. Why did I add them? Originally her work was in the description for the course and I think that I may actually read a little of the book (the first page) to the students and give an overview of the permutations of faith that are presented in the series.

I have the students create their own lists. Some of these will, I hope, provide juxtapositions of ideas, especially when they are searching for images for them.

More thinking–what next?
How can this list help students/me discover juxtaposition?

Maybe I want to actually put together images from one of the books, what I think of as I read through the book?

Briggs already supplied an interesting juxtaposition of an ancient vampire having a Scooby van. Could I photoshop a vampire into a scene with a Scooby van? There’s an old, not updated mechanic’s shop here in town that I could take pictures of to be Zee and Mercy’s workplace.

Could I find an obviously ex-military, buff business man in a suit? Someone particularly handsome, but a little intimidating? (Only a little.)
Again, this is a juxtaposition Briggs has already created.

Now as I am thinking of these I wonder if that is how Briggs created the books herself. Did she take characters and twist, so they weren’t what you were expecting–as Brandon Sanderson recommends?

Could I find someone who looks like a slightly unkempt, borderline alcoholic in a leather full-length coat? That’s what I think of when I conceive of Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Why do I think that when he works with the police? Because I know he is a rebel and doesn’t fit in. … What else?

Anyway, that’s my list and thinking… What does that do for my students? It gives them a different direction to go. (Is this where the blackbirds and the clothesline from UT come in?–Several years ago I attended a presentation where someone was showcasing student work and they were particularly impressed by the images that accompanied a work on blackbirds, because instead of being images of blackbirds, the images were of clothes on a clothesline blowing in the wind. I thought it was particularly odd to think that those were imminently superior images.)

So students have lists and ideas. They start gathering these up. What does that do for them?

I first put in “housewife.” Instead of what I think of, I see lots of 1950s advertisements and drawings and some fine art nudes. Scrolling down I see a few that look like more what I was thinking about, though they are still mostly from the 1950s. And I note that I easily reject many of the pictures. The few that I like have additions like “Happy Anniversary.” Those won’t work.

I couldn’t find anything. Then I put in “homemaker.” The image I liked was from a home-health-care service, but it was closer to what I was thinking. I couldn’t get it to upload, so I found something else–a bit more discouraging than I had hoped for, but within the realm of realistic. Again it wouldn’t upload. I wonder why I am so set on this (housewife/homemaker) and I realize it is because I want to juxtapose it with vampires and werewolves.

So now I’m frustrated and I am wondering how my students will feel with this. Are they going to come to the digital presentation with firm ideas, if they write a list first? When they can’t find them, how will they feel?


Assessing Multimedia Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on June 10, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Ball, Cheryl E. “Assessing Scholarly Multimedia: A Rhetorical Studies Approach.” Technical Communication Quarterly 21 (2012): 61-77.

“[F]orm and content are inseparable in authors’ scholarly multimedia” (Ball 61).

“Based on my editorial experience with Kairos, I teach students at Illinois State University to read, analyze, and assess authors’ schol- arly multimedia projects as well as to propose, compose, revise, and peer review their own webtexts, which they can submit to peer-reviewed venues such as Kairos, C&C Online, X=Changes, and The JUMP (Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects)” (Ball 61).

Ball says that even though she coined the term “new media scholarship” (61), she is using “scholarly multimedia” to refer to multimodal scholarly presentations (62).

What is scholarly multimedia?

Scholarly multimedia are article- or book-length, digital pieces of scholarship designed using multimodal elements to enact authors’ arguments. They incorporate interactivity, digital media, and different argumentation strategies, such as visual juxtaposition and associational logic (see Purdy & Walker, in press), and are typically published in online, peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Kairos, C&C Online, Vectors) and presses (e.g., Computers and Composition Digital Press). Scholarly multimedia cannot be printed and still retain the author’s argument because such texts are composed of Web pages with links, animations, images, audio, video, scripting languages, databases, and other multimedia and interactive elements, including but not limited to written text. (Ball 62)

“As Kress (2010) has said, ‘Design is the servant of rhetoric—or, to put it differently: the political and social interests of the rhetor are the generative origin and shaping influence for the semiotic arrangements of the designer’ (p. 50)” (qtd in Ball 63).

Reading assignment:

This particular set of criteria has proven invaluable to my students, who have taken it up with unabashed enthusiasm after reading Kuhn’s (2008) webtext, which is one of the first webtexts that I usually ask students to analyze using the four parameters embedded within it. Students used these parameters to analyze existing, successful (already published) webtexts from the venues they are interested in submitting to, as well as non-peer-reviewed venues that publish digital media texts they liked, such as music videos on YouTube. (Ball 66)

Main assignment = webtext aimed at an academic audience, as if they would be submitting to journals such as Kairos (63)

In Ball’s class they discuss “the rhetorical, technological, ideological, institutional, professional, social, and other issues that arise” (64) when composing such a text.

“all developmental writers in the sense that they are not yet confident or do not yet have expert technological, multimodal, or rhetorical abilities” (Ball 64).

The cumulative assignments for the webtext project can include the following:
reading responses to published webtexts?
values-based analysis of digital media texts and webtexts?
audience and venue analyses?
genre analyses of webtexts?
review presentations of technologies available for composing webtexts
project pitches?
proposals to flesh out the project idea?
storyboards and scripts?
workable or rough drafts?
peer review of classmates’ rough drafts?
annotated versions of peer-review letters?
completed webtexts (Ball 64)

“the values-based analysis guides most of the assessment practices” (Ball 64)

“strike a balance between convention and innovation, even as the line between image and text, between orality and literacy, between art and critique and, indeed, between scholarship and pedagogy” (Kuhn, qtd in Ball 65)

Ball gives her students three different heuristics. Then she asked students to choose. They basically took Kuhn’s four and added two, so they called it Kuhn+2 (68).

Storyboard by Kelly Lawless, WC CC3

Storyboard by Kelly Lawless, WC CC3

Ball says that whatever medium students to begin to compose with will be the main medium, so they should not be using MSWord (72).
Perhaps mindmapping? It is still words, but more visual.
Instead of a script, she requires a storyboard (Ball 73).

Ball discusses a student’s work that was published in TechnoCulture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society (72-74).

Ball gives only one grade (participation) based on whether or not all the work was done on time and excellently (74).

Ball made “revise and resubmit” the standard for work within the classroom (75), a particularly apt plan for rhetoric and composition coursework.

Related Readings:
Susan Delagrange. Wunderkammer, Cornell, and the Visual Canon of Arrangement. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 13.2 (2009).
Bob Broad. What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing. Logan, UT: Utah State U, 2003.



Defining Visual Rhetorics: Rhetoric of Advertising

by Dr Davis on June 9, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Hope, Diane S. “Gendered Environments: Gender and the Natural World in the Rhetoric of Advertising.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 3125-3595. Ebook.

First, I want to say that Hope included NO statistical, quantitative data, even though her topic seemed to be screaming for this type of information.

Second, once again a section of the kindle book was repeated.

Third, leaving aside the point above, it seemed that Hope repeated herself a lot.

“Advertising endorses and legitimates consumerism” (Hope 3130 of 6169).

“[A]dvertising constitutes a dominant genre of visual rhetoric” (Hope 3132 of 6169).

Advertising is “separate promotions that collectively celebrate the righteousness of the consumer ethic” (Hope 3135 of 6169).

Advertising “depends on strategies of identification” (Hope 3135 of 6169).

Triscuit_1903_Advertisement WC pdIconographic images of nature form advertising’s “rhetoric of gender identification”(Hope 3137 of 6169).

Gendered rhetorics “contextualize fantasies of social role, power, status, and security as well as sexual attractiveness” (Hope 3148 of 6169).

“Advertisements that combine images of nature with narratives of gender offer … visualizations that cloak the impact of consumption…” (Hope 3156 of 6169).

“[A] rhetoric of gendered environments affirms two traditional ideologies at once: belief in distinct gender attributes as essential to sexual identity, and belief in an infinite, unchanging natural world” (Hope 3159 of 6169).
I would say that the gendered environments in advertising of which she writes may affirm that, but I am not sure a simple gendered environment does.

“[F]eminine passivity and masculine conquest are transferred to the earth” (Hope 3159 of 6169).

“rhetorical powers of music, narration, dialogue and motion” (Hope 3166 of 6169).
I liked that Hope recognized that sound/audio was important to television and internet ads–and important enough to differentiate between two types of sound used there.

“The masculine figure acts upon an awesome environment–literally shaping it to his control, while nature feminized is a seductive object of our gaze (Berger; Butler)” (Hope 3163 of 6169).

“[A]dvertising’s feminized environment is the action story of nature as passive–seductive woman, woman as fertile nature. … images are exotic and lush with icons of fertility and female sexuality” (Hope 3186 of 6169).

“signs of femininity and signs of exotic nature are frequently fused” (Hope 3216 of 6169).

“fruits, birds, butterflies, sunsets and moonlight” (Hope 3231 of 6169).
(may have) a woman’s image (Hope 3231 of 6169)
“Color palettes reflect the shades of the tropics” (Hope 3234 of 6169).
“Image focus is often soft” (Hope 3234 of 6169).
“no environmental problems” (Hope 3270 of 6169).
“Advertisements of feminized environments frequently appropriate the same stock images used by environmental organizations” (Hope 3307 of 6169).

“‘pristine’ wilderness” (Hope 3236 of 6169)
“place of action, risk, individualism and challenge for male prowess” (Hope 3236 of 6169)
“countless images of red rocks, canyons, deserts and sky” (Hope 3239 of 6169)
“[T]he male figure acts upon his environment…” (Hope 3248 of 6169).
“No one is seen working. Leisure, isolation and adventure mark the masculinized environment” (Hope 3258 of 6169).
Are they seen working in feminized ads?
“Nature is the object of conquest or background for demonstration of power” (Hope 3267 of 6169).
colors: “reds, browns, blues and whites of the west” (Hope 3270 of 6169)
“no environmental problems” (Hope 3270 of 6169)
“As realized in North America, the sublime is the genesis of a particularly American mythology of land, power and masculinity” (Hope 3330 of 6169).
“vastness of the land, explored, colonized, and imaged, was inseparable from capital and power” (Hope 3332 of 6169)

Appropriated iconography is the basic strategy of pictorial advertising” (Hope 3280 of 6169).

She talks about the “collective impact” (Hope 3343 of 6169).

She also says there is “an increasingly competitive production of visual symbols to the ‘cluttered landscape’ of advertising” (Goldman and Papson qtd in Hope 3349 of 6169).

“It is in their aggregate impact that advertising’s rhetorical force is experienced” (Hope 3370 of 6169).

“In the aggregate, the folklore of advertising’s gendered environments provides a fable of the natural world constrained only by essentialist gender identities” (Hope 3373 of 6169).

“[G]ender and nature remain static in constructions of reality negotiated in long-ago eras of human relationship to each other and to the land” (Hope 3470 of 6169).

She says that exceptions to her discussion of genderized environments are “offbeat” (Hope 3485 of 6169).

computer and glassesRelated Readings:
Goldman and Papson’s 1996 Sign Wars: The Cluttered Landscape of Advertising”


Defining Visual Rhetorics: Political Image Making

by Dr Davis on June 8, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Strachan, J. Cherie and Kathleen E. Kendall. “Political Candidates’ Convention in Films: Finding the Perfect Image–An Overview of Political Image Making.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 2712-3125 of 6169. Ebook.

political image refers to a carefully constructed condensation of all the attributes a candidate wants to convey to the voters into easily recalled, visual and verbal symbols” (Strachan and Kendall 2715 of 6169).

“[I]mages are often intended to symbolize far more than the candidates’ most attractive traits” (Strachan and Kendall 2715 of 61669), but also add mythical standing. “In these symbolic representations, the identity of the candidate and the nation are merged” (Strachan and Kendall 2726 of 6169).

“The emotional appeal of these images to patriotic values encourages unquestioned acceptance” (Strachan and Kendall 2734 of 6169).

“{W]ith advances in communication technology, the use of visual rhetoric has expanded as visual symbols that construct meaning can be readily conveyed to a mass audience” (Strachan and Kendall 2747 of 6169); thus politicians “are increasingly apt to use powerful visual symbols” (Strachan and Kendall 2750 of 6169).

They state that “a new rhetorical genre emerges” (Strachan and Kendall 2755 of 6169).

Photo of Eisenhower WC pdCompares Eisenhower and Stevenson films 2771-2785. Then looks at multiple convention films:
Reagan’s film 2785-2802,
Clinton’s 2829-2857,
Gore’s 2857-3011–including using schema theory,
and Bush’s 3011-3080.

Patterns of convention films:
1. a narrative style w/ archetypal images (2816 of 6169) and women shown in traditional roles (2818 of 6169),
2. play on themes of the American Dream (2821 of 6169),
3. “introduce a candidate’s vision for the future” (2824 of 6169),
4. Republicans use it better than Democrats (2827 of 6169)

Schema theory:
“people abstract information from their personal or vicarious experiences to create mental constructs that organize information about situations and individuals” (Strachan and Kendall 2954 of 6169).

“experiences used to develop these expectations and judgments [that people have and make] are not treated equally” (Strachan and Kendall 2967 of 6169).

“perceptual experiences have a more dramatic, lasting impact than being told even the most vivid story” (Strachan and Kendall 2972 of 6169).

They say television is persuasive because it combines visual and auditory (Strachan and Kendall 2978 of 6169).

“[W]hen people are exposed to information that contradicts existing judgments, they often reject it” (Strachan and Kendall 2986 of 6169).

Explaining why Gore’s film was unsuccessful, they say that “a convention film introduces and image that the candidate will be capable of conveying throughout the duration of the campaign” (Strachan and Kendall 2997 of 6169), but that the film’s focus on Gore as warm was not an image that Gore could project.

They mention that Bush’s convention film used “surging music and emotional visual clues” (Strachan and Kendall 3019 of 6169).

In the film, Bush “turns to speak to the audience, creating the feeling that each viewer is part of the scene” (Strachan and Kendall 3021 of 6169).

“facial closeups are ‘exceptionally powerful in attracting and holding the viewers’ attention.’ They also stir emotions and produce ‘feelings of positive or negative identification…’” (Graber 168 qtd in Strachan and Kendall 3024 of 6169).

Bush’s film “exalts the core value of a Texas cowboy, of a rugged individualist–the value of individual responsibility tempered with compassion” (Strachan and Kendall 3052 of 6169).

Bush’s convention film “celebrates values through emotional appeals, using pictures not only to document verbal assertions, but to construct independent meaning” (Strachan and Kendall 3078 of 6169).

Convention films not accepted unreservedly (Strachan and Kendall 3094 of 6169).
Emotional responses short-circuit critical responses. (Strachan and Kendall 3097 of 6169).

computer and glasses closerRelated Readings:
Doris Graber’s Processing the News: How People Tame the Information Tide.”

Joanne Morreale’s A New Beginning: A Textual Frame Analysis of the Political Campaign.



Defining Visual Rhetorics: Film Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on June 7, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Blakesley, David. “Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Eds. Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 2270-2710 of 6169. Ebook.

Hitchcock “drew our attention to the power of the visual as an appeal to the audience’s desire and as a means of interrogating identification” (Blakesley 2274 of 6169).

“visual became more than just the primary medium or technique of cinema’s appeal, but additionally, and in modernist-fashion, cinema’s contested subject” (Blakesley 2279 of 6169).

Blakesley wrote that the end of the 20th century saw a desire to understand the “function of the image in its own right as well as the inter animation of the visual and the verbal in our means of (re)presentation” (Blakesley 2282 of 6169).

Films, such as The English Patient, The Matrix, and Memento, “that self-consciously contest the relationships among realism and identity make excellent subjects for the study of film rhetoric and thus for understanding the verbal and visual ingredients of identification” (Blakesley 2288 of 6169).

Blakesley said there was a “rhetorical or linguistic turn” in the 80s and a “visual turn” in the 90s (Blakesley 2290 of 6169).

“[V]erbal is [fundamentally] implicated in epistemology” (Blakesley 2290 of 6169).

“[T]he visual turn simply asserts that symbolic action entails visual representation in the inseparable and complex verbal, visual, and perceptual acts of making meaning” (Blakesley 2293 of 6169).

“interplay between visuality, apparatus, institutions, discourse, bodies, and figurality” (Blakesley 2300 of 6169).

Blakesley defines spectatorship as “the look, the gaze, the glance, the practices of observation, surveillance, and visual pleasure” (Blakesley 2303 of 6169).

The visual “might not be fully explicable on the model of textuality” (Blakesley 2303 of 6169).

Blakesley identifies his conclusion as discussing the “visual component of identification” and “how film rhetoric elaborates and exploits visual ambiguity to foster identification” (Blakesley 2308 of 6169).

describes 4 approaches to film rhetoric, saying they “share interests in identification and persuasion” but that they “reveal substantial disagreement about the nature of film rhetoric or about whether rhetoric itself is any more than a means of textual analysis” (Blakesley 2310 of 6169). He also cites himself in the introduction of the collection The Terministic Screen: Rhetorical Perspectives on Film.

The four approaches are film language, film ideology, film interpretation, and film identification.

Blakesley quotes Benson defines rhetoric “as the study of symbolic inducement” (qtd in Blakesley 2313 of 6169).

Examines Vertigo using identification as rhetoric’s key term (Blakesley 2329 of 6169).

Mentions Christian Metz’s work which attempted “to develop a sign system for film spectatorship” and his concept of “the mirror stage–the moment of self-recognition and distinction that marks the immersion into language” (Blakesley 2334 of 6169). Metz then ties this to “the imaginary (the realm of secondary identification)” (Blakesley 2327 of 6169).

If film can be approached as a language, then “there is a grammar of visual signs that operates predictably and that can be used to generate an infinite variety of meanings” (Blakesley 2339 of 6169).

“In the realm of the textual or the visual, the ideological apparatus has a determinative influence on what is read or seen at the moment of perception” (Blakesley 2347 of 6169).

“[T]he medium of the visual functions ideologically as well” (Blakesley 2350 of 6169).

Visual composition functions rhetorically” as “[t]he rhetorical operates at the moment of choice or neglect” (Blakesley 2353 of 6169).

“Metz helps us understand more fully the visual nature of identification” (Blakesley 2361 of 6169).

Identification rhetoric “manifest[s] as a desire for orientation” (Blakesley 2410 of 6169).

Hitchcock's_cameo_appearances._Vertigo btw 1923 and 1977 wout copyright notice WC pdHe then begins his discussion of Vertigo.

Modleski argues “Hitchcock allows that perspective to shift in unexpected but prominent ways and thus suggests the plasticity of identification” (Blakesley 2515 of 6169).

“identification and division are ambiguously contemporaneous” (Blakesley 2536 of 6169).

“Whether the means are verbal or visual, the rhetorical act involves imagining that such identity is possible and that its effects are real” (Blakesley 2539 of 6169).

“Identification is inherently an action-together of subject-object” (Blakesley 2554 of 6169).

At 2628 of 6169, Blakesley begins to speak specifically on visual rhetoric and identification.

“[T]he visual functions as an appeal” (Blakesley 2641 of 6169).

“rhetoric that elaborates and exploits visual ambiguity to foster identification” (Blakesley 2644 of 6169).

computer and glassesRelated Readings:
J. T. Mitchell’s Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation

Blakesley’s edited collection The Terministic Screen: Rhetorical Perspectives on Film, specifically his introduction.

Tania Modleski’s The Women Who Knew Too Much