Course Description & Objectives

This course introduces students to visual communication practices and the politics of visual culture through a mix of theory, analysis, and production of visual materials. Students will gain foundational knowledge in theories of visual rhetoric and will practice analyzing (physical and digital) material visual artifacts such as campaign posters, street art, photographs, memorials, advertisements, paintings, protest materials, and other visual texts.

Course Assignments

Over the semester you will be responsible for the following assignments:

Website and blog                                   15%

Each student will create and develop a class website using A Domain of One’s Own, hosted by GSU Create. These websites will house your assignments, which will include Makerspace Reflections, the midterm and final project. Here, you will practice thinking rhetorically through the production of a visually-dominated platform and reinforce how image works with other modes to generate meaning.

Makerspaces/in-class assignments           15%

Over the semester, we will engage in five hands-on makerspace activities that will tie our readings to the ways in which we will explore visual rhetoric as culturally persuasive (Politics/protest, gender/identity, architecture/memorials, and graphic design). These activities are meant to creatively enact visual rhetoric in basic, low-stakes ways and will explore how each of us interprets visual concepts. While these are done with intention, and attention paid to the texts tied to each activity, these activities should be approached as a lab of exploratory play. At the conclusion of each makerspace, students will write brief reflections connecting the dots between theory and practice.

Image Annotation Midterm Project              20%

Part description, part analysis, the image annotation dissects an image for its physical and rhetorical parts. A successful annotation is thorough and careful in its analysis and considers authorial intention fully. See the assignment sheet for more. The image annotation will be multimodal but include a 400-750 word conclusive analysis.

Final Project: The Exhibition                   50%

Having worked through some theories of visual rhetoric and engaged with the production of visual rhetoric, you are now asked to reach back through the semester to develop a final project that investigates visual rhetoric through material means as an exhibition of a curated collection of objects or images.

By the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Express the uses of visuals for persuasive purposes and in multiple media
  • Engage with material artifacts as visual makers of cultural meaning
  • Practice visual rhetoric with and for an audience
  • Connect visual rhetoric with rhetorical theory, composition strategies, and technology
  • Describe relationships among words, images, materials, and various visual media
  • Identify the major rhetorical elements of design
  • Analyze and evaluate the rhetorical success or failure of a design in terms of its audience, meaning, and intended effect
  • Apply rhetorical principles in the digital production of visual media