RHE 315 – Intro to Visual Rhetoric

With the rise of new media and network television, Americans are exposed to thousands upon thousands of images on a daily basis. From our facebook streams to our television viewing choices to our personal email accounts, we are bombarded with images: of celebrities, of politicians, of consumer goods, of natural disasters, of… cats. And we must filter through it all in order to make sense of our world.

In this course we will explore the ways in which images can be read, analyzed, constructed, and manipulated. We will interrogate how images inform our reading of historical and political events, of personal identity, of public and private spaces. We will think through issues of self-presentation: how our stylistic choices convey messages to the world around us, and how we interpret the choices of others. We will look at the spaces we frequent and consider the rhetorical effects of everything from the architecture to the furniture to lighting. In short, we will investigate how the visual (non-linguistic, non-textual) world conveys its messages.