George L. Dillon
Prerequisite: teaching experience.
TEXTS: Carolyn Handa. Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World. Bedford-St. Martins. 2004. ISBN: 0312409753
Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2006. ISBN: 0-415-31915-3
Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites. No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy. University of Chicago Press, 2007. ISBN: 0-226-31612-2
This course focuses on two fundamental questions in the areas of Visual Rhetoric and Visual Semiotics, namely, how language-like are 'visuals' and how do certain images acquire exceptional power to rouse our feelings and even convey our cultural identity(ies)? We will begin with Roland Barthes' famous claim that photographs communicate without a code and question whether that claim still holds in this age of ever increasing digital image manipulation. We will look closely at Kress and van Leeuwen's Reading Images to consider whether and in what ways it is useful to speak of a grammar of visual design. And we will look at different claims about 'visual literac y'.
We then move from signification to power, reading.the Hariman and Lucaites book on iconic photographs and a portion of Benedikt Feldges' book on iconic figures created in American TV. This will also engage us in issues of witnessing, documentary, and the ethics of viewing.
Written work for the seminar will include collecting and analyzing images and a seminar paper addressing one of the controversial issues touched on in the course.
WARNING! The word icon is used–differently– in almost everything we read.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading