Rhetorical Analysis Extended

When I teach visual rhetorical analysis, the language is couched in the rhetorical situation and the rhetorical triangle. I want to say these three articles are doing the same thing but the language for analysis and the depth in critical thinking is rich and sophisticated. Finnegan’s framework for analyzing visuals through production, reproduction, and circulation is useful because it expands the entire life of the image–visuals “move” as the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima analysis shows, too. And what linked these three articles, I think, is what we see in Wysocki’s class–design structures thought, maybe? That phrase is a throwback to Walter Ong who made a similar argument about writing and reading, but we probably see that same idea play out with the design of texts on the screen at least.

I was engrossed in the cultural and contextual analyses of the visual articles. Wysocki asks questions I highlighted and have pinned to my bedroom wall: “Is it possible to make designs that ask us to see and to question the cultural and economic assumptions and values guiding the designs, so that we might make designs that help us support and encourage other values if we so wanted?” (29). Very good questions, especially for multimodal composition, of course. I think attempting to explore this question takes students beyond mere bringing multiple modes together; they have to learn that all design makes an argument. People have values, so when they design the interface or make the photo, they inscribe their values into the design and that design sends an argument that hopes to shape how people perceive and interact with the world.

These three articles are Western focused, so I was wondering, What does a non-Western rhetorical analysis look like? For example, I read an article about Chinese rhetorics for prelims over the Christmas break. What does Chinese rhetorics and its analysis of interface design and photography in China look like?

I had another question . . . But I forgot! I’ll edit this post when I do think of the question or another question.


Published by aabyrd

I'm the instructor for WCATY's Media Studies in a Digital Age course for Summer 2015.

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