It’s funny how I have managed to do a lot of stuff different in my teaching from the way I’ve done then in the past, and I’m just now realizing it mid-way through the semester. For example, while I’m not completely sold on what seems to me to be the current/recent emphasis on so-called “Visual Rhetoric,” I decided to have students in my English 328 class do a project on it. Among other reasons, I decided to include this in the class because Scott McCloud is going to be on campus in the Winter as the EMU McAndless Professor. We’re reading/discussing Understanding Comics of course, but I’m trying to find one or two other readings to supplement this. Oh, and I need to come up with a writing assignment, too.
Can you see how carefully this is all planned? Jeesh.
Anyway, a colleague of mine recommended the first chapter of Claude Gandelman’s Reading Pictures, Viewing Texts, but I don’t think that’s going to be right. Gandelman is coming at the issue as an art critic, and while this chapter is really interesting (it’s about the connection between “touch” and “vision,” and argues that the eye physically does not take all of an image at once), I don’t think my students will get the connection with McCloud. Derek’s comments on Bolter’s essay in the collection Elloquent Images makes me want to take a look at that book, but the EMU library doesn’t have it and someone has it checked out of the U of Michigan library. I think Richard Lanham’s essay “The Implications of Electronic Information for the Sociology of Knowledge” will work well as a sort of “bridge” text between this unit and the next ones, but it is slightly dated, originally published in 1994.
Of course, when all else fails, I do what my students do: I just Google something obvious, like “Visual Rhetoric.” Among many other things, this turned up The Visual Rhetoric Portal, a handy bibliography of materials on visual rhetoric, these resources at the University of Iowa, this David Blakesley course, etc., etc.
Sometimes the obvious yeilds surprising results.