2023-2024 Catalog

WRD 235 Visual Rhetoric: Communication through Pictures and/or Words

Visual Rhetoric: Communication through Pictures and/or Words. This course will examine the forms and uses of visual images to inform argue and inspire--in order to analyze their effectiveness expressing ideas across the millennia from ancient civilizations through the present digital age. We will examine codices illuminated manuscripts stained glass panels and maps; combinations of words and pictures from scientists poets printers and graphic novelists; as well as digital images such as memes information graphics data visualizations and multimedia arguments. Both the theory of visual rhetoric and the making of images in some of these media will complement our exploration of these genres.


Visual Rhetoric: The Power of Images

From prehistoric cave paintings to memes designed to reach millions of people, images have historically been used to shape our understanding of the world. The goal of this class is for students to recognize and critically respond to the different ways images shape meaning, focusing on the ways visuals have been historically used to persuade, influence, and inspire. Students will engage in scholarly criticism about visual arguments and analyze the power of images across a variety of media, including but not limited to architecture, film, graphic design, typography, painting, political cartoons and campaign material, advertisements, and commercial packaging. Ultimately, students will develop their visual literacy by writing scholarly critiques of visual media and creating rhetorical images of their own.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Fine Arts