Visual rhetoric, media, and rhetors: Creating spaces for deliberation

Bridget F Ruetenik, Purdue University


Drawing on recent interests to prepare students who see, as Hawisher and Selfe write, “little connection between traditional literacy education” and their social, economic, and political lives, the project “Visual Rhetoric, Media, and Rhetors: Creating Spaces for Deliberation” uses deliberative discourse to forge new understandings of visual rhetoric and composing with new media. The author names this concept ‘deliberative visual rhetoric’ (DVR), the teloi of which are civic decision-making and action. The author considers composing strategies for attaining these ends through the verbal and visual means made possible with present communication technologies. Chapter 1 identifies directions in scholarship useful to the articulation of a visual rhetoric focused on the civic-minded production and reception of multimedia compositions. Working from Kress and VanLeeuwen's theory of multimodality, Chapter 2 adds to discussions of visual rhetoric on the flat surface of page and screen by analyzing the building of a three-dimensional space: the May 4 Memorial at Kent State University. Chapter 3 supplements the conclusions from Chapter 2 by suggesting that conceptual artist Barbara Kruger and graphic artist David Carson are visual rhetors whose strategies of composing serve to establish criteria for articulating the role of the visual in composing for new media. Chapter 4 returns to scholarship that connects technology, deliberation, and visual rhetoric and proposes some initial strategies for teaching DVR.




Sullivan, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Composition|Mass media

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server