Blog 5: Visual Argument

In this assignment, you will be creating a visual argument using whatever means you have access to or literacy with and posting it on the course blog.

David Fleming in an article in the journal Argumentation & Advocacy has stated that “a visual can serve as support for a claim” (19) but cannot be both claim and support; Fleming contends that there is no counterclaim to an image as it is open to interpretation and that it cannot carry both claim and evidence, and thus, cannot be an argument.  When you watch the Visual Arguments by Michael Hill video as part of this week’s reading, you will hear a rebuttal to this proposition, but I want you to test this out by creating your own visual argument.

The type of visual you create is constrained only by your skill and the time you devote to it.  Here are some common visual arguments in public forums (select one or be original):

1. Create a comic strip.  There are a few websites online that make creating your own comic fairly simple with drag-and-drop, pre-made images.  Check out MakeBeliefsComix.com or Toondo, but there are others. Remember, you are trying to create a visual argument, so don’t rely on words too much with a comic.

2. Create a parody ad.  There is a slide on the PowerPoint that has examples of parody ads.  For some advice, check out Adbusters help page.  You can also image search Adbusters culture jamming for some inspiration.

3. Create an infographic.  Infographics are graphical representations of data, and they have become popular in recent years as we have collected and been given access to more data.  Image search “infographic” for some examples. Creating an infographic will require both some design expertise and some data.  Websites that help you with the design are infogr.am or easelly. As for data, there are lots of datasets out there, but you want them to be varied and complex enough to warrant an infographic (nobody needs a complicated image to say something that could be said in one sentence).  There are three useful data sources, two of which offer raw data, but for this assignment, consider looking only at some of the reports: The General Social Science Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, and the PewResearch Internet Project.

4. Show off your artistic skills and create something original like a political cartoon, advertisement for an event you are planning, tribute to a favorite author, or instructions for escaping an angry bear.  Are these argumentative?  Maybe, maybe not, but that’s part of the assignment–do they make a claim, offer evidence, and attempt to persuade an audience to do something?

5.  Mashup fun. Combine any two or more of the above into something new.

LENGTH

  • It has to be visual, and it has to look as if you spent 3-4 hours on it.  You are limited to 100 words or less. The “image” has to carry the argument and not be superfluous.

DUE

  • Blog post, Wednesday by midnight

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept “rhetorical situation,” through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce writing that effectively provides evidence and reasoning for assertions, for audiences of educated readers.
  • Test rhetorical and argumentative skills in a practical experiment to see if an image can be an argument.