English Language and Literature ETDs

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New media and digital texts of the twenty-first century are generally characterized as rich and dynamic combinations of verbal, visual, and aural elements. Instruction in visual rhetoric in the writing classroom, however, has tended to focus on analysis with far less emphasis on teaching students how to produce multimodal texts. Drawing upon classical rhetorical theory, I propose the development of a visual paideia grounded in the educational goals of the Greco-Roman paideia to incorporate richly balanced instruction in both analysis and production of visual-dominant texts. I approach the development of a visual paideia via examining the current state of visual theory and practice in academic instructional culture. I survey extant theories of visual texts to argue that theories of graphic design, semiotics, and visual culture provide the rich framework needed to inform a visual paideia. I then conduct a writing program and textbook survey to tease out pedagogical practices. Finally, I propose the development of a collection of visual topoi or commonplaces that can be used as a powerful tool of invention in the creation of visual-dominant texts as I demonstrate through several examples of student work.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Sanders, Scott

Second Committee Member

Paine, Charles

Third Committee Member

Hocks, Mary




Rhetoric--Study and teaching (Higher), English language--Writing--Study and teaching (Higher), Visual literacy--Study and teaching (Higher), Media literacy--Study and teaching (Higher), Visual communication--Study and teaching (Higher)

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