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"The more you see, the more you know. The more you know, the more you see." Aldous Huxley
"Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."
Little Elf Judy, The Santa Clause

Course schedule
(subject to change, so don't print out once and treat as gospel; refer back regularly)

Class session
Topics
Texts, Readings, Resources

Week 1: Jan. 9

Introduction to visual communication, syllabus, key course concepts

Semiotics of architecture: a campus tour | First outline (.pdf download)

What is culture? What is visual culture?

For funsies: Pictures at an (safari) exhibition | Freddie Wong: What's up, Internet? | Gamer Commute | "Brosurance": Selling insurance to young people | My Life as a Zucchini

For Friday:
1. Read the syllabus for a possible quiz.
2. Contemplate the questions, "What is culture?" and "What is visual culture?"
3. Read Michael Kimmelman on culture
4. Read Intro and Ch. 1 of The Age of the Image

Due Friday:
Your first safari (instructions here)

Week 2:Jan. 16

Finish Kimmelman

Signs v. symbols | Light as metaphor (9:45) | Data visualization (Light! as metaphor)

The visual rhetoric of comics (outline) | Visual media & discursive surfaces | Personification | Roy Lichtenstein and the rhetoric of comics

Apkon, The Age of the Image (chs. 1 & 2) discussion

For funsies:

No class Monday: MLK Day

For Wednesday, Jan. 18: Your Kimmelman response. Instructions here, on the WanderingRocks.

For Friday:
Read Ch. 2, The Age of the Image

Ask yourself: What is the grammar of comics and cartoons? The vocabulary? What is the rhetoric of comics?

Week 3: Jan. 23

Silence speaking: Chris Rock, Kristi Yamaguchi | Michael Moore's opening | Visual rhetoric of tech product commercials

Seeing, sensing, selecting & perceiving

Light as metaphor | How we see | How we perceive (COLOR, FORM, DEPTH, MOVEMENT)

For funsies: Afghan eyes | Visual symbolism of 'State of the Union' addresses | One second (cancer patients) | Some cool up-close eyeball pics (thanks, Alex!) | BBC's optical illusions

For funsies: Visual rhetoric of tattoos | an explanation of Fair Use | Comics to teach science | Annotated Watchmen

For Wednesday:

  1. Read Ch. 3, The Age of the Image
  2. Read this New York Times article on MentalFloss
  3. Second safari: Bring in a photographic example of light used as metaphor. Original photography only; no photoshopping; no arranging; as naturally found (as opposed to interpreted) as possible. Typed, printed writeup with photo.

Week 4: Jan. 30

Introduction to visual communication theory:

  • Gestalt (Think brown)
  • Semiotics (Berger, Peirce, Barthes)
  • Cognitive theory (memory, projection)
  • Constructivism

Peirce's symbolic types: iconic, idexical, symbolic

Manjoo's "selective perception" and "selective exposure"
Example: All in the Family, "Draft Dodger"

For Monday: Comment on WanderingRocks on "seeing as a creative act" AND Safari #3: Bring in a photo you will take of a symbol you don't recognize. Then find out what it in fact means, or is intended to mean, to put in your writeup.

Safari #4, for Friday:Take a photo of the best example of Gestalt you can find. Type up WHY you believe it to demonstrate Gestalt, explaining how the denoted elements add up to much larger connotations.

Week 5: Feb. 6

Berger's Metonymic (Snicker's ad), analogical, displaced, condensed codes -- another outline for note-taking

>>The Washington Post on Snicker's ad
>>Andy Warhol's newspaper art (an example of a condensed code), with commentary

Safari #5, for Monday: Bring in a print advertisement that has Peirce's iconic, indexical, and symbolic signs. Include a paragraph CLEARLY identifying each of the three in the image, explaining why each representation is in fact what you say it is. If you need multiple ads to find all three, that's fine.

Safari #6, for Friday: Berger code safari -- Find one or more print ads that use metonymic, analogical, condensed, and displaced symbolic codes to persuade. Include a paragraph CLEARLY identifying each of the four. If you need multiple ads to find all three, that's fine.

Week 6: Feb. 13

Denotation/Connotation (Barthes) case study | another outline for note-taking | The Accountant metaphor

Wednesday: Helvetica (BC at Westminster College)

Anti-stimulus bill editorial cartoon case study:

Popeye's Annie | Popeyes ad II | Minneapolis reaction | Rochester reaction | Hardee's and sex | Hardee's and sex II | Zesty Italian guy | Images of black women negative: Essence magazine | Booker Wright and smiling at the white man

For funsies: Microsoft's new-ish logo | ebay also with a new logo | Real complainers vote | Braves via infrared photography (New York Times) | Saint Louis University new-ish mascot

Safari #7, for Friday: The best example you can find of simple denotation that communicates many connotations. The more the viewer has to work at creating meaning, the better. Submit photographic or image example, with explanation.

Week 7: Feb. 20

Stereotyping | Colbert's Stereotypes One | Two |The Racial Draft | Terrorist stereotypes | An image is missing (for Latinos) | Gender role reversals | Axe's hair meets boobs | "Black" ice | Whitewashing Hollywood | Cleveland Indians | Washington Redskins

Memory

For funsies: Designing playing cards (thanks, Katy!)

Safari #7, for Wednesday: The best example you can find of simple denotation that communicates many connotations. The more the viewer has to work at creating meaning, the better. Submit photographic or image example, with explanation.

Due Friday: Comment with an experience when you were treated as the 'Other'; complete instructions on WanderingRocks

Also by Friday, view Joshua Foer's TED talk on memory palaces | Read the Times on the same | And a fun memory palace puzzle

Week 8: Feb. 27

Visual Persuasion (advertising): Gestalt, myth, persuasion, aspiration & fear:

Lloyds Bank of London ad: A Fairy Tale
The Think Different (Apple, 1997)

The Cymbalta ad on YouTube

Anti-gay marriage | anti-anti-gay marriage vids | tolerance v. acceptance | CatholicVote | tobacco advertising

Read Ch.s 4 & 5, The Age of the Image | Going viral, twice

Safari #7 due Wednesday: Half the class bring in an ad with stereotype; half bring in one showing or using a counter-stereotype, with a paragraph or two explaining.

Blog comment due Friday: Respond to the 'What's college for?' post.

Week 9: March 6

Visual persuasion, part II: Product Placement & Appropriation

Product placement >> Logorama | 30 Rock strikes again | Starbucks on Best In Show

Chipotle case study | Scarecrow Ad | Funny or Die critique

Mazda ad with Mia Hamm | Dissolve | iPhone parody | 'Your Life is a Story' (Dulux) | Ad Age's Top 15 campaigns | Ambient advertising | Harvard Law sugar plantation seal

No class March 12-17: Spring Break (woohoo!!)

No class Friday: BC at a conference

Due by classtime, Monday: Take-home midterm answers printed out, stapled, with name and honor pledge/signature.

Blog post due Wednesday: Describe the memory palace you created and how it helped you remember something you otherwise wouldn't have. The prompt is right here on WanderingRocks. Due by classtime.

Week 10: March 20

BC's Prezi down Broad Street (typeface tour)

Typography (.ppt download)

Aritfacts:
Obama & Pepsi | Obama, Change & Gotham | Gotham's print shop |Spirit Airlines (seriously?)

What font are you? (Buzzfeed quiz) | Type sketch on College Humor | Typography Deconstructed | Comic Sans on The Onion Network | Metamorphabet | Why you should care about type (FastCompany) | If typefaces were cats | Designer of Transport typeface on Top Gear | History of Typography (The Atlantic) | Free typefaces at FontSquirrel | The Kerning Game | Typeface for people with dyslexia (and why it matters) | New typeface from Hoefler&Co.: Quarto

Blog post due Wednesday by classtime: Your comments to my post on "brand integration" (product placement). Here's the prompt.

For Wednesday: Read "Man of Letters" article from The New Yorker magazine (quiz probable)

Looking ahead: Choose your favorite school or era of graphic design

Week 11: March 27

Graphic Design | The Six Perspectives

  • Balance
  • Unity
  • Contrast
  • Rhythm
  • CVI
  • Z pattern
  • The Big Idea (metaphor)

Tropicana fiasco, Pepsi bulls--- & Peter Arnell | Coke's David Butler | 'Bringing people together' (Coke image ad)

Due noon Monday: Type safaris

For Wednesday: Read "The Six Perspectives" (emailed out)

Instructions for next Wednesday's group presentations on graphic design eras on Wandering Rocks

Week 12: April 3

Graphic design II

Friday: Graphic design era presentations

Newest coolest thing I've ever seen: Global slave trade in 2 minutes, from Slate.com

History of movie posters | negative space logos | negative space II | title sequences and title screens | great logo examples | Good minimalist logos | Nieman Reports: Visual Journalism | Six creative front pages

For Monday: Read the mini graphic design history (emailed out)

Due for class, Friday:
By groups, briefings on the various design era or school or philosophy

Week 13: April 10

Photography

La Jetée

Funsies: Migrant Woman Revisited | New York Times photo blog |Essay on Photography (.pdf download) | LA County seal ruled unconstitutional | Groundhog Day in Thailand | Photos That Lie

Blog post comment due Wednesday before class: On Wandering Rocks

SAFARI: Bring in a still photo you took of a "broken dream." On back: name, date taken, location; no photoshopping.

For Friday, read: Emmitt Till .pdf (required for admission to the class)

Week 14: April 17

Film, moving images, cinema | The Truman Show and a transition to television

Prelinger Archives (shared cultural consciousness? memory?)

The rhetoric of TV

DUE Monday, April 17 in class:
Midterm #2

Safari due Friday: A photo of the mundane, the ugly or hideous, and the poignant/timeless/poetic, plus an explanation.

Week 15: April 24

DIGITAL

The Future | The Past (Conan)

Read Ch. 6, The Age of the Image

(Last) safari due Monday:One photo to sustain you in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic future. A rebellion against time (Ryan): The future cannot deny the past.

For bigtime brownie points, read: BC's Richard III

If you have time, view:

  • The Truman Show
  • Rear Window
  • Any Seinfeld episode

 

Take-home final exam due TBA: turn in to Dr. Carroll's mail slot or slip under his office door (printed, stapled, with honor pledge >> no honor pledge signature, no grade)

  • Standard take-home final exam booklet
  • Alternate short film version

Examples of alternate (film) responses:

pepp patty

keep your eyes on the prize!

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972)

“It is a paradox of the twentieth century that while visual images have increasingly come to dominate our culture, our colleges and universities traditionally have devoted relatively little attention to visual media.” Sturken and Cartwright, Practices of Looking (2001)

Course Description: Study of visual theory, visual literacy and how visual images are used to persuade. Students study and interpret audience-specific visual culture and communication, and the rhetoric of visual materials.

Course Purpose & Objectives: By the end of this course, my goal is for students to --  

  • Better understand how images and their viewers make and communicate meaning.
  • Know how to study and decipher images for their textual meanings by applying methods of interpretation. (Object of focus: images.)
  • Examine modes of responding to visuality, or the practices of seeing or looking. (Object of focus: viewer/reader/audience.)
  • Explore the roles images play in culture and how those roles change as the images move, circulate, become appropriated and cross cultures.
  • Likewise, explore how cultural influences determine the type of visual messages used and how they are interpreted.
  • Learn a grammar and ethics of seeing and of producing visual messages.

What you will need (required):

  • The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Akron (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013)
  • Access to a digital camera (model, sophistication not factors, and don't buy one just for class; you can borrow one

What you may want (recommended but not required):

  • Visual Communication, Paul Martin Lester (Thomson), fifth edition
  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger (Penguin)
  • The Image, Dan Boorstin (Vintage)
  • Ourspace, Christine Harold (University of Minnesota)
  • Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis (Wiley)
  • Visual Methodologies, Gillian Rose (Sage)
  • Graphic Communications Today, Ryan and Conover (Thomson)
  • On Photography, Susan Sontag (Picador)
  • Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright (Oxford)

Stuff you need to know:

Professor: Dr. Brian Carroll
Office: Laughlin Hall 100
Office phone: 368.6944
E-mail: bc@berry.edu
Home page: www.cubanxgiants.com
Blog: Wandering Rocks


Office hours: MWF 10-noon; T/R 2-4pm or by appointment or just drop by any time

Policies

• Attendance: Attendance is a part of your grade. Be here every day on time, just as you would for a job, surgery or even a haircut. Everyone gets one unexcused absence >> no questions asked. Stuff happens. After that, unexcused absences will result in deductions from the "professionalism and participation" portion of your grade -- one point for each unexcused absence and/or lateness to class. What is excused is at the instructor's discretion, so you are best served by discussing situations and extraordinary circumstances prior to class whenever possible.

• Distractions: This instructor is easily distracted. Ringing cell phones, therefore, will be lobbed out of the classroom window and/or run over with a truck. Chatter during lecture will result in "professionalism and participation" point deductions, as will Facebooking, texting or any other Internet use during lecture or topic presentations, particularly after a warning has been issued. Do homework for other classes somewhere else. If you have to arrive late or leave early, clear it with the instructor beforehand whenever possible.

• Preparation: Complete the assignments and be ready to tackle the activities of the day. Be ready to discuss and debate ideas, approaches and opinions.

• Deadlines: When an in-class/in-lab assignment is due, it is due. This reflects the reality of many mass communication professions and work environments. Late in-class assignments will not be accepted unless permission for extension had been granted prior to deadline. Turn in whatever has been done by deadline. If we have out-of-class assignments, they will be accepted for up to one week after deadline, but late assignments will be penalized. Remember, penalized work is not necessarily the same as 0 (zero) points. Complete out-of-class assignments and learn from them, even if they are turned in late. After an assignment is more than a week late, however, that work is not eligible for points.

Please note: If a student misses a class when an assignment is due and that student has a legitimate excuse, the professor will accept the late assignment without penalty at his discretion. The professor defines what constitutes a legitimate excuse and reserves the right not to grant full credit for assignments turned in under these circumstances.

How you will be graded:

Weekly projects & blog posts 15%
Exam I 25%
Exam II 25%
Final exam 25%
Professionalism and participation 10%
Total   
100%

For daily projects and blog posts, grades of check plus, check, check minus, and zero will be awarded. Roughly translated, check plusses = As; checks = Bs; and check minuses = Cs. The wide variability of subjectivity of these daily assignments, such as “bring in three examples of metonymic symbolism,” preclude a more precise grading scheme. The check system also facilitates a faster turnaround time.

To compute your final grade, add up your point totals, apply the appropriate percentages, then refer to the grading system summarized here:

A
93-100
A-
90-92
B+
88-89
B
83-87
B-
80-82
C+
78-79
C
73-77
C-
70-72
D+
68-69
D
60-67
F
59 and below

Definitions of the grades can be found in the Berry College Bulletin. “A” students will demonstrate an outstanding mastery of course material and will perform far above that required for credit in the course and far above that usually seen in the course. The “A” grade should be awarded sparingly and should identify student performance that is relatively unusual in the course.

Berry Viking code
Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the college’s life and work. The code is not just policy, it is foundational to the academic environment we enjoy and in which scholarship thrives. It is in force in this classroom.

For the complete Viking Code, please consult the student handbook. In short, each student is “expected to recognize constituted authority, to abide by the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others.” The College’s mission, in part, commits to a community of integrity and justice. During an era when ethics are sometimes suspect, there seems no higher goal toward which students ought to strive than that of personal honor.

Students with special needs
If you have special needs of any kind, including learning disabilities, please let me know. Come discuss it with me. I want to make sure on the front end that we prevent any problems associated with the course. Martha Van Cise, director of the Academic Support Center, suggests: “Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodation in this course are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Center in Krannert Room 301 as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.”

Finally, I believe we are here for a good time, not a long time, so let’s have some fun!

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