Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture
Special Issue-Visual Rhetoric (Spring 2001)
Guest Editors: David Blakesley, Purdue University;
Collin Brooke, Old Dominion University
Managing Editors: Byron Hawk, James Madison University; Dave Rieder, University of Texas at Arlington
While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a word may be worth a thousand pictures, too. How can this be? The problem posed by this special issue of Enculturation is much like the one that W. J. T. Mitchell envisioned for his own critical project years ago: "What is an image? How is it different from a text? Why do these questions--and the answers to them--make a difference, not only to our understanding of literature and the arts, but to the whole fabric of human signification, and the ethical and political cultures that are mediated by it?" ("The Last Formalist, or W. J. T. Mitchell as Romantic Dinosaur," An Interview with Orrin N. C. Wang, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/mitchell/interview/mitch-interview.html). We believe that the problem now before us has become even more perplexing as the text|image distinction collapses under the weight of not only the theoretical scrutiny of people like Mitchell, Jean Baudrillard, and James Elkins, among others, but also the dissemination of the word, the interanimation of the image and the word in the life of the Internet, with its phantastic mixture of permanence and change, seeing and seen, surface and depth. Ours is a world in which to see is to be, and to be seen, or in which believing is seeing.
As Kenneth Burke put it long ago, "A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing--a focus on object A involves a neglect of object B." Words are ways of seeing, of course, so our attempts to explain or reanimate our world symbolically are ways of re-imagining the bases for identification, division, and belief, which is why the rhetorical entails the visual at the scene of contact, where our terminologies may foster blindness or insight, love or war, truth or lies, being or nothingness. We thus hope that this issue of Enculturation both helps us understand the ways in which the visual functions rhetorically, as well as answer the broader question of how and why the rhetorical turn has become so thoroughly visual.
We value the performative aspect of the visual, so we encourage visual artists, photographers, poets, and graphic designers to focus their (and our) attention on these issues or to submit potential interface designs. We also encourage prospective authors and artists to capitalize on the possibilities afforded by electronic publication, so verbal and visual hypertexts, exhibitions, film, or other hybrid media are acceptable formats for submission.
Inquiries and submissions should be directed to either of the two guest editors: David Blakesley, Department of English, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47909; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: 765.494.3780; phone: 765.494.3772; or Collin Brooke, Department of English, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529; email: email@example.com; phone: 757.683.3982.
The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2000.
Enculturation is on the web at http://www.uta.edu/huma/enculturation/.
* the visual turn
* visual arts (painting, cinema, video, photography)
* the gaze
* surveillance, panopticon
* picture theories, iconologies (Mitchell)
* in/visibility (Hollow Man)
* aesthetics of dis/appearance
* transparency of evil
* interface criticism
* the "fourth wall"
* visual semiotics
* society of the spectacle
* simulation and simulacra
* xerox culture/culture of the copy
* information visualization
* camera lucida/obscura
* visual poetry/poetics
* formulations of the visual in rhetorical and critical theory
Department of English
West Lafayette, IN 47909
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