ENC 1145: Writing about the (Visual) Rhetoric of American Advertising (Fall 2021)
Instructor: Alexander Slotkin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Student: Estefania Alfonso (email@example.com)
This course explores different key concepts in composition studies—namely, how writing involves or invokes rhetorical situations, genres, and audiences—through the visual rhetoric of American advertising, with a specific focus on how gender, sex, and race is historically composed in these multimodal image-texts. Students enrolled in this course completed a variety of analytical papers (i.e., a rhetorical, genre, and semiotic/audience analysis) on American advertisements that derive meaning from the dynamic interplay between language, imagery, and medium. At the end of the semester, students were tasked with creating their own image-texts, accompanied by research papers that explained their rhetorical design choices. Submitted here for your consideration is one of these image-texts: a digital advertisement for a mobile game called “Amity Teen” by Estefania Alfonso, as well as Estefania’s earlier visual drafts.
For this assignment, students like Estefania needed to create an advertisement for a real or imaginary product or movement, define its rhetorical situation (i.e., its topic, purpose, author, audience, and context), and explain how their multimodal design choices synergize with their rhetorical situation while also drawing on scholarly sources to support or explain their decisions. In short, by drawing on their understanding of how writing functions in rhetorical situations, how genre guides and confines writing, how writing invokes audiences, and how “the medium is the message” (McLuhan 1), students thought deeply about who their communities are as well as how they might reach them in meaningful ways through writing and design.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McGraw-Hill, 1964.