Visual Imagery, Metadata, and Multimodal Literacies Across the Curriculum

Anita August's picture
Call for Papers
May 30, 2016
Connecticut, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Composition & Rhetoric, Educational Technology, Political History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Visual Imagery, Metadata, and Multimodal Literacies

                                                       Across the Curriculum                                                          

A book edited by                                                                                                                                             

 Anita August (Sacred Heart University)

In Aristotle’s classical hierarchy of the five human senses, he privileges the visual sense of sight over the non-visual senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Although Western cultures still rank the distance senses of sight and hearing as the “nobler” senses over the “lower” senses of smell, taste, and touch, when contrasting the “higher” senses where Aristotle believed objective and rational thought occurs, “sight” remains the dominant sense. With Western cultures still privileging sight in the Aristotelian hierarchy of the senses, it should come as no surprise that modern visual theorists ponder “If images are life-forms, and objects are the bodies they animate, then media are the habitats or ecosystems in which pictures come alive” (Mitchell 2005). Therefore, as more educators are incorporating visual imagery in their curriculum, it is imperative that students learn how to think clearly and critically about how visual imagery helps to frame information. Furthermore, the skills and literacies needed to analytically engage a visual image in screen-based technologies should be just as commonplace as the skills and literacies used to evaluate written texts.

Visual imagery, then, as “metadata” subsidizes our representations and interpretations of the world(s) we inhabit in our modern culture of technology given “there is no limit to the ways in which the world can be interpreted” (Nietzsche 1967).  As metadata, that is “data about data or information about information” (NISO Press 2014), visual imagery interconnects knowledge(s) across epistemic spaces and therefore is neither subjective nor apolitical. In some cases, when used as metadata at strategic moments, visual imagery is overtly disruptive, political, or restorative. How to teach students to discern the rhetorical borders between each discourse is still a key challenge for educators across the disciplines.

Therefore, Western visual culture is a dynamic and dramatic space to explore, and with critical rigor, how images animated by a visual epistemology increase their persuasive power(s) in screen-based technologies. This is important as more and more composition assignments are multimodal and use visual imagery rather than alphabetic text to illuminate meaning making.  “To be responsible teachers,” argues Anne Wysocki, “we need to help our students learn how different choices in visual arrangement in all texts encourage different kinds of meaning making” (2003, p.186). Despite Wysocki’s encouragement to teach students how to critically engage and process visual imagery, pedagogical guidelines for improving the literacy of visual imagery remain static.

The focus of this book is to provide academics and researchers across the disciplines with the knowledge they need to develop and improve their skills and literacies in visual imagery as a core component in their instruction. A further aim is to examine the theoretical, historical, conceptual, and pedagogical nature of visual imagery as a significant referential purview for meaning making.

 Objective of the Book                                                                                                                                                    The primary task of this book is to propose the need for new rhetorical, social, theorectical, and cognitive strategies to which visual imagery could contribute as a meaning-making system to new literacies in screen-based technologies. Furthermore, this book does not wish to sever the ties of visual imagery with the other multimodal literacies such as alphabetic text, video, sound etc., the key aim of this book is to illuminate the discursive and rhetorical power of visual imagery as an epistemology. In short, this book will demonstrate that visual imagery as a “cultural shifts” (Selfe 2007) provides a rhetorical and parallel telling of any story, act, or action and argue that “People need to be literate in new semiotic domains” (Gee 2003). Ultimately, then, this book will underline the fundamental value in developing visual imagery as metadata in the writing classroom and as a central and active component of student learning. As a social and cognitive meaning making semiotic system, visual imagery as metadata traffics as an epistemology across multiple semiotic domains in screen-based technologies. While many students see the visible role of visual imagery in screen-based technologies, they often are unaware of the invisible social, cognitive, and epistemological function of visual imagery as a constituting force in their lives. This book, then, I argue, will help college level researchers and academics across the disciplines to improve their visual imagery competency given the use of visual imagery is now a core component of classroom practices across the disciplines.

Target Audience
The target audience of this book will be academics and researchers in multiple disciplines who are increasingly relying on visual imagery as the primary referential source for meaning-making. Moreover, the book will be a reference for learning and improving the critical thinking process when viewing images as metadata.

Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How does visual imagery transform student learning and engagement in multimodal assignments?
  • How is visual imagery used as information about information or “metadata” in screen-based technologies?
  • What visual imagery literacies and skills are needed as core competencies in the classroom?
  • How is a visual epistemology constructed in multimodal composing?
  • How can visual imagery be used for racially inclusive purposes?
  • How is visual imagery used as an interface to frame knowledge?
  • How is visual imagery a mechanism for transferring knowledge?
  • How is visual imagery used as metadata to be more inclusive of LBGTQ students?
  • How can visual imagery be used to promote civic learning?
  • How do religious groups use imagery to embody their ideology? 
  • How is data information designed for visualization in story?
  • How does visual imagery in popular courtroom cases (i.e. the glove in the O. J. Simpson trial and the can of coke in the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991) gain their evidentiary value?
  • How are images of battlefields used rhetorically as cause or stimulus for a warrior ethos?
  • What are some best classroom practices using visual imagery?
  • How do historical monuments and landmarks enable viewers to rhetorically engage their ethos by guiding the viewer’s visualizing?
  • How is visual imagery used to define, shape, and characterize women in professions where they are underrepresented for transformation?
  • How is visual Imagery overtly disruptive, political, or restorative?
  • How is visual imagery used to develop critical thinking skills?
  • How is visual imagery used as a political strategy to suggest an organization’s ethos?
  • How is visual imagery used in popular films to mainstream porn?
  • How is visual imagery used as an instrument by dominant groups to culturally imperialize and oppress marginalized groups?

Submission Procedure
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before May 30, 2016, a chapter proposal of 1,000 to 2,000 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors will be notified by June 15, 2016 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by September 30, 2016, and all interested authors must consult the guidelines for manuscript submissions at prior to submission. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.

 Submission Procedure for a Chapter                                                                     details/2172                                                                                                                                                                

Important Dates
May 30, 2016: Proposal Submission Deadline
June 15, 2016: Notification of Acceptance
September 30, 2016: Full Chapter Submission
January 15, 2017: Revised Chapter Submission
February 28, 2017: Final Chapter Submission

Inquiries can be forwarded to
Anita August, Ph.D.                                                                                                            
Sacred Heart University                                                                                              
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