Course Journal

The photo that was included as an example is the photo of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima. The photo is a perfect example of the 4 characteristics that are attached to a photo of its genre. The textbook also expands on the choice to use that specific photo saying that “as people in the United States look at this image, they come to a shared vision of who they are and why the nation fought,” (84). The photo unites the county as a whole based on the narrative that the image creates between the audience and the message as a whole.

What is interesting is how photos that are surfacing in this day of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. Individuals have so much freedom to create and share images of all different kinds everyday of their lives. In the public media, there has been a major divide of people based on politics. What was a huge image event locally here to Longwood was the protest at UVA last summer. Many images surfaced from that. Most photos were of the two sides in conflict over their beliefs. The images that depict people trying to come together and end the fighting are not as publicized. While it is important to understand the full scope of the nature of the event, there should be recognition of the positive aspects as well. Which of the images from this event will become iconic photos? In an event so overrun with negativity and hatred, will the few images of love and acceptance to snuffed out? Let’s hope not.

Clergy marching in silent protest through #Charlottesville. #LoveOverFear #PowerOfLove #Nonviolence #Pray4Peace Photo: Steven D,


Feb 14, 2018

This chapter explores the term argument. What is interesting is how several instances of the same word are explored. On page 101, there are three definitions provided:

  • a reasoned discourse that seeks to persuade by presenting support for a position
  • as a thing [argument is] the particular speech act in which one presents a claim and provides sufficient reasons to warrant assent to that claim
  • as a form of interaction, the way in which arguments-as-things and the people using them interact with each other

The chapter states that there are various levels of arguments that they are “interactive.” An example given revolves around the debate of marijuana legalization in the US. That argument has many supporters and opponents who are both essential to the debate. Another aspect of argument is the idea that it is “contingent.” This means that even after careful consideration of all of the information aiding a stance on an issue, such as the marijuana debate, then a decision can be made. What is interesting is the idea that “even when humans believe they possess all possible information, they still lack certainty,” (104).

I think this concept is relevant to any of the political debates going on right now. There is much debate on how women are treated in society. In many cases, women feel as though politicians are trying to tell them what to do with their own bodies. Sexual assault, abortion, and birth control are things that are very real and things that women have to decide on everyday. The argument that took form in a march addressed many other arguments, as well as those, but they were addressed to politicians, who, are most of the time, not women. Men have statistically made the decisions that have affected women. Men have made those decisions based on numbers, opinions, and rumors obtained from other men, and have a lot of the time, denied women the voice to argue their side. Data can be collected, and issues can be debated, but there will never been an entire be all, end all sample collected that will completely justify any decision about the aforementioned issues that women are dealing with today. It’s time the whole ideal of “argument” is brought out of the negative light, and practiced in a more positive way that allows for the growth of society.


March 26, 2018

This chapter is about the relationships between the audience, message, and the rhetor. The term exigence is defined by communication scholar Lloyd Bitzer, as “an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing which is other than it should be,” (227). In other words, the exigence of a rhetorical situation is how the audience actually responds to the situation. The three elements of a rhetorical situation are listed as: exigence, audience, and constraintsThe (rhetorical) audience are just the individuals who are affected by the message and hope to invoke a positive change as a result. The constraints are the parts of the situation because they can influence decisions and actions that are needed to for the exigence to function. These three things must work together in order to have a fully developed message with the audience.

The textbook lists Hurricane Ike in 2008 as the example of an exigence for the people of Texas, specifically that the exigence was “people’s panic, not the storm,” (227). The exigence is what calls for the response from the audience. Depending on where people were living in Texas determined whether or not they were instructed to evacuate or to hunker down and ride out the storm.

Another example would be the recent protests and walkouts in response to multiple school shootings recently. All of the people who are marching are a part of the rhetorical audience because they are doing their part to promote a change in order to stop all of the violence in schools. Their exigence is their choice to protest and demonstrate their desire for a reform in gun laws. There are constraints as well. An example of a constraint in this situation is the legislation in place that, if not ratified, could continue to allow the same types of actions to occur that protesters are trying to stop.

Students across the country are spearheading efforts to pressure lawmakers to enact stricter gun control legislation. (Photo: @ajplus/Twitter) Needville, Texas


April 2, 2018

Chapter nine is about the public and how different ideals are formed depending on how the public sphere is created. The term hybrid publics is “publics that do not choose between civic identity and deliberative politics, but instead recognize that both can exist in a mutually reinforcing relationship,” (272). The example that the textbook uses is the question of the immigration issue. The deliberation of who is and is not an immigrant has resulted in the naming of certain groups of people that has alienated them from others. Counterpublics which are defined as “parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourse to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs,” (273). In other words, a hybrid public and a counterpublics can work together in order to help a group of people define themselves within a set of opinions. A real-world example would be the question of gender equality. While there are certain political rights that all genders want, it is difficult to even get governments to understand that gender itself is a spectrum and not a binary. This means that people would have to rely on counterpublics in order to have their voice heard. Individuals who do not fall within the “accepted” notion of a cisgender man or woman have to fight to even be identified in the way that they would like to be seen. Once those in charge understand who they are making decisions for, it is then up to the counterpublics to enact what political and social rights that people want so they will be equal.