Visual Textual Analysis What is Visual Textual Analysis? ~A method for interroga


Visual Textual AnalysisWhat is Visual Textual Analysis?~A method for interrogating cultural artifacts to gain access to underlying possibilities for meaning production and representations of power structures related to hegemony and more specifically, critical issues concerning gender, race, class, and identity.~All types of textual analysis do not assume a supreme truth or knowledge. Instead, they focus on interpretations and recognize that multiple interpretations are valuable.~It’s a favored method for Critical Cultural Studies Scholars, Literary Critics, & Popular Culture Scholars.Where does it come from?~It is a combination of terms that denote specific intellectual/methodological traditions.~Textual Analysis can be rooted in two basic schools of thought:(Mass) Communication: Insists that multiple factors (channels) are accounted for during analysis. Uses the “circuit of culture” to explore representation, identity, production, consumption, and regulation of an artifact.Literary Criticism: Breaks into two basic schools of thought. New Criticism or Formalist Criticism maintains that all of the “information” required for analysis is within the text. The form of the text (meter, rhyme, metaphor, plot devices, etc.) dictates how successful a piece is and how its meaning is made and understood. See J. Evans Pritchard (“I don’t hear enough rip!”) for further examples. Post-Structural or what I’ll call “Burkean” Analysis maintains that the critic’s positionality, author’s manipulation of the text, and the reader’s psychology inform the success of the text. These factors inform the meaning making process. Additionally, this often includes intellectual/philosophic traditions like semiotics, psychoanalysis, hermaneutics, and phenomenology. See Kenneth Burke’s (“We are symbol-using and mis-using animals”) Counter-Statement for further examples.Regardless of the tradition with which a critic aligns herself, the end goal is to determine what is happening under the text, below the narrative, that tells us about meaning making and how representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. are functioning to teach us about our world.So what does Visuality have to do with it?~There are formal, structural terms for different portions of visual cultural “real time,” images, and moving images. Our eyes and process this information, typically in the “background” of our consciousness.~Analysis is a crucial skill in understanding and discerning meanings in the visual world. It’s up to us to build these skills, like working out to achieve stamina, muscles, and abilities, so that we can be better participants in culture.~As critics we use both the structural terms and the critical theory to examine visual culture. This gives us a way to produce knowledge about how are world functions and the impact of visual texts on culture and communities.Ok, great. So, how do I do it?~This is the difficult part. Alan McKee notes that general textual analysis is “intuitive” (1). You just do it, largely because it’s about an individual interpretation which is based on not only scholarship but general knowledge and cultural savviness—or the ability to “read” signs and interpret their meanings through intertextuality.The Steps1. Choose an artifact/text2. Ask a series of research questions3. Review the text4. Interpret the text5. Support the interpretation with relevant literature6. Draw conclusions about the “validity” of the interpretationOk, so now what?~Let’s do some analysis together! Below is our text. It’s an anti-suffrage cartoon from 1902.So, I’ve chosen our artifact. That’s step one done! Now, we must ask some questions, because there must be some reason we want to analyze this text.What does this cartoon, now 110 years old, reveal about conceptions of gender roles during the suffrage movement? Are the conclusions the same or similar if we consider the text for today? Step two ticked. Now, what do we see, or what is the story this cartoon tells? This is how we review a piece, which is step three. We watch it, consider it, and think about what is happening at first glance before we begin to interpret the text for the deeper meanings. Now that we think we know the story, let’s interpret it. Use the story as the jumping point, and then extract the finer details that help answer the research questions. Let’s do step four as a class.Alright, now that we’ve interpreted the text, how do our interpretations stack up to what other people are saying about this piece? Step five can be really messy, and it sometimes slides out of place. Sometimes we read what other people have to say about a different artifact and think, “hey! I see the same thing happening in X!” Remember: There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this method if we consider it intuitive. The American Suffrage Movement is well documented by scholars both in terms of pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage supporters. Anti-suffragists were concerned that allowing women the vote would lead to the moral degradation of the home and society in general. Suffrage was often depicted as a treasonous offense. More so, anti-suffragists feared a complete role reversal that would remove basic hegemonic privileges. Essentially, women would become men and men would be relegated to the homestead. Clearly this is a quick and dirty comparison, but I’ll bet it rings close to our interpretations. How do our interpretations stack up with this? And finally, step six, can we agree that our interpretations of this text are valid and potentially illuminate women’s lived experiences? If our interpretations are aligned with the scholarship, have we contributed to the larger body of knowledge? And, most importantly, does it meet criteria for visual textual analysis by producing a feminist agenda? It sure does! Way to go!https://www.si.edu/object/assault-fort-sanders%3Anmah_324936?destination=collection/search%3Fedan_q%3D%252A%253A%252A%26edan_fq%255B0%255D%3Dobject_type%253A%2522Chromolithographs%2522Part Two: You will also need to apply some relevant scholarship to your image. For this assignment, your research need not be academic in its origin. Popular periodicals can work well (e.g. Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal) for this. It’s not enough to regurgitate the observations made in the research (e.g. Jane Smith says “that Nighthawks represents X and Y.”). You need to take those observations and show how you See them in your image AND how that connects to your larger questions.This research will help you create a 3-4 page document that details each step of your analytical thought process. You need a correct APA reference page, which includes the reference for your image. (ProTip: Use the software Zotero to help you collect, organize, and cite your research.)In the introduction, posit your research questions. In the first paragraph or two,Com232 4 Fall 202112provide a quick description of the image and some historical background for it (Who created it? When? What is its relevance? Where is it housed? Why did you select it?).In the body, unpack your observations using your Review and Analysis steps, as well as the research you conducted. What kind of subtextual meanings do you get when you put each of those things together? When completing this, think of it as a three-step part. Step 1: select a detail Step 2: analyze the detail with specific observations of the evidence in the image [Show me, Don’t tell me] Step 3: apply the scholarship (BE SURE TO USE IN TEXT REFERENCES!) and create a solid claim about the validity of the subtext you’ve described. (ProTip: Think of this like having a heated debate with someone. You should use your image as the proof in such a way as though you’re saying, “don’t just take my word for it, it’s right there in the painting in X, Y, and Zed details through their [color, positioning, size]”).In the conclusion, revisit your questions. How have you addressed them in the body and what are your findings? Are your claims valid and do they merit further examination?This document will be uploaded to Blackboard and added to the TurnItIn repository for plagiarism checking.