Visual Argument Assignment

Draft: Monday, 21 February
Final draft, with self-reflexive essay: Monday, 28 February

For this assignment, I want you to create a poster that makes a visual argument about a controversial issue. This poster should be aimed toward a campus audience, and it should be suitable for hanging in locations on campus. The topic it addresses should be an issue that is both timely and relevant to the audience that you are addressing. Although I want your topic to be a controversial one, I also want it to be an issue that there is something left to say about to your audience, and one that there is a decent chance of you succeeding in changing your audience's attitude about. This means that you should avoid polarizing topics that have been well covered (such as religion, euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, etc.), since most discourse on these topics is rarely productive. Don't let this sway you from taking on ambitious projects that might lead to useful forms of advocacy concerning the issue you have taken on—just make sure that there is at least some room for success.

Although you are allowed to use words to flesh out your argument, the primary mode that your poster should use is the visual. I want you to use the visual as more than just an attention-getting device, or as a mere illustrations to another argument. What I want to see are more powerful images—images that are more or less stand-alone arguments, or that segue smoothly into compelling textual arguments and buttress them throughout. I've outlined the evaluation criteria for the final draft more thoroughly here.

On Monday, bring in a full-color mock-up of your final poster. These mock-ups should be no larger than 8.5" x 11" (a single sheet of letter-sized paper).