Gary M. Heba

Inventing culture: A rhetoric of social codes

Gary M. Heba

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1992; pp: 226
  • Advisor: Berlin, James
  • Source: DAI-A 53/09, p. 3130, Mar 1993
  • Subjects: Education, Language And Literature (0279); Cinema (0900); Education, Sociology Of (0340)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9301309

Abstract:

    • The dissertation provides a theory and method for teaching cultural critique in composition courses. The purpose of this approach is to provide students with heuristics for interpreting the cultural information they receive from various media sources, such as television and movies. I argue for using such an approach in composition because these sources of information heavily influence the development of students’ social identities, yet students often lack strategies for understanding or critiquing those identities. The heuristics supplied in this project are intended to help students see how their social identities (in terms of race, class, gender and age) are formed by images as well as by words, and that the images function rhetorically as a language of visual codes. I demonstrate how students can use the heuristics to engage in a cultural analysis of the social codes in popular movies. The project is an initial step in a research agenda aimed at understanding the impact of both new and existing media technologies on cultural literacy and writing, and at forming theoretical and practical foundations for the teaching of media literacy in composition courses.