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Reclaiming Experience: The Aesthetic and Multimodal Composition

Computers and Composition Volume 30, Number 2, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Recent scholarship points to the rhetorical role of the aesthetic in multimodal composition and new media contexts. In this article, I examine the aesthetic as a rhetorical concept in writing studies and imagine the ways in which this concept can be useful to teachers of multimodal composition. My treatment of the concept begins with a return to the ancient Greek aisthetikos (relating to perception by the senses) in order to discuss the aesthetic as a meaningful mode of experience. I then review European conceptions of the aesthetic and finally draw from John Dewey and Bruno Latour to help shape this concept into a pragmatic and useful approach that can complement multimodal teaching and learning. The empirical approach I construct adds to an understanding of aesthetic experience with media in order to render more transparent the ways in which an audience creates knowledge—or takes and makes meaning—via the senses. Significantly, this approach to meaning making supports learning in digital environments where students are increasingly asked to both produce and consume media convergent texts that combine multiple modalities including sound, image, and user interaction.


Knight, A. (2013). Reclaiming Experience: The Aesthetic and Multimodal Composition. Computers and Composition, 30(2), 146-155. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 28, 2023 from .

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