Integral captions and subtitles. Designing a space for embodied rhetorics and visual access
Year of publication
This dissertation challenges the conventions of adding static captions to the bottom of videos and instead advocates for designing integral captions and integral subtitles that interact with bodies, sound, and other modes around the screen. I use this dissertation to argue that integral captions create a space for embodied rhetorics (the ways that we make meaning through our bodies) and visual access to multimodal communication (how sound, visuals, signs, and other modes interact within the space of the screen). In contrast to conventional captions and subtitles that are placed at the bottom of the screen and that can be turned on and off, I define integral captions and subtitles as those that are designed to be essential elements of a video in coordination with sound, meaning, and other modes of communication. I address this dissertation directly to scholars, instructors, and practitioners in rhetoric and composition, professional communication, and related disciplines who could integrate captions and subtitles to make meaning more informative, engaging, and visually accessible for students, colleagues, and viewers. I first establish my embodied multimodal approach, which recognizes the interconnections between embodied modes of communication in integrally captioned videos, and the five criteria I developed for differentiating integral captions from conventional captions. I first establish my embodied multimodal approach, which recognizes the interconnections between embodied modes of communication in integrally captioned videos, and the five criteria I developed for differentiating integral captions from conventional captions. I analyze how the architectural principles of analyze how the architectural principles of Deaf Space (which designs a space for Deaf values and embodied communication) can be applied to integral captions and subtitles that benefit Deaf and hearing viewers. I analyze the integration of captions and subtitles in certain media and language learning programs, present my own integrally subtitled video presentation, and share students’ embodied responses to integrating captions in my composition pedagogy. My discussion encourages us all to design integral captions that embody the multiple ways that we communicate meaning through images, words, and thoughts in interaction.