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Semiotics of culture

General data

Course ID: 4012-016 Erasmus code / ISCED: 09.3 / (0232) Literature and linguistics
Course title: Semiotics of culture Name in Polish: Semiotyka kultury
Organizational unit: College of Inter-area Individual Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Course groups: Elective courses
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: Polish
Type of course:

elective courses

Short description:

The application of semiotic methodology in its modified present-day form in studies on ancient and contemporary culture, its usefulness in ethnography, history, literary studies, photography and film studies.

Full description:

“Semiotics is not so much a separate discipline as a set of auxiliary analysis techniques used by researchers of various fields, especially cultures, rich in signs, full of meanings for people”.

Stefan Żółkiewski

The seminar whose motto is quoted above is addressed to those interested in the theory of literature and culture, ethnography, mass culture, and primarily to those planning to write a master’s thesis in one of these fields. We will trace the evolution of structural and semiotic studies, discuss their limitations, development directions, we will compare them with concepts and methodologies that emerged later, check their interpretative usefulness. The program includes discussions on the texts of Barthes, Lotman, Uspensky, Meletinsky, Eco and others.

The seminar aims to familiarize students with different possibilities of describing heterogeneous phenomena in culture of the past and today.

Framework syllabus:

1. Semiotics of culture, semiotics of art – traditions, history, representatives. Semiotics versus semiology.

2. Basic concepts: signs and their types. De Saussure and Pierce as founders of the 20th-century study of signs.

3. Language sign and iconic sign. Typology of signs, principles of classification. Icons, indexes, symbols.

4. A sign according to the Tartu-Moscow school. Signs of language and signs in art. The arbitrariness and motivation of signs depending on the type of communication.

5. Basic concepts of semiotics of art: message, statement, system, code, communication, text, discourse, culture.

6. Text as a category of describing phenomena of culture expressed in diverse semiotic material. The concept of a frame and point of view.

7. Evolution of the understanding of culture in the Tartu-Moscow school; culture as a set of texts or rules, culture as a non-inherited social memory.

8. Semiotics of folklore. Basic indicators of folklore texts.

9. Myths as a way of thinking and understanding the world (Freidenberg)

10. Myths as the language of proper names (Uspensky, Lotman).

11. Myths as narrative (Meletinsky, Eliade).

12. The poetics of myths and their role in today’s culture and art (literature, film, theatre in the 20th century).

13. Semiotics and history, or the semiotics of history.

14. History as a series of events and history as a narrative.

15. Semiotics of film.

16. Semiotics of mass culture.

17. Semiological aspects of photography and iconic representations. Photographs as a semiotic message. The modelling function of titles.

18. New communication channels versus the future of books.

Bibliography:

Barthes R., Światło obrazu. Uwagi o fotografii. Warszawa 1995.

Barthes R.., Dyskurs historii. Pamiętnik Literacki 1984, z. 3.

Bogatyriew P., Semiotyka kultury ludowej. Warszawa 1978. Tu rozprawy:

Przyczynek do etnografii strukturalnej

Znaki teatralne

Folklor jako swoista forma twórczości

O wzajemnych związkach dwóch bliskich systemów semiotycznych

Pisanie miasta, czytanie miasta. Pod red. A. Zeidler-Janiszewskiej. Poznań 1997

Eco U., Superman w literaturze masowej. Warszawa 1998

Eco, U Nowe środki masowego przekazu a przyszłość książki. Warszawa 1996.

Frejdenberg O., Metafora (maszynopis powielony lub „Pamiętnik Literacki 1983, z.2) oraz O. Frejdenberg, O., Mif i lieratura drevnosti. Moskwa 1978, recenzja „Pamiętnik Literacki” 1981, z. 2.

Jakobson R., W poszukiwaniu istoty języka Wybór pism. Redakcja naukowa i wstęp M.R. Mayenowa Warszawa 1989, t. 1, t. 2. Tu rozprawy:

Język a inne systemy komunikacji

Kilka uwag o Peirce’ie poszukiwaczu dróg w nauce o języku

Metajęzyk jako problem językoznawczy

Semiotyka

Łotman J., O modelującym znaczeniu „końca” i „początku” W: Semiotyka kultury. Wybór i opracowanie E. Janus, M. R. Mayenowa. Warszawa 1977.

Łotman J., O semiotyce pojęć „wstyd” i „strach” w mechanizmie kultury. W: Semiotyka kultury. Wybór i opracowanie E. Janus, M. R. Mayenowa. Warszawa 1977.

Łotman J., Semiotyka filmu. Warszawa 1983.

Łotman J., Uspieński B., O semiotycznym mechanizmie kultury

Łotman, J. O znaczeniach we wtórnych systemach modelujących. „Pamiętnik Literacki” 1969, z. 1.

Mieletinski E., Poetyka mitu. Warszawa 1981.

Semiotyka kultury. Wybór i opracowanie E. Janus, M. R. Mayenowa. Warszawa 1977.

Toporow W., Miasto i mit Gdańsk 2000.

Uspieński B., Historia i semiotyka. Gdańsk 1998.

Uspieński B., O systemie przekazu obrazu w rosyjskim malarstwie ikon

Uspieński B., Strukturalna wspólnota rożnych rodzajów sztuki.

Wallace P., Psychologia Internetu. Poznań 2001.

White H., Poetyka pisarstwa historycznego. Kraków 1999.

Zalizniak A, Iwanow W., Toporow W., O możliwościach strukturalno-typologicznych badań semiotycznych. W: Semiotyka kultury. Wybór i opracowanie E. Janus, M. R. Mayenowa.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completing the course students should:

- be able to apply the main categories used to describe culture, such as text, signs, and be familiar with 20th-century concepts of culture

- be able to interpret cultural events, early and contemporary texts in semiotic terms

- be able to use semiotic methodology as an interpretation tool

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Continuous assessment (being prepared for class and active participation) 20%

Final oral test or oral exam 30%

Paper on one of the course topics 50%

This course is not currently offered.
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