UH 201  Semiotic of Communication


Dr. Elliot Gaines, Office: 411 Millett

email: elliot.gaines@wright.edu


Class Meetings: Tues. and Thurs., 10:25-12:05 p.m.   Room 242 Millett


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Semiotics is the study of signs.  A signs is defined as anything that can stand for or represent something.  Semiotics is fundamental to the processes of communication and the production of meaning.  This course provides semiotic theories and practices useful for critical thinking.  Students will develop an understanding of semiotics and its application to the analysis of communication and meaning.


COURSE GOALS:  The goals of the class are to gain a practical understanding of semiotics, improve critical thinking skills, and learn to use semiotics to think logically and to analyze communication, meaning, and culture.



Š        Grading and assignments include readings, class discussions, a test, journals, a midterm paper, a final presentation, attendance and participation.  All assignments are due in class on designated dates.  Do not try to deliver assignments late or early through email or by slipping papers under the instructor’s office door, please. No alternatives will be accepted unless approved by the instructor.




Critical thinking and presenting a well developed analytical interpretation.

Writing: clarity, organization, content, grammar and punctuation, MLA or APA citation style.

All written assignments MUST be typed or printed, not hand written.

Assignments must be submitted on time.  Assignments will be collected in class on the due date.  Late papers will not be accepted.



Test      20 points

Journal assignments   20 points

Midterm paper              20 points

Final presentation        20 points

Attendance and participation 20 points


Course Schedule, Spring 2006

(Subject to change as the quarter progresses).

DATE                                   Activity


Week 1. March 28.            Syllabus Introduction to the class.  Why Semiotics? What is a sign?

    March 30.           Basics: putting theory into practice.   Before class, be sure to read

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics

and from Chandler, Semiotics for Beginners; Glossary of Key Terms http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem-gloss.html


Week 2.  April 4.         The SIGN: Before class, be sure to read

from  Semiotics for Beginners by Daniel Chandler: Introduction



 April 6.         Peirce video.   If you have a high speed connection, view Elliot Gaines' movie about SEMIOTICS before class:  "Charles Sanders Peirce: Semiotics And The Logic Of Pragmatism"

Week 3. April 11.        Before class, be sure to read “What is a Sign”

from   http://www.iupui.edu/~peirce/ep/ep2/ep2book/ch02/ep2ch2.htm

and Semiotics Strengths  from    http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem10.html


 April 13.        Semiotic Terms and Analysis TEST 


Week 4. April 18.        Review Test.   Midterm paper discussed (Due April 27).

 April 20.         Before class, be sure to read Chandler: Signs http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem02.html


Week 5. April 25.       Papers and presentations discussed.  Be prepared to discuss your midterm project paper.  Before class, be sure to read from the link on Elliot Gaines’ homepage, “Peirce and the Necessary Ambiguity of Communication”

 April 27.     MIDTERM PROJECT due: (maximum) three page paper.  Describe a significant communicative event, and then provide a semiotic analysis.  Choose a topic that will have significance to your audience with some material form of evidence.    A second version of the paper will also be prepared as five-minute presentation.                                  

Week 6.  May 2.      Who am I as a SIGN?  Identity discussed.

    May 4.        Papers and presentations discussed.  Be prepared to discuss your presentation.

Week 7.  May 9.        Presentations discussed.

    May 11.      Presentations

Week 8. May 16.      Presentations

    May 18.        Presentations  

Week 9.  May 23.     Presentations                   

     May 25.     Presentations                       

Week 10. May 30.     Presentations                       

      June 1.      Presentations