Saturday, July 15, 2006

Semiotics Syllabus/Course Plan


Christ College, Bangalore 560029


Course convenor: Dr. William R. Da Silva

Course co-ordinator:Anil Pinto

60 hours, weekly 2.5 hours

3 credits

Time: Thursdays, 16-18.30

Place: Room No. 109, Main Block

Minimum: 10


This course will be useful for all working in communication, theatre and media studies; language, literature and media. In media it will be useful for analysis of subtexts, myths and ideologies in communication (ads, films, photo-magazines, television, internet etc.)


01. What is semiotics or semiology? The transition: comparative philology to semiology; philosophy of language and historical and social linguistics to linguistics.

02. Ferdinand de Saussure: Semiology; sign, system, structure; the science of the system of signs in society (semiologie).

03. Charles S. Peirce: Philosophy of sign; communicative sign; index, icon and symbol; unlimited semiosis.

04. Claude Levi-Strauss: Structuralism and cultural anthropology (Structural linguistics, Marxism and psychoanalysis).

05. Vladimir V. Propp: Functional semiotics or morphology of a folktale.

06. Roman Jakobson: Structuralism and models of communication.

07. Structural linguistics: Robert Gleason, Noam A. Chomsky.

08. Marxism and Structuralism: Louis Althusser.

09. Structuralism and Psychoanalysis: Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault.

10. Post-structuralism: Roland Barthes; post-modernism: Jean Beaudrillard.

11. Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida.

12. Philosophy of semiotics: Umberto Eco.


Applied semiotics: (structuralism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, deconstruction) language, discourse, oral and literary narratives; folk rituals, religious and political-cultural rituals, theatre and other performances; advertisements, illustrated magazines, photo printing, films, television, Internet.

Every participant in the Course is required to apply the semiotics method (alone or in combination with other methods, explained above, or with post-modernism of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean Beaudrillard) to any area of communication and media and prepare a research paper of 8-10 (A4 size) pages in three stages: research proposal, first draft and final paper.


Daniel Chandler, Semiotics for Beginners, London: Routledge, 1995. (The book is available online with rich hypertext references, and may be downloaded. This text will be made available to participants in the college on CD as desired). A paperback edition too is available with Routledge, London. (In India agents in Chennai; in Bangalore: Foundation Books.)

Chandler has an exhaustive bibliography on semiotics and related topics. Other books will be introduced in the active sessions of the course.