General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Visual Culture And Semiotics. Selected Issues
Language English
Module lecturer dr Katarzyna Machtyl
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant professor
Faculty Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 30


To be announced

Module aim (aims)

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

A good command of the English language on a communicative level is required


Week 1:          Introductory class

Week 2:          Introduction to semiotics; why study semiotics?

Week 3:          What visual culture is?

Week 4:          Visual semiotics and / or art history; Structural and poststructural semiotics applied to an image

Week 5:          Iconic signs – Ch. S. Peirce, Y. Lotman

Week 6:          Visual advertisement - semiotic analysis 

Week 7:          Visual rhetoric – R. Barthes, U. Eco

Week 8:          Globalisation, commercial semiotics and (anti-)consumerism in terms of semiotics

Week 9:          Photographic message: R. Barthes

Week 10:        Semiotics of cinema: Y. Lotman

Week 11:        Semiotics of cinema: R. Barthes

Week 12:        The pictorial turn and semiotics

Week 13:        Do pictures want to be semiotically analyzed? / Students' presentations

Week 14:        Students’ presentations

Week 15:        Students’ presentations

Reading list

Chandler, Semiotics – the basics, 4th edition, Routledge 2022 (or: online edition: D. Chandler, Semiotics for Beginners).

Barthes, The Kitchen of Meaning, in: R. Barthes, The Semiotic Challenge, University of California Press, 1994.

W.J.T. Mitchell, Showing seeing: a critique of visual culture, “Journal of Visual Culture” 2002 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), Vol 1(2): 165-181.

Bal, N. Bryson, Semiotics and Art History, “The Art Bulletin”, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Jun., 1991) (passages).

Rose, Semiology: laying bare the prejudices beneath the smooth surface of the beautiful, in: G. Rose, Visual methodologies. An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, SAGE Publications 2007.

Barthes, The Rhetoric of an Image, in: R. Barthes, Image Music Text, Fontana Press. An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers 1997.

Eco, Towards a Semiological Guerrilla Warfare, 1983, 1976, 1973 by Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri-Bompiani, Sonzogno, Etos S.p.A.; English translation: 1986 by Harcourt, Inc.

Barthes, The Photographic Message, in: R. Barthes, Image Music Text, Fontana Press. An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers 1997.

Lotman, Semiotics of cinema, University of Michigan, cop. 1976 (passages).

Barthes, The Third Meaning. Research notes on some Eisenstein stills, in: R. Barthes, Image Music Text, Fontana Press. An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers 1997.

W.J.T. Mitchell, The Pictorial turn, in: Picture Theory. Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1994.

W.J.T. Mitchell: What do pictures want? The Lives and Loves of Images, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2005 (passages).