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MLI345_1

Reading Verbal and Visual Signs

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.


The course combines the study of verbal and visual signs from both linguistic and literary/cultural perspectives. The first part of the course focuses on the pragmatics and semantics of verbal and visual signs and on the 'gammar' grammar of images, as well as on the interaction between material/medium, function and form in verbal and visual texts. The second part of the course focuses on the development of skills for examining and challenging the attitudes, values and beliefs conveyed by the verbal and visual elements of a text.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:
The students will gain knowledge of:
  • the structure, functions and uses of verbal and visual signs
  • pictograms, proto-writing and different kinds of writing system.
  • the ways in which meaning is produced through a combination of verbal and non-verbal elements
  • the interaction of material/medium, function and form in texts
  • critical literacy as a method for analyzing and understanding multimodal texts
  • visual literacy as a set of skills for interpreting images
  • theories of language, identity and power

Skills:
By the end of the course, the students will be able to:
  • define and describe verbal and visual signs
  • relate the use of visual elements to the medium, context and function of a text
  • apply a range of descriptive and critical tools to the analysis of visual elements
  • examine and challenge the attitudes, values and beliefs conveyed by visual elements in a text
  • decode, interpret and interrogate visual signs
  • critically discuss issues of positioning, power, diversity and access that underlie all text

General competence:
By the end of the course, the students will be able to:
  • relate different uses of visual elements to changing media and functions
  • critically discuss the attitudes, values and beliefs conveyed by a text
  • apply theories from critical and visual literacy to analyze verbal and visual elements of texts

Contents

The first part of the course focuses on the pragmatics and 'grammar' of visual signs and their interaction with verbal signs in texts. It examines the structure, functions and uses of verbal and visual signs, including images, pictograms and writing, and the ways in which they combine to make meaning. Approaches from material philology and pragmatics are applied to a holistic study of written texts from different historical periods and representing different media.
The second part of the course will develop skills for decoding, interpreting and interrogating verbal and visual signs in texts through the methods of critical literacy. Analysis will be grounded in theories of language, identity and power.

Required prerequisite knowledge

The general requirements for admission to the MLI program: a completed BA degree or equivalent, with a major in English (including both linguistic and literary elements). Other subject combinations may be considered equivalent and have to be approved by the MLI teaching staff.

Exam

Text Analysis in Linguistics, Literature and Culture
Weight Duration Marks Aid
Home exam 11/21 weekA - FAll.
Home exam 21/21 weekA - FAll.
Two home exams on minimum 2500 words including both theoretical questions and hands-on analysis of images.
In the assesment, English language and academic writing skills will be taken into consideration in addition to the course content.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory seminars 75%
75% attendance is mandatory at seminars. Students who are absent from more than 25% of the seminar meetings will not be allowed to sit the exam. The student has to be present for at least 2/3 of the duration of the individual seminar meeting for attendance to be recorded.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Merja Riitta Stenroos , Brita Strand Rangnes
Programme coordinator
Signe Ekenberg
Course teacher
Sonya Louise Lundblad

Method of work

Lectures and / or seminars.

Open to

Literacy Studies - Master's Degree Programme
Literacy Studies - Master's Degree Programme - Part-time

Course assessment

Quality control by students is a central element of the UiS plan to improve teaching. In the Department of Cultural Studies and Languages this system includes student evaluation of courses.

Literature

Aston, Margaret. 1984. "Devotional literacy" in M. Aston, Lollards and Reformers: Images and Literacy in Late Medieval Religion. London. 101-133.
Carroll, Ruth, Matti Peikola, Hanna Salmi, Mari-Liisa Varila, Janne Skaffari and Risto Hiltunen. 2013. "Pragmatics on the Page". European Journal of English Studies 17:1, 54-71.
Clanchy, Michael. 1993. From Memory to Written Record. 2nd edn. Chapter 8: "Hearing and seeing". Oxford: Blackwell. 253-93.
Coulmas, Florian. 1989. The Writing Systems of the World. Chapter 2: "From icon to symbol: the general trend of evolution". Oxford: Blackwell. 17-36.
Driver, Martha and Michael Orr. 2011. "Decorating and illustrating the page" in A. Gillespie and D. Wakelin (eds), The Production of Books in England, 1350-1500. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 104-128.
Kress, Gunther and Theo van Leeuwen. 2006. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. 2nd edn. London: Routledge (Intro + chapters 1, 5-7).
Lowe, Kathryn A. 2013. "Reading the unreadable: lay literacy and negotiation of text in Anglo-Saxon England" in Eric Kwakkel (ed.) Writing in Context: Insular Manuscript Culture 500-1200. Leiden, Netherlands: Leiden University Press. 152-183.
Parkes, Malcolm. 2008. "Layout and presentation of the text" in N. J. Morgan and R.M. Thomson (eds), The Book in Britain. Vol. 2: 1100-1400. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 55-74.
Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright: Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (selected chapters only).
A collection of images and study materials made available electronically during the course. Students should buy Kress and Leeuwen (Reading Images); the other texts will be available in Canvas.
Text for analysis:
Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye (novel)
The reading list is subject to change.


This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 14.09.2019

History