Anthropology 430

Signs

Full course for one semester. This course is a critical introduction to anthropological analysis of sign systems. We begin with a close examination of the power and limits of the basic idea of anthropological structuralism, as fashioned by Lévi-Strauss in an attempted adaptation of breakthroughs in phonology to the study of cultural process at large: the idea that the significance of a sign rests in its positional value within a system of other elements. We then examine some alternative or complementary approaches to signs, which are all broadly "pragmatic"; in the sense that they focus more squarely on problems in the relation between sign systems and sign use. Prerequisite: Anthropology 211 or 311 or Linguistics 311. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.



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