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Teaching​ ​Semiotics​ ​In Interdisciplinary​ ​Contexts

Having emerged on the crossroads of philosophy, linguistics, logics, and other sciences, survived several “births” (Antiquity, the Modern Era, early XX century, and the second half of the XXth century), semiotics, however, was institutionalised only in the 60s of the XX century. Today “the science of signs” occupies a prominent place in the methodology of the humanities, especially in the media and communication studies, its conceptual instruments are used in social sciences, humanities and visual arts. Moreover, to a certain extent semiotics has become the language of the modern Theory: its “traces” are disseminated in various traditions and discourses. But how this knowledge is appropriated? To what extent semiotics can be considered a “knowledge”? What traditions (Peirce vs Saussure, but not limited to) appeared to be in demand in the universities of the Eastern and Western Europe? To what extent semiotics is compelling in the process of media literacy and critical thinking formation? Does it “go out to the streets” and how it is applied in a non-university contexts? At the same time the process of the institutionalisation of semiotics in the universities is also far from straightforward. Semiotics didactics is still an underdeveloped field that is situated in-between various disciplines. On the one hand, this field has to react promptly to the situation in the educational context that actively stresses customization and the possibility to re-encode knowledge into the skills and competences. On the other, semiotics – as well as other fields of knowledge – finds itself in the digital era, with its exponentially growing computerization and virtualization of education, life-long learning ideologies, growing role of the distant and mobile learning, where all the disciplines not only have to adapt their conceptual and analytical apparatus to the constantly changing needs and contexts but also transform its didactic strategies taking into account the demands of its target audience and educational environment. The main aim of our seminar is to look closer and discuss existing didactic strategies in teaching semiotics in various institutional and cultural contexts, as well as reflecting on the current aspects of semiotics’ institutionalisation and educational programs. The format of seminar allows providing its participants with a unique space for interchanging their experience and ideas. We invite contributions which deal with theoretical and/or methodological challenges in semiotics’ didactics, and with various facets of its institutionalisation. The main focus areas include (but are not not limited to) the following topics:

  • Didactical approaches to the teaching of semiotics: synchronic and diachronic axes.

  • Teaching semiotics for digital natives after the digital and visual turn.

  • Semiotics as praxis: teaching applied semiotics and methodologies.

  • Dictionary or Encyclopedia? Developing reading strategies for semiotic courses.

  • Core texts - national and institutional canon.

  • Developing innovative multi/hyper/transmedia teaching materials for semiotics.

  • Semiotics and design theory/practice: teaching the science of signs to design and visual arts students.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by 1 September 2017. If you want to suggest a panel/round table for the seminar, please get in touch with us at your earliest convenience. Working languages: English, Russian. Notifications of acceptance are expected to be communicated by 15 September 2017. If accepted, applicants will have to register and confirm their participation by 20 September 2017. There is no registration fee, but the participants have to cover their travel costs themselves. The organisers can provide reasonable assistance in booking accommodation in Vilnius. Venue: European Humanities University, Valakupių str., 5, Vilnius, Lithuania.

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