2015-2016 Graduate Academic Catalogue 
    
    May 26, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Academic Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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LS 758 - How to Read the World: First Signifiers

(3.00 cr.)

This course focuses on three "first signifiers": geography, tattoo, and the human face. Land and sea formations precede human signification. Writers who present the first scripts created by landscapes and seascapes and who consider the way humans inhabit and reshape those scripts using borders, boundaries, and maps are investigated. Students then analyze tattoo, which Jacques Lacan proclaims to be the first signifier and which writers use to consider how people make meaning and mark belonging. Tattoo may indicate variously and sometimes simultaneously the profane and sacred, the extravagant and essential, the personal and public. Finally, depictions of the human face are examined. According to Emmanuel Lévinas, the human face creates discourse and ethics: students use that insight to read graphic novelists who use word and image to consider the human face (and who see at once joy and love, repression and genocide). All three first signifiers ask us to consider how to interpret the scripts we are given and how to create new ways of reading the world.



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