Communication, Culture, and Representation

Communication, Culture, and Representation
Communication, Culture, and Representation

Communication, Culture, and Representation

Over the course of our quarter together, we have looked at and analyzed many signs in the form
of print advertisements as examples of complex systems of signification at work: the “Mammy”
citrus fruit sign, for example, or the poster for Pall Mall cigarettes. For your final project, you are
going to show your understanding of these systems of signification by developing your own print
advertisement for an already existing object (see page 3).

Rather than applying a semiotic analysis to someone else’s advertisement, you will be building
your own advertisement from the ground up in order to demonstrate what a semiotic approach
to representation makes possible. Your use of semiotics should be drawn largely from the
second half of our course—that is, from the material in Chandler’s book after the midterm (i.e.
Chapter 3 forward).
Although creating the advertisement is the centerpiece of the project, the goal of the project is to
situate the advertisement within a larger framework that explains and justifies your choices and
demonstrates your understanding of semiotics. In order to do this, you will produce a structured
proposal that incorporates five distinct sections:
1) Introduction
2) Justification
3) Audience
4) The Final Advertisement
5) Reflection
Here is what each section of the proposal should contain:
1) Introduction (@ 300 words): Provide a detailed textual description and brief
assessment of the object that could be used to explain it to anyone. It should be
meaningful to someone who is unfamiliar with it, or someone who is visually impaired, or
someone who is not from your community or have your cultural background. A good
Introduction will set the tone for the sections that follow.
2) Justification (@ 300 words): Provide a solid, thorough discussion of and justification for
the semiotic concepts that inform your approach to creating an advertisement for this
object. Consider the following questions (these are suggestive and not meant to be proscriptive):
*What rhetorical devices are you using to create your advertisement, and why?
How are you using them? To what end?
*Which master tropes are you using to structure your advertisement, and how are
you using them?
*How are you engaging with concepts such as denotation and connotation?
Literal and figurative language? Realism? Why and how are these important for your
3) Audience (@ 300 words): Provide a detailed description of the audience or audiences
for which the advertisement is intended and your what you are hoping your
advertisement communicates to them. You might also consider: to what degree does
your advertisement leave open possibilities of interpretation that you cannot account for
or control for?
4) The Final Advertisement: This section is entirely up to you, but it should incorporate
visual and textual information about your object and any other elements you believe will
demonstrate the semiotic concepts you have chosen to put your advertisement together.
5) Reflection (@ 300 words): Provide a thoughtful, reflective statement about what you
have learned from this course about semiotics, what has been the most useful and why,
and how this knowledge has enabled you to put this advertisement together. How, for
example, did creating this advertisement take you back to our very first discussions of
the problems of representation?

Phase One: Initial Proposal for Final Project (due March 5 @ 12:00pm):
1) Choose of one the three objects featured on page 3 of this prompt and make this your
semiotic object. Do not choose more than one object.
2) A draft (@ 300 words) of your proposed approach that combines the “Introduction” and
“Justification” sections of the final proposal.
3) A draft of the advertisement, incorporating visual and textual information (this can be
preliminary and basic, with the “finished” version appearing with the final version of the
project proposal).

Phase Two: Final Project (due March 19 @ 2:30pm)
All completed projects should be approximately 1250-1500 words (not including
endnotes/bibliography), typed, double-spaced, and using no larger than 12-point font.
Quotations from Chandler or any other sources must use citations in the appropriate format.
Any relevant images or audio/visual materials should be inserted (as jpegs or as hyperlinks to
online clips) into your final document.
All completed projects – which will incorporate all five sections of the proposal as well as the
final advertisement – should be emailed to your TA ONLY in PDF format (that is, not as Word or
Pages documents, or as large multimedia files) no later than Tuesday, March 19, by 2:30pm.
Do not use TurnItIn. You will not need to turn in a hard copy.
Projects submitted after the 2:30pm deadline will not be accepted. We do not offer incompletes
for the quarter except under extraordinary circumstances. If you have questions, please ask.
Your semiotic objects await on the next page…
Final Project: Existing Objects for Print Advertisement (choose one)
1) Perfume
2) Car
3) Shoe

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