Dr. Vito Evola; Prof. Dr. Matthias Jarke
winter term 2011/2012
lecture & seminar

Media, Culture and Mind

How do media influence the content of the message they transmit and how is meaning perceived, interpreted and construed by readers, listeners and other media users? This course will approach this question by comparing a number of models of communication from a cognitive and socio-cultural point of view. We will discuss the broader implications of these models within cognitive and anthropological semiotics and explore underlying assumptions about human communication on the one hand, and specific media on the other. In particular, we will focus on metaphoric manifestations in language and various media and the multimodal nature of human communication drawing from current trends in Cognitive Science. Some questions the course will deal with include:

- How do humans understand the world around them, and how do we talk about it?
- How is meaning construed from a productive and interpretive level in verbal and non-verbal         symbolic systems of representation?
- What role does culture have in both linguistic and non-linguistic communication?
- How are creativity and meaning accounted for in multimodality and multimediality?
- How is all of this applicable to the society of the Digital Age?

time and meeting place: monday, 14:45 h- 17:00 h, Hörsaal B-IT Building, Bonn


There will be a final exam that will count for 50 % towards the final grade.


Format and grading: The class is lecture-led and discussion-based. Each week, the class will be a lecture on a specific topic and the last hour will be dedicated to discussion. Occasionally there will be a recommended reading based on the topic presented. There will also be two short essays that will count towards the final grade. Grades will be determined as follows:

In-class discussion (10%)
Two 3-5 page written essays (40%)
Final exam (50%)

In-class discussion: All students are expected to engage in discussion in each class, bringing in personal knowledge relevant to the topics presented. Because of the format of the course, only a maximum of 2 (two) absences are allowed, unless justifiable. If there are any particular questions, please contact Dr. Vito Evola at evola@humtec.rwth-aachen.de or after class.

Written essays: Two brief written essays will count towards the final grade (20% each), giving students the opportunity to follow up in detail on some relevant topic of interest. Both essays must be a minimum of 3 pages and include a works cited section (books, articles, on-line websites, etc.). Collaboration is encouraged, but each student needs to hand in an individual paper. More information about the written essays will be provided during the course. Plagiarism: To plagiarize is to present the words and ideas of someone else without attribution, as if they were one's own. This is a form of intellectual dishonesty. Anyone who plagiarizes in the course will receive a failing grade.

further information see Campus