In the long sweep of history, definitions, meanings and social attitudes towards conflict have dramatically changed. While scholarship in international relations, international law, or peace studies is addressing conflicts in terms of ‘conflict resolution’, ‘post-conflict reconstruction’, ‘post-conflict justice’, or “post-conflict trauma”, little or no attention has been given to the broader investigation of conflict as a semiotic mechanism, appearing as the result of various semiotic acts by social groups that advocate conflicting denotative or connotative meanings. This course aims at addressing how a conflict, along with its representations, is a semiotic phenomenon. The course will focus on how conflicts – e.g. armed or climate change conflicts, and their representations – constitute privileged loci for a semiotic analysis. For example, we will focus on the ways in which 20th and 21st-century (post-) conflict (visual) texts address and (re)mediate memory; along with cultural identities in post-conflict contexts.
By the end of this course, it is expected that students:
- will become familiar with theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches in the semiotic study of conflicts
- will learn how conflicts are discursively and semiotically accomplished, represented and remembered
- will learn how does semiotics fit into the study of conflict and post-conflict scenarios
- will understand the main themes and aspects relating to conflict and post-conflict cultures in a semiotic perspective