Course Catalog - 2022-2023



Department: College Courses
Grade Mode: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory
Language of Instruction: Taught in English
Course Type: Lecture
Credit Hours: 1
Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s):
Undergraduate Professional
Visiting Undergraduate
Description: Within the last thirty years, the advent of the internet has allowed humanity to share information faster than ever before, including such information as those funny repeated text, image, and audio motifs commonly known as memes. Today, nearly all online communities employ memes to express ideas in humorous and relatable formats, packaging information in reproducible, variable templates reliant on a shared cultural knowledge much like language does. While cat photos with funny captions often make us laugh, how often do we stop and ask: What can internet memes tell us about the structures & functions of human communication, cognition, and society? This course analyzes the phenomenon of the internet meme as symbolic communication, applying methods and theories used in the field of linguistics to better understand the structure and function of memes. Through comparison of the “language” of internet memes to spoken human language, students will discover how memes convey meaning, evolve over time, interact with one another, and reflect upon the demographics of those who post them. This course emphasizes interaction with real data, requiring students to collect and analyze meme exemplars found on internet forums in weekly homework assignments. For their final project, students will create and present an analysis of a meme format (or formats) of their choice utilizing the theory and methods discussed in class.