Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Symbols have been with us for as long as we can look back into human history. From early cave paintings to modern traffic signs, symbols have always been a part of our everyday life. This master thesis begins with a thorough historical outline on semiotics beginning with the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, and working up to modern times. The thesis then continues to look at ethnic groups as portrayed in political cartoons throughout the ages. The author found that Irish, African American, Chinese, and Native American were all overwhelmingly depicted negatively, with images of being violent and primitive. However, Protestant Anglo-Saxons were almost always depicted in a positive view. Anglo-Saxons were good looking, cultured, and powerful. Lastly, the author explains the value of teaching semiotics in the classroom, and techniques that teachers can use in the classroom for this subject. It is expressed that semiotics can be useful in giving students a better understanding of different cultures and languages. A large sample of political cartoons and two PowerPoint presentations are included in the appendix.


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