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Hakuna Matata and Adventure Africa Safari: The T-shirt as/in semiotic landscape(s)

Researcher: Cassandra Gerber
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Anne Storch

The motto T-shirt with its stereotypical motifs - a list of words in Swahili supposedly indicating typical things about a country, an oriental female figure, African variations of commonly used pop-cultural images - can be globally produced souvenirs or T-shirts sold on online platforms as well as on the streets and the beach. An emblematic material object, the souvenir T-shirt expresses a particular attitude or even belonging to a certain location or lifestyle.

By incorporating the multimodal and mobile T-shirt with other materials, my project aims to contribute to the study of language or signs in tourist places: The Zanzibar Archipelago, Mallorca, Sylt, Zoos, Amusement parks, and online stores like spreadshirt.de. My goal is to provide an overview of the landscapes a T-shirt creates, both as an individual semiotic landscape and as part of a constellation of semiotic landscapes. Using multimodal critical discourse analysis, I examine their discursively historical ties and illustrate through exemplary analyses the semiotic process on a seemingly banal object of tourism.