The Linguistic Anthropology Lab hosts speakers and students for informal discussions of works-in-progress and work process in research on language/signs in social contexts. The lab is organized around three main functions:


  1.  Data Sessions and Presentations: we host speakers (students and faculty) for informal discussions of works-in-progress regarding language/signs in social contexts. This includes the review of multimodal/video data, preliminary transcripts, practice job talks, and test-run conference presentations, among other (exciting!) things.
  2. Seminar Room and Workspace: our seminar room and a workroom are available for collaborative and independent work. The rooms are located on the third floor of Haskell Hall, Rooms 301 and 302.
  3. Equipment and Software: the lab holds a collection of equipment and software for recording, transcribing, coding, and annotating data in a range of formats (video, audio, photographic, etc.).



Wee Yang Soh                                            
2020-2021 Lab Coordinator



Semiotics Workshop


The Semiotics Workshop seeks to advance research based on a semiotic framework. Presentations will come from a variety of fields including but not limited to linguistics, psychology, sociology, political science, literary theory, and anthropology. By not limiting the topic of research by area, period or discipline, the workshop encourages discussion to center on how to study social and cultural phenomena as embedded in a meaningful context. By building on many seminal studies that have used semiotic approaches, the goal of the workshop is to continue to develop the rigorous analytic framework that provides the method for clearly defining linkages between the object of analysis and its context.


2019-2020 Theme: “Revisiting Circulation: Poetics/Politics of Images”


The Semiotics: Culture in Context Workshop is now accepting submissions for the 2019–2020 academic year. As usual, this workshop serves as a forum for scholars attuned to the emergent production of cultural and linguistic phenomena via diverse semiotic processes. Our theme for the year is “Revisiting Circulation: Poetics/Politics of Images.”

A longstanding concern of linguistic anthropologists, circulation has been rigorously theorized through the concepts of interdiscursivity (Silverstein 2005; Silverstein 2013; Briggs and Bauman 1992) and entextualization (Silverstein and Urban 1996). Circulation is always an achievement of sameness and differences across contexts of encounter, regimented ideologically and metapragmatically (Gal 2016; Irvine and Gal 2000; Silverstein 2003; Silverstein 1979; Silverstein 1976). Yet, what happens when we turn our attention toward the question of what is made in circulation, and what is circulating (Gal 2018)? Such a refocusing requires further attention to metasemiotic processes, like the complex particulars of moments of enregisterment and the arenas they form (Gal 2018; cf. Agha 2011, Cody 2015), the interplay of citational practices (Nakassis 2016) and the emergence and movement of figural forms of embodied qualities, or qualia (cf. Chumley 2017; Chumley and Harkness 2013; Keane 2003)—that is to say, attention to what’s made in-and-by circulation requires attention to aesthetic textuality and precipitates thereof, image-texts (Nakassis 2019).

As they have been recently (re)theorized in linguistic anthropology, image-texts are not only—or even primarily—about visual media or modalities. Rather, aesthetic textuality points to “emergent structures of qualia that co-textualize each other” (Nakassis 2019, 70). In this light, we seek papers that investigate the processes by which structures of embodied qualities come to formedness and move. How are image-texts produced and moved to new contexts and media, and with what effects? The entextualization of these structures of qualia across contexts and media implicates both the inextricable material aspects of semiosis (Hull 2012; Jamison 2016; Shankar and Cavanaugh 2017) and the fundamentally perspectival (i.e., ideological) work of scaling (Carr and Lempert 2016; Gal 2016; Irvine 2016). How are materials intertwined with image-texts, mediating their movement? What roles do the material aspects of signs play in entextualizing structures of qualia? What networks and infrastructures facilitate their movement? How and for whom do different dimensions and categories mediate the movement of image-texts across contexts and modalities? How and for whom do image-texts mediate the forging of models, categories, and measures? How might an attention to the circulation of image-texts inform current debates on the politics of representation, affect, and value?

Students from any discipline are invited to submit papers that ethnographically discuss semiotic processes of images in circulation.