The Semiotics: Culture in Context Workshop is happy to announce our Winter Quarter theme and schedule:

“The Social Efficaciousness of Semiosis”

Last quarter, the Semiotics Workshop took up the theme of “Creativity and Contingency in Semiosis.” Some of our papers dealt explicitly with “the creative process,” while others highlighted semiotic tensions between creative intentional action and the given-ness of context. The issue of creativity in semiosis remains prominent in the papers we will be discussing this quarter. But these papers will also draw our attention to the creativity of semiosis itself, that is, to the capacity of acts of sign use to create new meanings and communicative contexts and the consequences of this uptake. In particular, these papers pose for us some important questions about the social efficaciousness of semiosis. In what ways do the actors in these various ethnographic contexts seem to anticipate, interpret, and articulate the social entailments of their own sign usage? To what degree do they implicate their own intentionality in determining the social consequences of acts of “meaning” or communication? How speaker intentionality interact with or affect ‘uptake’? To what extent do ideologies expressed in hierarchies and institutions influence speakers’ awareness of the creative, entailing aspects of semiosis?


January 5: “Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral: What is Graffiti?”
William Benzon
Independent Scholar

January 19: “Gacaca, Jenoside”
Mark Geraghty
PhD Candidate, Anthropology
University of Chicago

February 2: “A ‘translinguistic’ approach to register under conditions of ‘superdiversity’: Drops of Arabic in an Arabic learner variety”
Cécile Evers
PhD Student, Educational Linguistics
University of Pennsylvania

February 16: “Stranger Kinship: gendered alterity and generative power in Amazonia”
Amy McLachlan
PhD Student, Anthropology
University of Chicago

March 1: “‘Bless me my elders so I may speak’: Public Speech through Hierarchy”
Elina Hartikainen
PhD Candidate, Anthropology
University of Chicago

March 15: TITLE TBA
Christopher Bloechl
PhD Student, Anthropology
University of Chicago