About the Workshop:

This 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.

If you encounter problems with this website or have questions about the workshop, please contact the graduate student coordinators Briel Kobak (bkobak@uchicago.edu) and/or Perry Wong (perrywong@uchicago.edu)

2016-2017 Theme: 

“Measure of Value and the Value of Measure”

The Semiotics Workshop is accepting abstract submissions from individuals interested in participating during the 2016-2017 academic year. The theme next year is “Measure of Value and the Value of Measure,” and will center on the notion of measurement as both object of inquiry and methodological practice. We seek papers taking semiotic and linguistic anthropological approaches to measurement, evidence, and the sensory aspects of mediation.

Papers might ask how measurement involves processes such as “standardization,” “purification,” or “metapragmatic regimentation:” What does the work of measurement do for the work of “abduction” and “abstraction” that are always hybrid, always mediating, always connecting and drawing together what they separate and pull apart? We might also consider the sensory aspects of translation and projects of linguistic commensuration.

On a methodological level, how do measurement and evidence contribute to empirical social scientific work, such as ethnography, corpus linguistics, or discourse analysis? How does evidence serve as an ethnographic object central to processes of reasoning for any “scientific intelligence” (Peirce CP 2.227)? Last, what is the mediating relationship between feelings, consciousnesses, or senses to processes of measurement: can we measure “messiness,” “particularity,” “specificity,” “heterogeneity,” “diversity,” “multiplicity” and “thickness” as phenomena to be at once both empirically encountered, and as objects of scientific and ethnographic inquiry and re-presentation?