43rd SSA Call for Papers

Berea Logo Simple.jpg2018 SSA Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Signs of Resilience in a Complex World

The SSA 43rd Annual Conference 

Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, USA

October 3–7, 2018


This year’s Conference theme: “Signs of Resilience in a Complex World” speaks to the sustainability and thrivability of our culture, environment, society, and politics. Resilience is much more than a fashionable buzz-word. Originally developed as an ecological concept, resilience is congruent with the maintenance of semioethical responsibilities and the preservation of human integrity. Given our cultural, social, and political climate, we believe the topic of resilience is timely. It also addresses the resilience of semiotic consciousness and the important contributions of semioticians to the understanding and renewal of the lifeworld. In a complex and rapidly changing world marked by profound instability and a precarious future, the heart of the challenge we face is something far greater than coping. Rather, we need to develop semiotic habits that allow us to learn how to navigate through the transmodern world creatively and resiliently.

We anticipate that this theme will stimulate provocative thoughts and inspiring ideas about the intimate relationship between signs and resilience by responding to a host of questions, such as:

  • Why are signs of resilience more relevant than ever in contemporary societies?
  • What are the connections between semiotic interpretations and resilient thinking?
  • How do sign systems contribute to the resilience associated with the chrysalis process of reconstructing reality?
  • In what ways do signs of resilience respond to the antinomies of the true and untrue, the real and imaginary?

As always, we welcome abstracts on any subject with a connection to semiotics (both theoretical and applied), not solely those inspired by this year’s theme. We encourage you to reach out to your semiotically-inclined colleagues by organizing thematic sessions or panels, as well as by submitting individual papers and posters. Our Society is interdisciplinary and international, and we welcome voices from colleagues from all disciplines and countries. We intend to reserve panel slots specifically for papers from non-English speakers, although the official language of the conference is English.

Please visit EasyChair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=2018ssa to submit your abstract or proposal for panels and poster sessions. If you have any problem accessing the website, please contact us. (Note to our non-English speakers: while papers may be submitted in your native language, all abstracts must be submitted in English.) Because of the anticipated larger than normal participation this year, we encourage early submissions. The deadline for submissions is May 7, 2018. Please include the following information in your submission:

  1. Author’s name
  2. Institutional affiliation and academic status
  3. Email address
  4. Title of abstract (in English)
  5. A maximum of 150-word abstract (in English)
  6. Keywords (maximum of six words in English)

Abstracts for individual papers or panels and organized sessions (3-4 papers) as well as poster presentations must include all of the above information. Papers are for a 20-minute presentation. Please indicate in your abstract submission if you plan to present your paper in other language than English. An acknowledgment of receipt of your abstract will be sent to you within two weeks from the date of submission. Electronic letters of acceptance will be sent to the selected participants starting March 19, 2018, and will continue until June 30, 2018.

Papers presented at the meeting will also be considered for publication in Semiotics 2018, the Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America. The SSA Yearbook is an annual peer-reviewed publication series sponsored by the Semiotic Society of America, providing both a timely overview of current developments in semiotic research and a regular outlet for members of the Society to publish papers on their current work. Further details and deadlines will be specified in the Annual Conference Program.

Student submissions are eligible for the Roberta Kevelson Award, which will honor the best student paper presented at the 2018 Annual Conference. Students who wish to be considered for the Kevelson Award should indicate their interest on EasyChair at the time of abstract submission. Full paper submissions must be uploaded to EasyChair by September 21, 2018. Questions regarding the Roberta Kevelson Award should be directed to the review committee chair, Dr. Frank Macke at fmacke@bellsouth.net.

Special Events

In addition to scheduled paper sessions, there will also be keynote and plenary speakers. The Presidential Address will be delivered by Deborah Eicher-Catt, Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Pennsylvania State University-York.


Berea College in Berea, Kentucky is the host institution for the 43rd SSA Annual Conference https://www.berea.edu/campus-map/

  • Lunches, dinners, and keynote/plenary speakers at the Boone Tavern and Hotel
  • Breakout sessions at the Presser Hall, Berea College https://www.berea.edu/mus/

Accommodation is at the Charming Historical Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant in Berea at 100 Main St. N., Berea, KY 40403. For room booking contact the hotel at (859) 985-3700 and ask for the group block (Semiotic of America), or go to the website: www.boonetavernhotel.com and select the date and “BOOK NOW” button at the top. From that screen select “change request” at the bottom. Use the group code of 144190 in “Group ID.” The average price ranges from $100.00 and $109.00 per night for single room. Your block will be open at the group rate until September 3, 2018. After that date, all the remaining rooms in the block will go back to hotel inventory for general-public selling.


The airport to fly to is Lexington, KY, Bluegrass Airport https://bluegrassairport.com. Free of charge shuttles every 60–90 minutes will be provided from the airport to Berea.

Some people may choose to fly to Cincinnati and rent a car (CVG).

SSA Membership and Conference Registration Fees 

Please note that in accordance with Article 4, Section 4 of the SSA Constitution: “Only Individual, Student, and Honorary members in good standing may offer papers to the Program Committee for presentation at the Annual Conference of the Society.” Membership must be in good standing at or before the time of abstract submission.

Membership Fees:

  • SSA Membership Dues (Regular) – $75.00USD
  • SSA Membership Dues (Student) – $50.00USD

Conference Registration Fees:

  • Conference Registration (Regular) – $175.00 (late registration of $200.00 after August 26, 2018) Onsite regular registration is $225.00
  • Conference Registration (Student) – $80.00 (late registration of $90.00 after August 26, 2018) Onsite student registration is $100.00
  • Special day-passes for local faculty, staff, and students will be available in order to hear paper presentations ($15.00USD/day). If passes are purchased in advance: $13.00/day.
  • Day passes do not include any of the meals.

Meals Fee:

There will be a separate fee (of approximately $120) for the conference meals packet (which will include 3 lunches, 1 dinner banquet, and a welcome reception). Check back on our web-site for updated information about the meal plan.

To join the Society and register for the conference, please visit: http://www.pdcnet.org/wp/2018-ssa/ or call: +01-434-220-3300, Toll Free: 1-800-444-2419 (US & Canada). We encourage early registration.

We look forward to welcoming you in Berea, Kentucky!

2018 Program Committee

Farouk Y. Seif, Chair, Antioch University Seattle, Washington

Baranna Baker, Portland, Oregon 

Priscila Borges, University of Brasília, Brazil

Javier ClavereBerea College, Kentucky

Deborah Eicher-CattThe Pennsylvania State University-York

Jamin Pelkey, Ryerson University, Canada

Steven Skaggs, University of Louisville, Kentucky

Dora Ivonne Alvarez TamayoUPAEP, Mexico

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Address: Av 11 Poniente 2309, Águila, Puebla, Pue.

Phone: 01 222 229 9400 ext. 7060

UPAEP is an urban university located in the heart of Puebla City.  There are many buildings belonging to UPAEP but the main reference to locate the Centro de Vinculación UPAEP (conference center) is to identify the CENTRAL CAMPUS whose address is 21 sur (south) 1103 Col. Santiago. The Centro de Vinculación UPAEP (conference center) is located on the street just behind the main entrance of central campus, on 11 poniente (west) Avenue between 23 sur (south) street and 25 sur (south). For reference, UPAEP Central Campus also has a rear entrance on 23 South Avenue. If you locate this entrance, you will be completely in front of the street where Centro de Vinculación is located.

centro de vinculación directions[2]

A Friendly Reminder: Hotel Reservations

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

A friendly reminder, please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible by calling the hotel at +52 01 222 230 0122and mention the code for identification: Encuentro Anual de la Asociación Americana de Semiótica en UPAEP.

For the preferential rate, please use one of the following emails:



Attention to: Doris Iturbide or Kathya Parra


Very close to the University (UPAEP)

Single Room: 55 USD

Double Room: 70 USD


Calle 5 Poniente, 2522

Colonia La Paz

Zona Centro, Puebla

72160 México


Welcome to the 42nd SSA


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Dear Conference Participants,

After months of planning and preparation, our 42nd annual SSA meeting—the Signs of Play and the Play of Signs—is just around the corner in our beautiful host city of Puebla, Mexico.  The Program Committee and our local host, Dora Ivonne Alvarez Tamayo, are set to offer a heartfelt “welcome to you all” as you arrive at UPAEP.   

If you haven’t registered yet, you may do so online (at the Philosophy Documentation Center) until Thursday, October 19. ($200)  After that, you can also register onsite at UPAEP beginning October 25 (at the rate of $225).  As a reminder, hotel and transportation information is also available on our SSA website for your easy reference.

We look forward to seeing you all soon for what appears to be a stimulating conference!

Deborah Eicher-Catt, Chair

SSA 2017 Conference Program Committee

Earthquake​ in Mexico

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends, we are in solidarity with our friends and colleagues in Mexico. Prayers and good thoughts are with them. We received word from our local host Dr. Dora Ivonne Alvarez Tamayo, which I am enclosing on this message. I wish everyone a safe time during this outrageous weather season. Javier Clavere

Message from the Local Host 

My dear colleagues, as you probably know by the news, yesterday there was an earthquake in México, even though the epicenter was near Puebla, UPAEP is ready to receive you. I have communicated with the host hotels; both report that their facilities are in perfect condition. I thank those who have communicated with me. We are fine. I’ll keep you informed. Best regards. Dora Ivonne Alvarez Tamayo


Tour 1: Puebla City: Ancient and Modern

Wednesday 25th afternoon for early-birds: 12:00 to 17:30 hrs. Puebla: City ancient and modern. Price per person: 23 USD (350 pesos). The tour includes the ticket for visiting the Baroque Museum and the ticket to get on the Star of Puebla, the highest wheel of fortune in Latin America. During the tour, we will visit the downtown, the ancient neighborhoods, the zone of the forts (it has beautiful views) and the modern zone of Puebla. The transportation picks us up at UPAEP-Centro de Vinculación and it return us at the same point. Estimated time: 5hrs30 min.


Tour 2: Cholula: Pyramid, Temples, and Culture

Sunday 29th (after the Meeting 12:00 to 18:00 hrs.): Cholula Pyramids, visiting the archeological zone, the museum, the Church of Tonanzintla and the Church of Acatepec with a stop to craft market in Cholula. Price per person: 18 USD (260 pesos). The transportation pick us up at UPAEP-Centro de Vinculación and we could ask them to conclude the tour in the downtown, then visitors could eat, shopping or buy souvenirs before their returning flights.  Estimated time: 6 hrs.


The tours are done in touristic buses (looks like a trolley car)

For reservations send an e-mail to valeria.hernandez01@upaep.edu.mx

The deadline to reserve is: October, 19th.

A desk to pay the tickets will be at the Centro de Vinculación on October 25th, from 10:00 a.m. to the moment to start the tour.  The payment will be in cash: USD or Mexican pesos.  Participants could pay both tours at the same time.

42nd SSA – Plenary Roundtable: “The Life and Work of John Deely”

John Deely Plenary Roundtable, Puebla, 2017 Extract.jpg

Plenary Roundtable

The Life and Work of John Deely (1942–2017): 

A Compassionate Human Being and an Exceptional Scholar

The intention of this Plenary Roundtable is to commemorate the exceptional life and the remarkable oeuvre of John Deely (April 26, 1942–January 7, 2017). It is impossible to separate John Deely’s personal traits from his professional contributions as a great philosopher and semiotician. The following plenary speakers focus on the integration of Deely’s life as a dear friend, a compassionate human being, and an exceptional scholar.


Farouk Y. Seif

“Imaginary Dialogue with John Deely: Playing with Boundaries Across Space and Time”

Abstract: We live in a world of fact and a world of fancy, in the Peircean sense, telling real and imagined stories. In this Imaginary Dialogue with John Deely I compose narratives that integrate actual quotations from his seminal work and imaginative interpretation of our numerous conversations that took place over the years. Visiting John in May 2016 at the Latrobe Hospital and grieving his passing on January 7 this year were two cathartic and emancipating experiences that developed into this dialogical narrative as a commemorative manifestation of the exceptional life and the remarkable oeuvre of John Deely. It is inconceivable to separate Deely’s personal traits from his scholarly contributions as a great philosopher, semiotician, and a compassionate human being who not only graciously persevered through the semiotic paradox of life and death, but also gregariously played with many boundaries across space and time.

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Farouk Y. Seif

Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle, Washington. He has taught design for initiating and leading social/cultural change by focusing on the integration of design and semiotics. He has presented and published internationally over 30 transdisciplinary articles and monographs, urging semiotic reinterpretation of ancient wisdom for thoughtful reflections on contemporary life. He is a registered architect and a member of the America Institute of Architects, an artist, a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, and the former Executive Director of the Semiotic Society of America.


Brooke Williams Deely

John Deely from New Mexico to Mexico to the Universe”

Abstract: I offer random reflections on some traits of John Deely as a person that cannot be separated from his vocation as a philosopher at the cutting edge of history, beyond the boundaries of any one discipline or tradition. Hence, I wish to distinguish personal traits, including his dogged determination and his docility, in order to unite them in the integral wholeness of the man and his work, from his youth to his last days. In such reflections I will showcase our lived experience together when John was a Fulbright scholar in Mexico, where we wrote his opus, Four Ages of Understanding, with a canine Mexican street fighter seated lovingly by his side. Given the play of signs and signs at play in the universe, I reflect on Jacques Maritain’s own reflection on John: “He is a child“.

Brooke Williams Deely photo 2017.jpg

Brooke Williams Deely

Brooke Williams Deely, Ph.D., is author of Jacques Maritain: Antimodern or Ultramodern? Her essays in semiotics include History and Semiotics, Toronto Semiotic Circle Publication, and the prefatory essay for the reprinting of Thomas Sebeok’s seminal book, Contributions to the Doctrine of Signs. She is co-editor of Frontiers in Semiotics and an editor for the Special Issue on History in 1991 of Semiotica. She taught semiotics for the 1983 ISISSS at Indiana University and in 1989 at Universidade de Minas Gerais in Brazil. Recently she has edited a major work, John Paul II Speaks on Women. Her children’s novel, Soulmates: Worlds Apart, speaks of her experience with John in relation to the Mexican people and to a fearsome dog who crossed all boundaries not for land but for love.


Richard L. Lanigan

History and Discourse: The Memory and Memorial of John Deely”

Abstract: Émile Benveniste is famous for his description of the double articulation apposition (quadratic reflectivity, reflexivity, and reversibility) that is found in the French verb function, and, is named by him as the tropic aphorism: l’histoire et discours [history and discourse; history and story; public and private narrative; author and reader; memory and memorial]. These translations suggest the semantic richness of the Semiotic Square (Greimas) and Chiasm (Merleau-Ponty) that suggest the approach of my remarks about John Deely’s life and times that are both a memory and a memorial. I make use of the apposition among: Deely / Memory / Memorial. Memory is the evocation of experience that invokes consciousness, whereas memorial is the invocation of consciousness that evokes experience.

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Richard L. Lanigan

Richard L. Lanigan, Ph.D., is Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Communicology (Emeritus) at Southern Illinois University, USA, and Executive Director and Fellow of the International Communicology Institute in Washington, DC, USA. His work is a focus on the Philosophy of Communicology (phenomenology, semiotics) and Intercultural Communicology, especially China—USA relations.



Myrdene Anderson

Another Page for ‘Between The Sheets’: Homage to John Deely’s ‘Historical Layering’ ”

Abstract: John Deely reigned as SSA’s fairy godfather, nearly since its inception under the wing of Tom Sebeok in 1975. It’s not even possible to count the ways he rescued, basically single-handedly, the operations and productions of the Society over the decades. But I daresay what he considered his greatest gift would be the SSA Style Sheet (1984, 1986). And within the Style Sheet, John emphasized its mandate of “historical layering”. In 1991 I reflected on some aspects of the art, craft, and science of bibliography under the title of “Between the sheets: Bibliographic voice incorporating scale, grain, noise”. This paper builds on that, resuscitating the torturous birth of John’s document, as witnessed in phone calls in 1983 and 1984, summarizes John’s compulsive defense of “historical layering”, and relates his final amendment to the Style Sheet, boiling down to how we all must now annotate citations of his work: (1942­–2017).

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Myrdene Anderson

Myrdene Anderson, anthropologist, linguist, and semiotician (PhD in anthropology, Yale University, 1978) is Associate Professor of anthropology, Purdue University. She is the former President of the Central States Anthropological Society (1993-1994) and the Semiotic Society of America (1996-1997). Anderson’s research on Saami (Lappish) ethnoecology commenced in 1971 and continues today, joined by other projects such as artificial life, community gardening, real and metaphoric trash, island ethnohistory, and Peircean semiotics. (Co-)edited publications include “Refiguring Debris—Becoming Unbecoming, Unbecoming Becoming” (1994); “On Semiotic Modeling” (1991); “Cultural Shaping of Violence: Victimization, Escalation and Response” (2004); and “Consensus on the Peircean Concept of Habit” (2016). Other publications include “How qualification and quantification meet, or don’t, in ethnography” (2012); “Ethnography as translation” (1999); “Sharing G. Evelyn Hutchinson’s fabricational noise” (2000).


Paul Cobley

Human Understanding – The Key Triad”

Abstract: This paper will argue that,among the many landmark formulations in Deely’s work—the idea of logic as semiotic, the postmodern moment (properly so-called), relation, physiosemiosis, the thorough recasting of objectivity and subjectivity, and the formulation of the notion of the semiotic animal, to name a few—the triad of sign/object/thing is truly original, is the most far-reaching contribution to semiotics and remains pivotal in understanding Deely’s oeuvre. Not only does it facilitate these other concepts but it also projects contemporary semiotics forward through its re-calibration of the human Umwelt in terms of mind-dependent and mind-independent being.

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Paul Cobley

Paul Cobley, Ph.D., is Professor in Language and Media at Middlesex University. He is the author of a number of books, most recently Cultural Implications of Semiotics (2016) and Narrative 2nd edn (2014). He is co-series editor (with Kalevi Kull) of Semiotics, Communicationand Cognition (de Gruyter Mouton), co-editor (with Peter J. Schulz) of the multi-volume Handbooks of Communication Sciences (de Gruyter), co-edits the journal Social Semiotics, and is associate editor of Cybernetics and Human Knowing. He is the 9th Thomas A. Sebeok Fellow of the Semiotic Society of America and is secretary of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies.