44th SSA Call for Papers

The Semiotics of Borders and the Borders of Semiotics

The SSA 44th Annual Conference 

Portland, Oregon, USA, October 9–13, 2019

This year’s Conference theme: “The Semiotics of Borders and the Borders of Semiotics” speaks to the limit conditions of systems of all sorts. As well, it poses both broad and specific questions of ontology and epistemology with regard to the disciplinary work of semiotics. Given our cultural, social, and political climate, we believe the topic of borders—entailing boundaries, limits, margins, edges, fringes, frontiers, perimeters and so on—is quite timely. We anticipate that this theme will stimulate provocative thoughts and inspiring ideas regarding:

  • Questions concerning signs or expressions of “inner” and “outer”
  • Questions of inclusion and exclusion
  • Questions of border crossing, trespass, and transgression
  • Questions concerning the relationship of boundaries to imagination
  • Questions concerning both the limits and possibilities of semiotic inquiry

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 of 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=2019ssato 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 31, 2019Please 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 a 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 another 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 May 10, 2019, and will continue until June 30, 2019.

Papers presented at the meeting will also be considered for publication in Semiotics 2019, 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 2019 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 20, 2019. Questions regarding the Roberta Kevelson Award should be directed to the Review Committee Chair André De Tienneat adetienn@iupui.edu.

Special Events

In addition to scheduled paper sessions, there will also be keynote and plenary speakers. The Presidential Address will be delivered by Farouk Y. SeifProfessor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle, Washington.


The 44thAnnual Conference will take place at the Hilton Hotel, Downtown Portland, 921 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204. To make your room reservations, please go to the Web Link: www.portland.hilton.com and enter the code SSA, or call 1-503-226-1611The special rate for SSA is $185 per night (single or double room), including complimentary guest-room wireless Internet access. We encourage you to make your reservation by September 1, 2019. After this date, it will be at the Hilton’s discretion whether to accept reservations, which will be subject to prevailing rates and availability.

SSA Membership and Conference Registration Fees 

Please note that in accordance with Article 4, Section 4 of the SSA Constitution: “Only Individual, Students, 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 25, 2019) Onsite regular registration is $225.00
  • Conference Registration (Student) – $80.00 (late registration of $90.00 after August 25, 2019) Onsite student registration is $100.00

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 website for updated information about the meal plan.

To join the Semiotic Society of America and register for the SSA 44thAnnual Conference, please visit https://www.pdcnet.org/wp/services/2019-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 Portland, Oregon!

2019 Program Committee

Garnet Butchart, Duquesne University

Isaac E. Catt, Duquesne University

Michal Karľa, Charles University, Prague

Frank J. Macke (Chair), Mercer University

Farouk Y. Seif, Antioch University Seattle

Hong Wang, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania


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About Farouk Seif

Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle, Washington, a registered architect, an artist, a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, and the former Executive Director of the Semiotic Society of America.