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


44th SSA Conference


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of the SSA Executive Board, I am pleased to confirm that our 44th SSA Conference will take place at the Hilton Hotel in the heart of Downtown Portland, Oregon, October 9–13, 2019. Please mark your calendar. More information will follow in the next few weeks.

Farouk Y. Seif

President, Semiotic Society of America


SSA Yearbook: Call for Submissions


The SSA announces its call for submissions to the next volume of the Yearbook, Semiotics 2018: Signs of Resilience. The Yearbook seeks 3,000-to-6,000-word submissions from current SSA members–including 2018 SSA Conference participants–based on scholarly work completed during the past year. Contributions should be accessible to a broad interdisciplinary readership, but focused on some aspect of semiotics in any of its diverse manifestations. All submissions will be subject to blind peer review.

We request that potential contributors format their submissions using SSA stylesheet guidelines <https://semioticsocietyofamerica.org/ssa-yearbook/>, and we recommend that contributors who speak a first language other than English review their manuscript with English-speaking colleagues or confidants prior to submission. Submissions should be in Microsoft Word, and sent via email attachment directly to the editors: Geoffrey Owens <geoffrey.owens@wright.edu> and E. K. Katić <ekatic@ramapo.edu>. The submission deadline is Friday, November 30.


Thank You

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many thanks to all of you for making the 43rdSSA Conference a very successful event. The quality of papers and presentations were very high and inspirational. Questions, answers, and comments were thoughtful, amicable, and graceful.

A special thank you to our local host and Executive Director Javier Clavere for his gracious hospitality and abundance of support. Those of us who have served in this capacity know well how much work goes into our annual conference. Certainly, Berea College and Boone Tavern Hotel were very charming venues for the various activities and events for our SSA this year.

I left Berea with gratitude to all friends and colleagues, optimism about the future of SSA, and excitement about our 44thSSA gathering next year. Stay tuned for the location announcement.

Warm regards,

Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D.

Chair, 2018 SSA Program Committee

Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle

President’s Message:

I am delighted to welcome you to the 43rd annual meeting of the Semiotic Society of America. This year we are hosted by Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. We are especially grateful to our Executive Director and local host, Javier Clavere, and his colleagues at Berea College for their hospitality. Our program committee, headed by Farouk Seif, has done a great job of planning this year in order to make this an insightful and beneficial experience for us all.

This year’s conference theme: “Signs of Resilience in a Complex World,” highlights the interdisciplinary nature of semiotics as we bring together researchers from across the academy to explore this timely and important topic.

We look forward to hearing talks from our two keynote speakers: Dr. Ivo Ibri, Professor of Philosophy from PUCSP, Brazil, and Dr. Wendy Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of English Literature and Cultural Inquiry, London Metropolitan University, UK. Dr. Ibri will discuss “The Semiotic Resilient Mind – Conflictual and Agapic Relationship between Logic and Emotional Interpretants” and Dr. Wheeler will address “Resilience in a Time of Semiocide: Against the Murder of Natural and Cultural Meanings.”

We also are fortunate to hear from our newly-inducted Sebeok Fellow, Dr. Vincent Colapietro. Dr. Colapietro is Liberal Arts Research Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and currently affiliated to the University of Rhode Island through the Center for the Humanities. He has served as President of the Metaphysical Society of America, the Semiotic Society of America (SSA), and the Charles S. Peirce Society. His talk is entitled, “The Music of Meaning: Gestures, Traces, and Media.”

There are two plenary sessions that should be of particular interest this year. Farouk Seif, Professor Emeritus, Antioch University, Seattle is presenting, “The Audacity of Design and the Resilience of Signs” on Thursday afternoon. Michael Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Slavic and Semiotic Studies from Brown University will discuss, “Language as Semiosis: A Neo-Structuralist Perspective in the Light of Pragmaticism.”

Thank you for your participation in this meeting. We are a diverse community of scholars with common interests in the study of signs and sign systems. The SSA is a welcoming academic community committed to sharing ideas, providing feedback, and disseminating timely research. If you are new to this conference, please introduce yourself and know that we would like to see you make it your academic home.


My best,

Deborah Eicher-Catt, PhD

President, Semiotic Society of America

Professor, Communication Arts & Sciences

The Pennsylvania State University-York


Dear Friends

The transportation from Lexington to Berea is difficult to coordinate. In an effort to help our members, we are offering free shuttles from Lexington Airport to Berea, and from Berea to Lexington Airport. In order to group as many guests as possible, and to provide a service to several members we ask that you send the following information:

Do not leave a message, it doesn’t guarantee we will get the information. We will acknowledge receipt of your email.

Please provide the following (VERY IMPORTANT)

  • Your full name
  • Your email
  • Your cell number
  • Airline and flight number
  • Flight coming from:
  • Estimated time or arrival in Lexington

Please make sure to follow these directions so we can coordinate your transportation. You may be required to wait until a group is formed. We will try our best to minimize the wait, we are planning not to exceed 90-120 minutes wait. If you are unable to wait, you may want to consider Uber, Lyft, or car rentals. We are looking forward to seeing you in Berea. 


Javier Clavere 

SSA Executive Director