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The Society for Linguistic Anthropology invites submissions for its inaugural annual spring meeting March 8-10, 2018 at the University of Pennsylvania. We welcome panels and presentations, posters, and multi-modal installations from a wide variety of scholarly directions dedicated to the study of language and semiosis in their social and cultural contexts. Scholars of Anthropology, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, and adjacent disciplines are all invited to participate.
The theme “New: Media, Messages, Meanings, E-motions” invites thinking through how language and semiosis more broadly are involved in producing new and contingent forms and functions. From thinking about mass media to affective states, from new forms of message to the shifting indexicalities of their meaning, the meetings provide an opportunity to think through how new forms and functions emerge, how participants perceive and describe them, and what kinds of anxieties and possibilities are produced. The terms “media, message, meaning, and e-motion” are meant to suggest possible clusters of analysis to think through how new forms of semiosis emerge, challenge older forms, and show the effects of contingency in social life.
To think through these points, we invite presentations connected to, but not limited to,the following clusters of topics:
A great deal of scholarship is currently directed to understanding the anxieties resulting from mass media as well as new social media platforms, and how reality or fakeness is produced. How is mass communication changing with new developments in technology? How are notions of authentic selves and face-to-face communication being disturbed, and what reactions are being provoked in response? Further, linguistic anthropology has always emphasized that all interaction is mediated in some way. When does the materiality of language, the increasingly varied forms through which linguistic signs are communicated, matter? How are particular affordances enabling and constraining how new forms and function emerge?
One long-term contribution of linguistic anthropology has been to show that messages cannot be reduced to denotationally explicit content, and that messages aren’t simply transmitted from sender or speaker to receiver or addressee. Messages today seem to come in any number of new or changed forms, which can reach participants at limited or larger scale–from gossip to the political candidate’s extended campaign, from text messages to viral memes. Other new message forms can emerge as part of new registers, styles, and genres. How are messages signaled, transmitted, and co-constituted? And how do new types of contexts and forms of participation change what counts as a message?
More historical work has sought to consider how change is shaped by the very structural relations found in language and semiosis. Under what conditions do new meanings become apparent to communities of speakers, and how are old meanings still playing a role?
Attention to affective stances and states is now a core area of research in studies of language and semiosis. How are such stances and states brought into being, and how are they connected to the multiple scales of communication and forms of mediation?