Re: [xmca] Journal Special Issue Call for Submissions ((Cognitive semiotics)

From: Elina Lampert-Shepel <ellampert who-is-at>
Date: Fri Oct 19 2007 - 07:32:21 PDT

Thank you, Mike. Very interesting.

On 10/18/07, Mike Cole <> wrote:
> This seems like something several readers might be interested in.
> mike
> Possibly of interest to some of us... -Seana
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 11:24:04 +0100
> From: Chris Sinha <>
> To:
> Subject: [Cogling-L] Journal Special Issue Call for Submissions
> Meaning and Materiality
> Eds. Chris Sinha, Cíntia Rodríguez, Jes Vang
> Deadline for submissions: May 5th 2008.
> We invite submissions for the inaugural volume of the Companion to
> Cognitive
> Semiotics, with the special theme of Meaning and Materiality.
> Companion to Cognitive Semiotics 1 (2008) will explore the semiotic status
> of the material world in human cognition, and the material dimension of
> semiosis and representation. Materiality (and material culture) is not
> only
> a rapidly growing research topic in a number of disciplines (anthropology,
> archaeology, evolutionary biology, linguistics, philosophy, psychology),
> but
> a central focus of an emerging new paradigm in the sciences of cognition
> and
> communication. The core theme of this issue will be the way in which
> "things" (objects, the material world) function as signifiers, and not
> just
> signifieds. We shall thus emphasize the semiotic dimension of extended,
> situated and distributed cognitive processes; and the material basis of
> meaning as more than a merely "mental" phenomenon. The role in cognitive
> development and evolution of artefacts and material culture is of great
> importance in this respect, and is increasingly emphasised in
> anthropology,
> archaeology and psychology.
> Materiality has been neglected by traditional approaches in all the
> disciplines we mention above, and in all of them it is receiving renewed
> attention. In archaeology, although material culture has always been the
> primary source of evidence, it has tended to be treated as a basis for
> dating sequences or as indicative of social organisation independently of
> cognitive considerations. More recent approaches, however, emphasize the
> "agentive" status of objects in cognition and its evolution.
> Anthropologists
> have tended to counterpose material to symbolic culture, identifying the
> latter with ideational and ideological systems. More recently, the notion
> of
> the "cognitive artefact" emphasizes the material foundations of cognitive
> schematization. In biological theory, the question is increasingly being
> raised of the status of the artefactual world as a niche constituting an
> integral part of the phenotype; from this perspective, semiotic systems
> (including language) can be seen as bo!
> th organismic and artefactual. In linguistics, the material world has
> traditionally been relegated to the status of "context of situation",
> whose
> role is to disambiguate utterance meanings. More recently, we see
> demonstrations of how objects are recruited into communicative
> interactions
> as semiotic resources in their own right. In philosophy, pragmatist and
> phenomenological approaches emphasize the importance of the extension of
> agency and the body by artefacts, and the distribution of cognition in the
> material surround of the body ("extended, situated embodiment"); and the
> notion of intersubjectivity is being complemented by that of
> interobjectivity.
> In psychology, the traditional view has been that "representation" is a
> mental category, and the materiality of objects has been dissolved into
> their identification with their "mental" counterparts. The role of objects
> in communicative development has concomitantly been reduced to their being
> "objects of attention". Important exceptions here have been J.J. Gibson's
> concept of "affordance", and L.S. Vygotsky's notion of semiotic mediation,
> which are central to contemporary attempts to integrate ecological and
> socio-cultural psychology with cognitive-functional linguistics and
> situated
> embodiment philosophical theories. In all the above approaches, an
> analysis
> of materiality in meaning goes hand in hand with an emphasis on the social
> nature of meaning and cognition.
> The status of materiality remains problematic in semiotics itself. While
> there is traditionally a consensus on the material nature of the
> signifier,
> there are serious problems with identifying what exactly constitutes
> "materiality", and how this is to be reconciled with other aspects of
> signification, such as temporal sequentiality, which are difficult to
> qualify as "material". And if we extend the concept of semiosis to include
> (for example) the affordances of objects, does this mean that "everything
> is
> a sign"?
> Our intention in this volume of is not only to provide a window on work in
> progress in a key area of research, but also to produce a unique
> interdisciplinary work of reference that will have significant influence
> on
> the development of interdisciplinary cognitive semiotics. We invite the
> submission of:
> * Empirical and theoretical research reports on specific aspects of
> meaning
> and materiality
> * "State of the Art" reviews of changing views of materiality in
> disciplines
> relevant to cognitive semiotics
> * Explorations of artefactuality and semiosis in human development and
> evolution, including cultural evolution, science and technology
> * Explorations of the role and implications of materiality in cognitive
> semiosis for artistic work, education and other areas of professional
> practice.
> We welcome multi-authored submissions.
> The editors of this inaugural volume of the Companion to Cognitive
> Semiotics, which will appear in December 2008, are:
> Chris Sinha, University of Portsmouth:
> Author of, amongst many other publications, Language and Representation: A
> socio-naturalistic approach to human development (Harvester-Wheatsheaf,
> 1988), which introduced the theoretical term "materiality of
> representation"
> within a pragma-semiotic approach to human development and evolution.
> Cíntia Rodríguez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid:
> Author of, amongst other publications, Del ritmo al símbolo. Los signos en
> el nacimiento de la inteligencia (Barcelona: Horsori, 2006). Co-author of
> El
> mágico número tres. (Barcelona: Paidós, 1999) and L'objet et la
> construction
> de son usage chez le bébé. Une approche sémiotique du développement
> préverbal (Bern-New York: Peter Lang (2005). All of these publications
> analyze triadic interactions (infants - adults - objects) from a pragmatic
> and semiotic perspective.
> Jes Vang, MA in Cognitive Semiotics (Aarhus University), co-founder and
> co-editor of the journal Cognitive Semiotics. Research interests revolve
> around the materiality of being (voice, body posture, etc.) in relation to
> emotions and interpersonal understanding.
> Potential contributors are encouraged to contact any of the editors in
> advance of submission. Submitted publications should follow the same style
> instructions as for Cognitive Semiotics (
> Address for electronic submissions:
> Deadline for submissions: May 5th 2008.
> The Companion to Cognitive Semiotics is an annual electronic publication
> which will complement the printed journal Cognitive Semiotics published
> internationally by Peter Lang Publishing Group. Starting from December
> 2008
> it will be available free of charge at the journals' website:
> As such it serves several purposes: 1) to
> present high quality research to a larger audience, 2) to allow for direct
> online debate of its articles (special forums will be set up), and 3) to
> introduce readers to the discipline of Cognitive Semiotics and,
> consequently, to the printed journal as well.
> All submissions to the Companion to Cognitive Semiotics will be peer
> reviewed using the same double blind protocol as submissions to Cognitive
> Semiotics. Copyright in articles in the Companion to Cognitive Semiotics
> will be vested in the author(s), who will agree to its electronic
> publication by the Companion to Cognitive Semiotics. The Companion to
> Cognitive Semiotics will provide a publication outlet for universally
> accessible, high impact and high quality original articles, with the same
> Editorial standards as Cognitive Semiotics.
> Further details can be found at
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Elina Lampert-Shepel
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education
Mercy College New Teacher Residency Program
Mercy College
66 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 615 3367
I have on my table a violin string. It is free. I twist one end of
it and it responds. It is free. But it is not free to do what a
violin string is supposed to do - to produce music. So I take it,
fix it in my violin and tighten it until it is taut. Only then it
is free to be a violin string.
               Sir  Rabindranath  Tagore.
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Received on Fri Oct 19 07:36 PDT 2007

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