Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bodies in motion conference

The following conference will feature an introduction from Prisca Augustyn on 'Uexküll and Biosemiotics'

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CFP: Distributed language group

Grounding language in perception and (inter) action
A Symposium of the Distributed Language Group

June 4-6, 2009
Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts USA

Abstracts due December 3, 2008
The following invited speakers have agreed to participate in the Symposium:
Philip Carr, Département d'anglais, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier,France
Carol Fowler, Haskins Laboratories and Department of Psychology, Universityof Connecticut, Storrs, USA
Bruno Galantucci, Haskins Laboratories and Department of Psychology, Yeshiva University, New York, USA
Alexander Kravchenko, Department of Foreign Languages, Baikal National University of Economics and Law, Irkutsk, Russian Federation
Nigel Love, Department of Linguistics, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Robert Port, Departments of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, IndianaUniversity, Bloomington, USA
Joanna Raczaszek-Leonardi, Department of Cognitive Psychology, University ofWarsaw, Poland, and University of Bologna, Italy
Paul Thibault, Department of Linguistics and Media Communication, Agder University, Kristiansand, Norway
Guy Van Orden, Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, USA

Organizers: Bert Hodges (Gordon College) and Stephen J. Cowley (Universityof Hertfordshire)


Abstracts due December 3, 2008
We invite original papers that contribute to the conference theme, Grounding language in perception and (inter) action.
Papers should address language(or conversing) as situated in the context of interaction, action, andperception, or, more strongly, as distributed, dialogical, and directed (i.e., intentional, normative) modes of interaction, perception, and action.
Papers may be theoretical, empirical, interpretive (e.g., reviews), and/or methodological in their focus. We especially invite papers that address ecological and dynamical accounts of perception, action, and language.
For more information about our objectives, topics, and speakers, etc., see following pages.
Paper sessions will be either about 50 minutes or 25 minutes in length. Ample time should be left for discussion. In other words, papers should be about 20 or 40 minutes long.
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate requests for preferred length, but we will take it into account in organizing the program.
Abstracts of 300- 450 words are due December 3, 2008. They will be reviewed by at least two readers and you will be notified by January 2, 2009 of theiracceptance or not. If you need to know sooner if your paper will beaccepted, please notify one of the organizers.
Send abstracts to: or
Gordon College is a beautiful campus about 45 minutes north of Boston on the historic North Shore, near Salem, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Gloucester.

The Distributed Language Group (DLG) is an international, grass-roots group of scholars from a variety of disciplines (e.g., linguistics, psychology,artificial intelligence, philosophy, anthropology) that have come together to develop creative and viable alternatives to conventional accounts of language (e.g., formal, cognitive, structural) in linguistics and related disciplines. For those desiring to participate who are new to DLG, consulting the special issue of Language Sciences (2007, 29, 5), edited byStephen Cowley, may provide a starting point for contributing to our ongoingdiscussion.

Our first conference was held at Cambridge University in 2005 with the theme of "Cognitive dynamics in language" and was hosted by Stephen Cowley. In 2007 Paul Thibault hosted us at Agder University College in Grimstad, Norway in a symposium entitled "Language dynamics and the phenomenology of individual experience." Some of the papers presented at the Cambridge conference were published as a special issue of Language Sciences (2007, 29). In addition there have been several other conferences(e.g., language and robotics, external symbol grounding) and publicationssponsored by DLG that are mentioned on the group's webpage,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Roentgen semiotics

Worth checking out this collection of articles. I've found them rather compelling since the publication of the first, at Sebeok's instigation, in 2000.


The following may be of interest. A great deal of cultural studies at the moment seems to be alighting on the 'bio', partly inspired by Agamben and, ultimately, that old chestnut, Foucault. They claim that "We are not necessarily nominalists", although, of course, they are - certainly at this stage. In general, they may be seen to be going in the right direction, albeit in a series of detours and backtracking. I flag this up to give an indication of what the prefix 'bio' is currently entailing. Announcement follows:

Bio/Cultural Studies
[Individuals interested in participating in this Cultural Studies Association seminar should contact Bernice Hausman at or Brad Lewis at Deadline: 14 November 2008.]
Seminar Description:
Lennard Davis and David Morris, in their “Biocultures Manifesto” that opens the summer 2007 special issue of New Literary History on Biocultures, argue that the field of intellectual endeavor encompassing biocultural studies exists but needs a name. They write, “We are not necessarily nominalists, but we do believe in the power of a name to consolidate scattered research agendas and to generate change.” Their manifesto is a clarion call to begin to reconceptualize the existing cross-fertilization of scientific investigation with cultural inquiry, broadly construed.
We are interested in a more pointed version, or subfield, of biocultures that sets cultural studies against, or into, biomedicine. Some of the more interesting variants of this field explore biopsychiatry and detail the emergence of the “neurochemical person” (N. Rose) and/or the “pharmaceutical person” (E. Martin). The bio/cultural studies approach to medicine cannot rest on a “cultural critique” of science and its objectified research paradigms. Instead, biocultures demands a kind of interpenetration of objectives from both fields, assuming that the alleviation of suffering is approached authentically in both cultural analysis (where the goal is often social justice) and medicine (where physical suffering begins the diagnostic enterprise and ending it is the goal). In this way, bio/cultural studies is about critique but also collaboration; as a paradigm it insists on new research questions that straddle the edge of the “two cultures” so famously described by C. P. Snow.
Seminar Requirements:
This seminar is for scholars and scholar-activists interested in learning more about what we are calling bio/cultural studies and in developing research questions and projects in this field. We will circulate a set of texts to seminar participants in February, and ask for brief (5-page) descriptions of projects, research areas, or developed research questions in mid-March. These will be shared with all seminar participants in late March. The object of the seminar itself will be to workshop these projects and questions to aid participants in the development of their projects, and to establish an ongoing research network of scholars. We will also discuss funding opportunities and cross-discipline collaborations that will allow research in this field to impact medical practice, biomedical research, and public health initiatives both nationally and globally. It is our belief that bio/cultural studies is not a project enclosed within academic contexts but one that should reach out to affect practices and policies worldwide.
Seminar Moderators:
Bernice L. Hausman, PhD, is professor of English at Virginia Tech and a teaching affiliate in Women’s Studies and Science and Technology Studies. Educated in feminist and critical theory, she has spent her career studying medicine, gender, sexed bodies, and motherhood. Her research addresses how human embodiment has become both a problem for, and a project of, modernity. Her books include Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender (1995) and Mother’s Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies in American Culture (2003).
Bradley Lewis, MD, PhD is an assistant professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with affiliated appointments in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of Psychiatry. He has dual training in humanities and medicine (with a psychiatric specialty), and he writes and teaches at the interface of cultural studies, medicine, and humanities. Lewis is the author of Moving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New Psychiatry: Birth of Postpsychiatry and is associate editor for the Journal of Medical Humanities.
Contact information:
Bernice L. Hausman, English Dept. (0112), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061; 540-231-5076;
Bradley E. Lewis, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University, 715 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003-6806; 212-998-7313;