CFP: The Semiotic Society of America (SSA) 42nd Annual Meeting




OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 29, 2017

This year’s conference theme intends to celebrate our vibrant host country, Mexico, and the long-standing importance of the concept of play to semiotics. From Charles Sanders Peirce’s “play of musement” to Jacques Derrida’s “play of signifiers” to Vygotsky’s foray into the semiotics of play in learning and development, the phenomenon of play proves to be an essential concept in theory and practice. Because of the interdisciplinary nature and scope of play (we find research on play in psychology, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, communication, music, theatre, visual design, game studies, literary studies, education, mass communication, advertising, and culture studies, for example), the play of signs and the signs of play seeks to stimulate a host of possible research questions for attendees to consider. How is play semiotically constituted in each of these areas of research? How is semiosis a function of play and imagination? What are the inter-relationships between play, ritual, festival, and the symbolic? In what ways do signs/play have a transgressive or subversive function? How do signs play, so to speak, with other signs? Our semiotic investigations into the significant interrelationships of play and signs should lend productive insights, meaningful discussions, and plenty of opportunity for serious play.

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 submitting individual papers and posters. Our Society is interdisciplinary and international, and we welcome voices from all communities, especially this year from our Central and South American colleagues. 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 to submit your abstract or proposal for panels and poster sessions. If you have any problems 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, 2017. Please 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 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. 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 March 1, 2017, and will continue until June 30, 2017.

Papers presented at the meeting will also be considered for publication in Semiotics 2017, 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 Meeting Program.

Student submissions are eligible for the Roberta Kevelson Award which will honor the best student paper presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting. 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 25, 2017. Questions regarding the Roberta Kevelson Award should be directed to the review committee chair, Dr. Frank Macke at

Special Events
In addition to scheduled paper sessions, there will be keynote and plenary speakers. The Presidential Address will be delivered by Deborah Smith-Shank, Professor of Arts Administration, Education & Policy, Ohio State University.

Poster Presentations (displayed during the entire conference)

Poster presentations of current research should highlight best practices and methodology. All posters will be peer reviewed. Submission of poster proposals on EasyChair should include a 1500-word brief description and a pdf of the poster design. Please plan for a 90×60 centimeter (35.43×2.62 inches) poster, designed in vertical format. Posters can be printed on location for a minimal cost (from 100 pesos=5USD to 180 pesos=9USD).

Puebla, Mexico is the host city for the 42nd SSA Annual Meeting. The meeting will take place at the conference center of The Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP). UPAEP is a private university, founded in 1973 and dedicated to serving the community by offering credited programs of excellence. Two airports serve the university area, one in Puebla (with direct connections from Houston, TX) and the other, Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City (about ninety minutes away). Bus transportation from the Mexico City airport has been arranged through AUTOBUSES ESTRELLA ROJA, inside the airport. The price for a single travel to Puebla is 14.22 USD=290 pesos. See:

Buses arrive in Puebla at “Terminal 4 Poniente,” which is close to the hotels and the university. Taxi service is available between the two.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided by several local hotels in the immediate vicinity of UPAEP. More details will be forthcoming. The average prices range from 43USD to 57USD.

Membership and Registration Fees
Please note that in accordance with Article 4, Section 4 of the SSA Constitution: “Only Individual, Student, and Honorary members in good standing may offer papers to the Program Committee for presentation at the meeting of the Society.” Membership must be in good standing at or before the time of abstract submission.

Membership Fees:
• SSA Membership Dues (Regular) – $50.00USD
• SSA Membership Dues (Student) – $30.00USD

Conference Registration Fees:
Conference Registration (Regular) – $170.00 (late registration of $200.00 after August 15, 2017)
Conference Registration (Student) – $75.00 (late registration of $90.00 after August 15, 2017)
Special day-passes for local faculty, staff, and students will be available in order to hear paper presentations ($15.00USD/day). Passes do not include any of the meals.

Meals Fee. There will be a separate fee (TBA) for the conference meals packet (which will include breakfasts, lunches, dinner banquet, and a welcome reception). More information is forthcoming.

To join the Society and register for the conference, please visit: 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 Puebla, Mexico!

2017 Program Committee

Deborah Eicher-Catt, Chair, The Pennsylvania State University-York

John Reid Perkins-Buzo, Southern Illinois University

Isaac E. Catt, Duquesne University

Javier Clavere, Berea College

Gilad Elbom, Oregon State University

Adam Ferguson, Binghamton University, SUNY

Frank Macke, Mercer University

Richard Currie Smith, Case Western University, Ohio

Dora Ivonne Alvarez Tamayo, UPAEP, Mexico

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