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Preview for Inaugural SLA Spring 2017 Conference

The Society for Linguistic Anthropology is excited to announce that our association will soon be open to receive submissions to our inaugural conference. The conference organizing committee is working with AAA to get the registration site set up in addition to a website connected to the SLA page that will provide detailed information about the event, submission instructions, accommodations, and transportation.

In anticipation of this site being launched soon, we are now circulating the CFP so that colleagues can be aware of the conference theme and the types of submissions we seek.  Please read on and consider submitting…

CFP, SLA Conference, Spring 2018

New: Media, Meanings, Messages, E-Motions

Inaugural Conference of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology
March 8-10; University of Pennsylvania

Society for Linguistic Anthropology Meeting

March 8-10
, 2018, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

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  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?

We encourage participants to submit presentations connected generally to the conference theme.

Papers & Panels

Presentations of individual papers are welcome. Submit proposals for panel sessions (500 word abstract plus participant abstracts) or proposals for individual papers (250 word abstract).


Poster presentations are an excellent venue for generating useful discourse on the topic being presented.  The SLA conference will set aside a period specifically for poster presentations, during which all presenters are expected to be at their posters and all in attendance are strongly encouraged to view the posters and interact with the presenters.  Posters will remain in the poster area throughout the conference.  Poster proposals should take the form of a 250 word abstract which may also include images.

Multimedia installations

Much of our most interesting data can be difficult to share in the context of a traditional oral presentation.  The SLA conference will offer the opportunity to present multimodal data in creative ways which more effectively represent the research being presented.  Unfettered by the tight time constraints and necessary linearity of presenting as part of a panel, those who choose to create a multimodal installation should maximize the possibilities of allowing an audience to engage their research.  Multimedia installation proposals must include a description of the various types of data to be presented, and the equipment requirements for the installation.  Headphones, screens, means of making tactile data available, etc.  Installation proposals should take the form of a 500 word abstract, including a description of the content of the installation, its argument, and the types of data to be included.

Panel session organizers should include a list of the names and affiliations of their session’s panelists along with the panel abstract (250 words).  They do not submit the panelists’ abstracts.  Instead, panelists must first register and then submit their abstract (500 words) as an “Individual paper” noting in the first line of the abstract the full title of the panel on which they are a participant.