Grande Arche, ParisZS Digital Humanities - CoverTogether with Ellen Fricke and Roland Posner, I am general editor of the Zeitschrift für Semiotik (Journal of Semiotics), one of the leading semiotics journals (flyer).

Zeitschrift für Semiotik / Journal for Semiotics

The open access version of the Zeitschrift für Semiotik has been newly established in 2018. All articles will be put online under a Creative Commons license roughly one after this publication. The print version of the journal will be continued in its current form.

The journal publishes aticles in English and in German; it is listed in the ERIH PLUS index, in Scopus, Web of Science, and other indizes.

Thematic issue “Digital Humanities”

The thematic issue “Semiotics as a Theory of the Digital Humanities” investigates the challenges that are connected with the status of the digital humanities in relation to the humanities in general. The digital humanities cannot be reduced to technological and methodological innovations, because this would overlook the increasing influence they exert on the range of investigated phenomena and the theoretical underpinnings of the humanities. The thematic issue demonstrates, with contributions from a range of disciplines and theoretical vantage points, that semiotics, as an interdisciplinary approach that addresses the common foundations of all the humanities, can help to tackle these open questions. (All contributions in German, with English abstracts.)

Previous issues (selection)

Thematic issue “Biosemiotic ethics”

In the past two decades, biosemioticians such as Jesper Hoffmeyer and Kalevi Kull have began to tease out the ethical implications of biosemiotics. This impetus has continued in the last decade, with a new generation of scholars attending to these important issues.

The foundational argument is that if semiosis is a morally-relevant capacity, and if all living systems are semiotic, then biosemiosis can serve as the basis for justifying the attribution of moral status to humans, to animals, and in a larger perspective to all living beings. Biosemiotic ethics opens the road towards a non-functional ecological perspective that doesn't reduce other beings and ecosystems to their usefulness for human existence.

ZS Biosemiotic ethics - CoverThe issue has been guest-edited and prefaced by Morten Tønnessen, Jonathan Beever and Yogi Hale Hendlin, and contains original research articles in English and German by John Deely, Andreas Weber, Hans Werner Ingensiep, Jessica Ullrich, Konrad Ott, Gerald Ostdiek, and by the guest editors, as well as an interview with the legendary pioneer of the field, Wendy Wheeler. The table of contents as well as the abstracts of all articles are available online.

[May 2015:] Now online: my thoughts on the anti-semiotic movement in parts of philosophy (especially phenomenology), aesthetics, and image studies. I look at the arguments, show how semiotics can learn from them, and demonstrate connections of the anti-semiotic movement with trends against analytical and scientific approaches in the humanities.

[Feb 2015:] Visit the recently founded Virtual Centre for Cultural Semiotics!

Semiotics – Past and Future

I've learned semiotics at the Research Center for Semiotics in Berlin, which was founded by Roland Posner. He developed a classification of sign processes, building up from simple signs (such as signals and indizes) towards communication and speech acts; it is summarized in his article “Believing, Causing, Intending”. This is a truly groundbreaking work, clearly written (some background in analytical philosophy is helpful), and richly rewarding, if you take the time to work through it.

I've used this approach to analyse literary texts; it's currently also applied in gesture and film studies (e.g. here). If you're interested in communication, and how it relies on intentional states such as complex intentions and beliefs: Like it, you will.

Some of my thoughts on semiotics and its future – currently available only in German – packed into 10 theses; I'll try and translate them soon.

10 Thesen zur Semiotik und ihrer Zukunft

Please mail me with proposals or ideas.

Coffee semiotics