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We are pleased to announce that the postponed 4th conference of the International Association of Cognitive Semiotics (IACS) will take place June 15-18, 2022, as an online conference hosted by the RWTH Aachen University in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany and the KU Leuven, Belgium. Conference schedule, online tool (Gathertown), online access etc. will be announced as soon as possible. 

Cognitive Semiotics

Cognitive semiotics is the study of meaning-making, both in language and by means of other sign vehicles, as well as in perception, and in action. Cognitive semiotics investigates the properties of our meaningful interactions with our surroundings in all domains. We integrate perspectives, methods and insights from cognitive science, cognitive linguistics and semiotics, placing signs and sign use (in the broadest sense) into the wider context of cognitive, social, and neurobiological processes, using experimental methods, as well as classical text analysis and theory.

The International Association for Cognitive Semiotics

IACS (founded 2013) aims at establishing cognitive semiotics as a trans-disciplinary study of meaning. The IACS conference series seeks to gather scholars and scientists in semiotics, cognitive science, linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, art history and theory, media studies, and related fields, who wish to share their research on meaning and contribute to the interdisciplinary endeavor of cognitive semiotics. Previous conferences were held in Lund (2014), Lublin (2016), and Toronto (2018).

IACS4 conference theme

The conference theme of IACS4 2022 is SEMIOTIC COMPLEXITIES: Theory & Analysis. It aims to account for the complexities of semiotics, that is, for the intricacies of semiotic processes in a broad range of semiotic systems, with a focus on either cognitive, monomodal, crossmodal or multimodal processes of meaning construal. While the theme is rather broad and non-restrictive, it is intended to encourage contributions showing how theoretical frameworks and methods of analysis may mutually enhance each other and thus offer truly new insights into the merits of semiotic inquiry and advance the cross-disciplinary enterprise of cognitive semiotics.

In this light, THEORY here is meant to include influential semiotic theories (as proposed by, e.g. Eco, Greimas, Jakobson, Lothman, Peirce, Saussure), as well as theoretical concepts and principles that are central to cognitive linguistics, general linguistics, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and the cognitive sciences more broadly. ANALYSIS encompasses qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods and tools, as well as mixed-methods approaches developed to derive emerging patterns and regularities but also unique instances of meaning-making in both static and dynamic semiotic fabrics.


Topics of the conference include (but are not limited to)

  • semiotic theory
  • cognitive linguistics
  • cognitive poetics
  • cognitive anthropology 
  • gesture and sign language
  • embodied interaction
  • ecological approaches to meaning-making
  • phenomenology
  • embodiment, enaction
  • multimodality (e.g., film, music, cartoons, comics, advertisement)       
  • modality-specificity and crossmodal principles of meaning-making
  • narrativity across different media
  • semiotics and art history/archeology/architecture/aesthetics
  • visual analysis (images, the visual arts, architecture, etc.)
  • iconicity and indexicality (incl. viewpoint) in language and other semiotic resources
  • metonymy and metaphor across modalities
  • intersubjectivity and mimesis in evolution and development 
  • linguistic and cultural relativity
  • semiotic and cognitive development in children
  • biological and cultural evolution of human cognition/communication
  • embodiment and spatial cognition
  • semiotic foundations of digital humanities 
  • experimental semiotics
  • biosemiotics / neurosemiotics
  • technosemiotics (e.g., social robotics)