“Researching Semiotic Landscapes: New Directions, New Methods”

Tuesday 01 May 2018, 09:00 to 17:30 (with lunch)
Venue: Room A-119, UniS building, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, Bern

With funding from CUSO (Conférence universitaire de Suisse occidentale) and from X-SCAPES itself, we are pleased to offer a limited number of places to international doctoral researchers interested in joining Swiss doctoral researchers in a one-day workshop exploring issues of methodology in linguistic/semiotic landscapes.

This one‐day workshop is designed for emerging scholars whose work touches on the intersections between language/communication and space/place. Participants may be approaching the study of language and space from the perspective of sociolinguistic and discursive approaches, or from the perspective of literary or cultural studies. In either case, this workshop will be pointedly forward-looking, offering participants a chance to learn about some of the most cutting-edge work being done today in the fields of linguistic and/or semiotic landscapes.

During the course of the day, participants will engage in two applied “master classes” lead by internationally regarded scholars in the field of linguistic/semiotic landscapes and especially for their innovative teaching and research methods. Lunch has been organized at the Grosse Schanze restaurant in between sessions. The day will be rounded off with a short reflection moment (16:30 to 17:30) facilitated by Professor Crispin Thurlow the workshop convenor. Please note the readings which should be completed before the workshop.

Session 1 – 09:00 to 12:00
Dr David Malinowski , Yale University, USA

“(Re)learning semiotic landscapes”
In a recent Linguistic Landscape Journal special issue on Methodology, Szabó and Troyer (2017, p. 306) contend that “LL research is not only about space-, place, and sense-making routines, but how fieldwork encounters are also transformative and contribute to space-, place, and sense-making themselves.” Indeed, the growing number of studies on language and literacy learning in semiotic landscapes provides a rich illustration of this transformative potential, since to focus on learning is to foreground unfinished processes of knowledge-making. In this workshop, we will explore and enumerate rich points of connection between current principles and practices in language teaching and learning, on the one hand, and linguistic/semiotic landscape research methodologies, on the other. Through a series of hands-on exercises and reflections, it will invite participants to consider how languaging the interpretive, interpersonal, and performative moves of researchers and the researched may open new avenues for fieldwork and analysis.

Required readings

Malinowski, D. (2016). Localizing the transdisciplinary in practice: A teaching account of a prototype undergraduate seminar on linguistic landscape. L2 Journal, 8(4), 100–117. [Click here for PDF copy]

Malinowski, D. (forthcoming). Learning to translate linguistic landscape. In Pütz, M. & Mundt, N. (eds.), Expanding the linguistic landscape: Multilingualism, language policy and the use of space as a semiotic resource. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. [Click here for PDF copy]

Session 2 – 13:30 to 16:30
Prof. Tommaso Milani, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

“Body and affect”
In a forthcoming special issue of the journal Sociolinguistic Studies, Stroud, Peck and Williams (2019) seek to “push our understanding of social formations and how such formations emerge out of visceral readings of semiotic landscape”. Against this backdrop, the aim of this workshop is to explore what it means to flesh out the viscerality of space. More specifically, participants will be asked to discuss about the possibilities and constraints of operationalizing the body and affect in semiotic landscape analysis. In order to encourage as much participation and interaction as possible, participants in the workshop are required to bring some data (be it a photo, a newspaper article, a textbook extract, or any other linguistic and/or visual text) space, affect and/or bodies are or might be relevant analytical entry points.

Required reading

Milani Tommaso M. (2015) Sexual cityzenship: Discourses, spaces and bodies at Jo’burg Pride 2012. Journal of Language and Politics 14(3): 431-454. [Click here for PDF copy]

Milani Tommaso M. and Levon Erez (2016) Sexing diversity: Linguistic landscapes of homonationalism. Language & Communication 51: 69-86. [Click here for PDF copy]


Registration for the workshop is now closed.

Costs for local members of CUSO are covered. The registration fee for non-members is partly subsidized by X-SCAPES and set at CHF20 (including both lunch and the post-workshop apéro). This workshop fee should be paid along with the conference registration fee, please.

If you have any questions about the one-day workshop, please send an email to Maida Bilkic (maida.bilkic@ens.unibe.ch) rather than to the main X-SCAPES organizers.