Second Spring quarter meeting, Monday, May 6th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building

We will be reading the introduction of Martha Lampland’s book ms. The Value of Labor – The Science of Work and the Work of Science.

In the book, Lampland chronicles the history of agrarian work science in Hungary, initially in the capitalist interwar period as a means to modernize manorial production, and then as the cornerstone of socialist wages in cooperative farms during the Stalinist period. The overarching concern is to trace the mechanisms entailed in commodifying labor and rationalizing production, i.e. the extensive work required to construct an infrastructure of labor value independently of market forces, and the enormous efforts expended by the party/state to alter the ways people work with each other in cooperative production. The project relates to our work in the reading group by studying the formalizing practices of economics—e.g. mathematical formulae and commensuration exercises (monetization)—as crucial components of capitalist fetishization.

If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend, please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Second Spring quarter meeting, Monday, May 6th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building

First Spring quarter meeting Monday, April 8th at 11:00 AM in the Humanities Center, Literature Building, 3rd floor

The Signs in Society Workshop will be having our first meeting of the Spring quarter on Monday, April 8th at 11:00 AM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building. We will be reading the first chapter of Brian Rotman’s book, Mathematics as a Sign and asking difficult questions about mathematics as a semiotic system, the referents (or lack thereof) of mathematical signs, and the implications of analyzing mathematics as a situated communicative practice.

Please download the chapter from the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ryjuoos2873czo/Rotman%20toward%20a%20semiotics%20of%20mathematics.pdf

Hope to see you there!

**********
If you you cannot download the file, have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,

please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First Spring quarter meeting Monday, April 8th at 11:00 AM in the Humanities Center, Literature Building, 3rd floor

Tad Skotnicki Workshop, March 18th at 12:00 PM, Literature Building, 3rd floor

The Signs in Society Workshop is pleased to announce that we will be discussing the following work by Tad Skotnicki, Ph.D. Candidate in the department of Sociology, on Monday, March 18th at 12:00 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building:

**********
Ethical Vision, Ethical Buying

Can shoppers be transformed into “ethical consumers”? At the turn of the 20th century, consumer activists in the United States and England sought to answer this question affirmatively, arguing that the solution to sweatshop labor, urban squalor, and industrial conflict could be found in ethical consumption. In their efforts, they trusted in the power of vision to motivate people to become ethical consumers. If people could only see through the anonymity of circulating commodities to the conditions under which goods were produced, they would be compelled to consume righteously. I argue that this visual model of action, bound up as it is with specific understandings of consumption in industrial capitalist societies, helps us understand activists’ attempts to mobilize consumers. Their projects cast a long shadow, making it possible for us to locate analogous assumptions in contemporary discussions of ethical consumption. Such continuities ask us to consider how “ethical vision and ethical action” expresses a distinctively capitalist understanding of consumption.

**********
If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,

please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

*

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tad Skotnicki Workshop, March 18th at 12:00 PM, Literature Building, 3rd floor

Morana Alac Workshop March 4th, 12:00 Lit Building 3rd floor

The Signs in Society Workshop is pleased to announce that we will be discussing the following work by Morana Alac, Associate Professor in Communications and Science Studies, on Monday, March 4th at 12:00 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building:

**********
Digital Scientific Visuals as Fields for Interaction

As visual renderings in sciences are becoming increasingly entangled with computers and computational formats, their digital materiality calls for a distinct approach. To tackle the digitality of scientific visuals attention turns to how they are engaged as a part of local, interactionally produced, recognized, and understood embodied practices. This turn to the dynamic bond between computers and scientists’ working and gesturing bodies has consequences for the understanding of those visuals as it calls for an examination of their representational status and their boundaries. The move, furthermore, allows us to recover aspects of phenomena that scientists engage with in the laboratory. In other words, by turning toward the scientific visuals as an interface between digital screens and lived bodies we attend to the objects of knowledge as they are enacted in the midst of the everyday work of science.

PLEASE CONTACT Dr. Alac at alac@ucsd.edu for a copy of the paper.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Morana Alac Workshop March 4th, 12:00 Lit Building 3rd floor

February 4th, 12:00 Lit Building 3rd floor

The Signs in Society Workshop will be discussing the following work by Kevin Henner, Ph.D. student in the department of Anthropology, on Monday, February 4th at 12:00 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building:

**********
Abstract:
Papua New Guinea’s population of 7 million stands out among the scattered islands of the Pacific region. A 2009 estimate by the National Department of Health estimated that 0.92% of the adult population was living with HIV. In the highlands, the prevalence is higher—just over one percent. Paul Farmer has called for a “biosocial” model in order to better express the role of economic and political inequality in shaping the course of the AIDS pandemic. Farmer has written that the disease tracks along “steep gradients of inequality.” Little significant contact was made with the Huli of the Southern Highlands Province until the sixties. Pacification, conversion, and participation in wage labor and the cash economy led to rapid and significant changes in Huli lifestyle. In this paper, I propose that a careful extension of Farmer’s theory can help us to better understand the course of the epidemic in a context of cultural change. In a context where participation in the cash economy has been associated with increased risk of HIV transmission, poverty might be an inadequate measure of inequality. I suggest that a more general concept of uncertainty can better trace the paths of contagion, diagnosis, and stigma

**********
If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,

please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

*************************

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on February 4th, 12:00 Lit Building 3rd floor

Michael Berman, Tuesday, December 4th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center, Lit. Building, 3rd Floor

The Signs in Society Workshop will be discussing the following work on Tuesday, December 4th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building:

**********
“Working out the ins of groups:  Producing Buddhists and/against/as (neo)liberal modernity,” by Michael Berman, Ph.D. student in the anthropology department at UCSD (who happens to be me).

In this paper, I use the analytic categories of “firstness,” “secondness,” and “thirdness” developed by the practicing scientist and semeiotician Charles Sanders Peirce to explore the tension between self/other and internality/externality in relation to the constitution of groups.  In-and-by so doing, I build an analytic framework that allows for analyses of groups that sail safely between the rocky scylla of boundedness and the whirling charybdis of pure becoming.  This, in turn, is accomplished without reducing the sociocultural reality of groups to the status of either symbolic concept or determinant, objective material.  Applied as an analysis of Risshō Kōsei-kai, a Buddhist group in Japan commonly categorized as a “new religion,” this framework allows me to use such varied theorists as Marx, Massumi, Deacon, Foucault, MacIntyre, Trouillot and others to shed light on the contemporary role of work, power, desire, and suffering in constituting the complex relations between the habitual patterns of action that we generally call “religion,” “liberalism,” and “capitalism.”  As such, I hope that this paper will be of interest to many, and that it will foment some interesting debate. I look forward to your critiques!

**********

If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,

please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Michael Berman, Tuesday, December 4th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center, Lit. Building, 3rd Floor

Meeting Tuesday, November 6th at 12:30 PM

The Signs in Society Workshop will be discussing the following works on Tuesday, November 6th at 12:30 PM in the Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Lit. Building:

**********

Hegel’s “Preface to the Phenomenology” and “The Master-Slave Dialectic,” both of which can be found at:http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/index.htm

Marx’s “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General” in his Philosophical and Economic Manuscripts of 1844:http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/hegel.htm  (or, if you have the Marx-Engels reader, the portion of “Manuscripts of 1844” starting on p. 106)

Peirce’s “Pragmatism and Mathematics” and “Pragmatism Defined”

Additionally, it might be useful for some to read the opening essay of Bakhtin’s “Art and Answerability,” entitled, shockingly, “Art and Answerability”

Please contact  Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu) for PDFs of the Peirce and Bakhtin texts.

**********

These essays will be read as a challenge to Kantian and neo-Kantian epistemologies that maintain an absolute rupture between the infinite and the finite, the noumenal and the phenomenal, and the material and the ideal.  We will discuss the implications of these works for such fundamental semeiotic notions as process, triadic relations, and internality/externality, though we welcome and encourage those with backgrounds outside of semeiotics to attend and present alternative perspectives on these works.  Please come having read the works and ready for lively conversation!

If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,

please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meeting Tuesday, November 6th at 12:30 PM

Terrence Deacon, October 9th, 12:30 – 4:00pm De Certeau Room Lit Building 1st floor

The Signs in Society Workshop is very pleased to present:

************************

Prof. Terrence Deacon
(Chair, Anthropology Dept., UC Berkeley)

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter

Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 12:30 – 2:00pm Presentation and 2:00 – 4:00pm Workshop

Please note room change:

De Certeau room (Lit. Building 1st Floor room 155)

*************************

We encourage all participants to come having read Professor Deacon’s highly acclaimed book, which is available for order from major book retailers and is already available in digital form from Google Play and iBooks. The work provides a wonderful opportunity to bridge disciplines and philosophical-scientific traditions, using a semiotic framework and analyzing topics as varied as thermodynamics and suffering in order to provide a theory that overcomes entrenched oppositions of mind/matter, science/philosophy, material/meaning, etc. We hope that you will join us for this exciting discussion!

If you have questions or believe you may need assistance to attend,
please contact Michael Berman (mberman@ucsd.edu) or Katrin Pesch (kpesch@ucsd.edu).

We invite you to join SSW at our meetings this quarter on Oct. 9th, Nov. 6th, and Dec. 4th convened at 12:30PM in the UCSD Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Literature Bldg.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Terrence Deacon, October 9th, 12:30 – 4:00pm De Certeau Room Lit Building 1st floor

The Signs and Society Workshop (SSW)

A convergence is happening across the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences — a convergence where scholars are recognizing the critical traction of analyzing the social action of signs, broadly defined. The Signs and Society Workshop (SSW) at UC–San Diego stands at the crossroads of this transdisciplinary colloquy. During the academic year, we will discuss classical texts, present our own works-in-progress, and invite outside speakers to push forward this crosscutting conversation about the social action of signs.

By signs, we mean anything that stands in relation to something else (capturing a quality of it, gesturing to it, as well as standing for it) so as to generate an interpretation or communicate a quality of meaning or significance. With social action, we mean the process through which signs, including human subjects or aspects of them, come to be enacted by or within subsequent sign relations. The main implications of this inherently dynamic and relational approach are that social sign action is: 1) continuous – potentially infinite – across domains that we typically separate, frequently by a disciplinary division of labor; and 2) capable of both radically changing as well as reproducing enduring tendencies or habits at any geo-historical scale. In this respect, questions of power and authority are essential in investigating both the continuity and transformation of signs in action.

These definitions are provisional. A deep and shared conversation is just beginning to coalesce. This working group has formed on the conviction that such an approach is worth pursuing collectively, across the disciplines, and can be particularly well taken up by scholars here at UC-San Diego who bring varied expertise in the social action of signs, known also as semeiotic.

We invite you to join SSW at our meetings at noon on the second Tuesday of every month, convened at the UCSD Humanities Center on the 3rd floor of the Literature Bldg. Participants should read the papers in advance, available from the specific authors directly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Signs and Society Workshop (SSW)

Hello world!

Welcome to UCSD Center for the Humanities Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hello world!