Semiotic Landscapes of Southeastern Europe

(May 28-29, 2021, Island of Cres)

The Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe (CAS SEE) at University of Rijeka in conjunction with the Berlin Centre for Transnational Border Research “Border Crossings – Crossing Borders” at Humboldt University is organizing a two-day conference (May 28-29, 2021) in Moise Palace on the Island of Cres.

Studying the diversities of human meaning-making on public display allows for expedient insights into visualized social patterns and allows for a wide range of possible research subjects from different disciplines. Drawing on Halliday’s observation that “there can be no semiotic act that leaves the world exactly as it was before” (2002: 254), any instance of shaping the landscape can in itself be seen as both a cause for and a consequence of political, cultural, economic and other meaning-making. The planned conference aims at bringing together recent research considering any such semiotic acts and their interpretation(s) in Southeastern Europe.

The concept of semiotic landscapes, although initially mainly appealing work on writing and image in the public space (Jaworski & Thurlow 2010: 2), neatly embraces various possible occurrences of humans shaping place and creating space. Verbal as well as nonverbal modes of engaging with the outer world may create very particular semiotic landscapes, while possibly alluding to more specific concepts such as semiotic regimes (van Leeuwen 2005: 53), geosemiotics (Scollon & Wong Scollon 2003) or semiospheres (Lotman 2002/1982). The diverse geographical and social premises of Southeastern Europe, where hegemonic discourses have been both questioned and changing in (recent) history, provide a promising frame for researching the sign and the public space in all their potential interconnection.

Possible topics when contributing to this workshop include (but are not limited to):
– visual cultures of everyday life
– public discourses and memoryscapes
– linguistic landscape studies and graffscapes
– activist encounters in public space
– manifestations of the urban/rural divide
– communist and post-communist public space-making
– socialist vs. capitalist semiotic meaning-making
– ideological accounts and claims of public space

Drawing on a growing number of research initiatives and outcomes on visually tangible discourses in Southeastern Europe, this workshop aims at providing room for exchanging academic, artistic, activist work on semiotic landscapes in Southeastern Europe.

Please send your abstract of up to 500 words to and by November 15, 2020. Papers may be in Croatian, English, or German.

We will publish a (peer-reviewed) volume, for which proposals will be welcomed at a later stage. More information on this publication project will be communicated at the beginning of 2021.

There will be compensation for participants for travel expenses and accommodation, whether this will be full or in part reimbursement depends on ongoing fundraising efforts.

UNIRI The Moise Palace: Cres Island

An education center of the University of Rijeka. A five-hundred-year-old patrician townhouse and the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. A venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, it welcomes visiting academics, students and scholars.