IASS Meetings

On this page we provide an introductory overview on all Congresses of the IASS-AIS. More detailed information can be found on the links below.

The IASS-AIS Congresses are the international scientific events in semiotics, so far organized every five years (except the one in Guadalajara, Mexico, which already took place after three years). They are the most visible and thus the most widely known activity of the Association. The following listing is of past, present and future IASS-AIS Congresses.

12th New Semiotics: between Tradition and Innovation – Sofia, Bulgaria, 16-20 September 2014

Sofia, 16-20 September 2014, New Bulgarian University.

Call for papers is

11. Global Semiotics: Bridging Different Civilizations: Nanjing, China,  October 5 – 9, 2012

Towards the IASS11 in China

On the Eve of the World Congress in Nanjing: Presidential Address

The 11th World Congress of Semiotics which was held in Nanjing, China, from 5th to 9th October 2012

10. Culture of Communication, Communication of Culture: La Coruña, Spain, September 22-25, 2009

Program / Call for Paper

10th International Congress of the IASS-AIS.

The 10th World Congress of Semiotics which was held from 22nd to 26th September 2009 in the city of A Coruña (Spain)

9. Understanding/Misunderstanding: Helsinki/Imatra, Finland, June 11-17, 2007

Program / Call for papers

The 9th World Congress of Semiotics, was held on 11–17 June 2007 at the
University of Helsinki, and at International Semiotics Institute at Imatra.
The congress took place in the two locations as follows:
Helsinki: Monday–Wednesday, 11–13 June 2007
Imatra: Thursday–Sunday, 14–17 June 2007

9th International Congress of the IASS-AIS.

8. Signs of the World: Interculturality and Globalization: Lyon, France, July 7-12, 2004
Los signos del mundo: Interculturalidad y Globalización |Les signes du monde : Interculturalité et Globalisation | Zeichen der Welt: Interkulturalität und Globalisierung

The 8th Congress was held in Lyon, France: July 7-12, 2004.

7. Sign Processes in Complex Systems: Dresden, Germany, 7-11 October 1997
Significación en los sistemas complejos | Sémioses dans les systèmes complexes | Zeichenprozesse in komplexen Systemen

The 7th Congress was held in Dresden, Germany, at the Technical University . The President of the Organizing Committee, Walter Schmitz, is the vice-rector of the University. The members of the Scientific Committee were:

Jeff Bernard, John Deely, Gérard Deledalle, Takashi Fujimoto, Adrián S. Gimate-Welsh, Dinda L. Gorlée, Richard L. Lanigan, Solomon Marcus, Magdolna Orosz , Pierre Pellegrino (chair), Roland Posner, Rosa María Ravera, Horst Ruthrof, Lúcia Santaella, Thomas A. Sebeok, Eero Tarasti, Vilmos Voigt, Gloria Withalm.

On the 7IASS-99 pages you will find parts of the program (plenary lectures & sessions) and the abstracts of all plenary lectures and sessions. A report on the Congress, a detailed list of all session papers and the HTML-version of the abstracts of all individual papers are in preparation and will be available in about two months. You can also the program (one large PDF-file) from the Dresden website.

The 7th Congress was not only a singular event, but it was scheduled to be the last congress in a tremendous chain of conferences, starting in La Coruña, Spain with the 4th International Congress of the Federación Latinoamericana de Semiótica (September 27 – October 2, 1999) on the topic “Fin de siglo / Fin de milenio”, and continuing in Dresden with the 9th International Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Semiotik DGS / German Semiotic Association (October 3-6, 1999) on “Machines and History”.

6. Semiotics Bridging Nature and Culture: Guadalajara, Mexico, July 1997
La semiótica. Intersección de la naturaleza y de la cultura | La sémiotique: carrefour de la nature et de la culture

Hundreds of semioticians from all over the world responded to the invitation of the IASS-AIS and the local host, Adrián S. Gimate-Welsh (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico), and gathered in Guadalajara, capital of the State of Jalisco, for five days of intensive scientific exchange and dialog, and thus followed the general idea for the 6th Congress, as expressed in the title:

“The development of science during the last decades has shown the need of an interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars investigating nature and culture in the different corners of the world. Semiotics has shown that it has an important role to play in this scientific intercourse:

It provides a sign-theoretic basis for the coming together of anthropologists, linguists, literary critics, communicologists, mathematicians, biologists, physicists, and others, in an open debate to increase our knowledge about ourselves in our relation with nature and culture.” (Call for Papers)

A wide range of topics was discussed in the numerous sections as well as in the plenary lectures of the invited speakers:

Junzo Kawada (Japan), Michael O’Toole (Australia), Mieke Bal (The Netherlands), Floyd Merrell (USA), Thomas A. Sebeok (USA)

The Proceedings, edited by Adri´n S. Gimate Welsh, of the 6th Congress are available since September 1999, and – for the first time in the history of the IASS Congresses – they are published on a CD-ROM. In addition, a printed book selectionwill appear in 2000.

In the IASS-AIS Bulletin-Annual ’97 -’99 you can find detailed information on the Congress. All this material will also be included in our Congress pages, for a first glimpse – look at the picture of the participants. The entire program with all participants and the titles of their papers is still available on the Web: “” (one very large document).

5. Semiotics Around the World: Synthesis in Diversity: Berkeley, June 1994

The Congress organizers Irmengard Rauch and Gerald F. Carr (who are also the editors of the Proceedings, 1997) understood “diversity” in several ways, only one was geographical, with a session presenting the state-of-the-art in various parts of the world.

“Semiotic theory and application will intermingle within a vast array of arts and sciences, as semiotists from the international community converge in California to address worldwide intellectual challenges at the dawn of a new millenium. The Congress title […] reflects openness and tolerance as themes inherent in semiotic method, suggesting that differences serve to strengthen rather than to divide.” (Call for Papers)

(For a mosaic of reports cf. “5th Congress of the IASS-AIS” in: Bernard, Withalm & Réthoré 1996: 38-62; these reports are also available on this site — cf. the 5IASS-94 pages)

4. Signs of Humanity: Perpignan & Barcelona, 1989
L’homme et ses signes

The organization of the 4th Congress was somehow an experiment; in the year of the Millenium of Catalonia it took place in two closely related Catalonian cities. The theme for the Congress was explained by the Congress President and general editor of the Proceedings, Gérard Deledalle, in his “Presentation. Semiotics Comes of Age”:

“Because cultures induce specific interpretants, because the new means of communication in the world of today have introduced new types of signs and because the very meaning of ‘culture’ has changed at the very moment when the scale of values which culture promoted in the name of the Human Rights, was ruined by the same Human Rights, new problems appeared which semiotics has to solve and with which it deals here.” (Balat & Deledalle-Rhodes 1992: vii)

Five years later, the title of the above-quoted Proceedings‘ third volume, “Semiotics in the World”, and the inclusion of non-Western semiotic traditions became programmatic for the 5th Congress, the first one not held in Europe.

3. Semiotic Theory and Practice: Palermo, June 1984

Taking the diversity within semiotics into account, the four major topics of the 3rd Congress included not only a (re)definition of semiotics but also of its relation to contiguous fields: “Theoretical Semiotics”, “Semiotics and the History of Semiotics”, “Semiotics and the Humanities”, and “Semiotics and the Natural Sciences”. Consequently, the editors of the Proceedings, Michael Herzfeld and Lucio Melazzo, discuss in their “Editorial Note” the “complex intertext that this semiotic enterprise represents” (1988: v)

2. Semiotics Unfolding: Vienna, June 1979

Both the program and the Proceedings (Borbé 1984) reveal that the organizers of the Vienna Congress and the Program Committee tried to present semiotics in all of the various ways in which it had developed since Milano. According to Cesare Segre, then President of the IASS-AIS,

“la sémiotique occupe aujourd’hui une position de relief parmi les sciences humaines, ses propositions théoriques opèrent en profondité. Si au début la sémiotique pouvait être considérée comme une expérimentation audacieuse, peut-être aussi une mode, elle est maintenant un élément fondamental de notre culture, à laquelle elle a donné des instruments d’interprétation globale.” (Borbé 1984: vi)

On the other hand, the multitude of topics and approaches presented at the Congress led to the often repeated question posed in the Closing Session: “Can Semiotics Be Unified?”

1. A Semiotic Landscape: Milano, June 1974
Panorama Sémiotique

In his “Preface” to the Proceedings of the Milano Congress (Chatman, Eco & Klinkenberg 1979: v) Umberto Eco begins with a clarification of the objectives for this very first of the IASS-AIS Congresses. Both the organizers and the participants,

“had a fundamental and ‘archaeological’ task: they not only had to discuss the state of the discipline but also 1) the right of the discipline to exist, 2) its history, and 3) the possibility of providing the discipline with a unified methodology and a unified objective.”

This search for, again in Eco’s words (viii), “what semiotics should be” was continued five years later with the second Congress:

Under Auspices

“Under the Auspices” – Some Explanations

According to one of the first decisions of the newly elected Bureau of the IASS-AIS in Berkeley, June 1994, it will be possible from now on to provide certain semiotic congresses in between the world congresses with the formula “under the auspices of the IASS-AIS”, what also means that the IASS-AIS identifies itself with the organizers, the contents, the scholars and participants, and that it wants to take an active part in them. For these reasons, however, it must be congresses of specific type and quality, and the organizers have to apply for. The conditions to be fulfilled are part of the provisional IASS-AIS Rules of Procedure, and are herewith published [. . .]:

“First of all, there will be, until further notice, only two types of conferences in which the IASS-AIS can and will be involved, none of them, in particular, under the head of ‘cooperation’ or ‘collaboration’, but providing, nevertheless, for similar possibilities. These types are:

  1. the world congresses, whose official organizer is the IASS-AIS together with national or regional representatives appointed to organize these congresses on the practical level;
  2. specific congresses (or conferences, symposia and the like) which can be held under the auspices of the IASS-AIS when fulfilling the rules of procedure after application to and examination by the Bureau of the IASS-AIS.

The full formula

“under the auspices of the International Association for Semiotic Studies/Association Internationale de Sémiotique IASS-AIS”

can and should be included in each official and/or public announcement with respect to the congress, such as pre-programs, invitations, advertisings, programs, etc., and in connection with exchange of letters concerning the congress addressed to official or university authorities.

In all these cases, the proponents are kindly asked, first, to apply officially, and secondly, to evidence that the following rules of procedure will be kept:

  1. a genuinely and comprehensively semiotic topic; and/or
  2. a representative event in honor of world famous scholars in our field;
  3. the registration/participation fees for IASS-Members shall be at least 50 per cent reduced;
  4. at least a third of the lecturers shall come from abroad, that is, from the international semiotic scene;
  5. also at least a third of the lecturers shall be Members of the IASS-AIS;
  6. the conference shall be supervised by a Scientific Committee consisting of qualified and renowned (predominantly habilitated) scholars, representative of our field;
  7. the organizers shall take the opportunity to invite and convince qualified lecturers and visitors to become Members of the IASS-AIS; for this reason, the organizers will receive information and inscription sheets from the Secretary General or the Treasurer of the IASS-AIS;
  8. non-obligatorily, but recommendably, a qualified number of Members of the Bureau and/or of the Executive Committee of the IASS-AIS should be invited as lecturers, to enable working groups on IASS-AIS matters during the respective congress (or conference, symposium and the like); this possibility should at least be discussed with the Bureau of the IASS-AIS;
  9. the Organizing Committee of the congress should include members of the Executive Committee of the IASS-AIS;
  10. the Organizers should submit a detailed report to the Secretary General (to be printed in the IASS-AIS Bulletin).

In turn, the proponents will, after examination and positive decision, be allowed to organize the respective event under the auspices of the IASS-AIS, and will receive mail-ready labels with the addresses of the Members of the IASS-AIS (more than 1000 addresses).”

It must be added that, due to some recent misunderstandings, a further point is still under discussion, i.e. concerning the influence the IASS-AIS should have, at least in terms of consultancy, on the publication of the results of congresses and the like provided with the formula “under the auspices” of the IASS-AIS. Provisionally, the Secretary General is asked to be in charge of these matters as to future applications.

International, national, regional semiotics associations, semiotic research centers, institutes, groups, circles, etc. are kindly invited to organize such congresses, and to contact the Secretariat as to the conditions and details.

In the following section [= in this part of the site; GWit], we offer reports on all those congresses, conferences, symposia, etc. whose organizers have already applied for such cooperation, and also have their congresses finished under these conditions [. . .]

It is the firm belief of the Bureau of the IASS-AIS that this new formal possibility for institutionalized intensive scholarly and scientific interaction will advance and intensify exchange, communication and infrastructures not only within the IASS-AIS but also the cohesion of the entire semiotic community.

(Jeff Bernard)
[originally published in:
IASS-AIS Bulletin-Annual ’95 & 96= Bernard, Withalm & Réthoré 1996: 151-153]

Bernard, Jeff, Gloria Withalm & Joèlle Réthoré (eds.) (1996).

Semiotics Around the World. IASS-AIS Bulletin Annual ‘95 & ‘96. Wien: ÖGS/ISSS

In case you are organizing a semiotic conference and you want to apply for this support, please contact one of the following:

Jose M. Paz Gago (Secretary General), email: //

Priscila Borges (Vice Secretary General), email: //

Conferences Under the Auspices of the IASS-AIS

Although there were only three years between the Berkeley Congress and the next one in Mexico, the Bureau of the IASS-AIS decided to have congresses and conferences organized “under the auspices of the IASS-AIS”, which means that the Association identifies itself with the organizers, the contents, the scholars and the participants (who are to a large part our members), and that it takes an active part in them. These congresses have high standards and deal with a genuinely and comprehensively semiotic topic, or are organized in honor of famous scholars in our field.

So far, there were twenty-three conferences, including those announced for the moment (for reports on the first five cf. Bernard, Withalm & Réthoré 1996: 151-181; these reports are already added to this site. For more information on the conferences go to the “Auspices” quick start page:

  • “Kultur und Lebenswelt als Zeichenphänomene. Internationales Kolloquium zu Ehren des 70. Geburtstags von Ivan Bystrina und Ladislav Tondl” (Vienna, Austria, December 1994; proceedings appeared in the series “S-Addenda. Semiotic Studies”, Vienna 1998: Bernard & Withalm 1998);
  • “Semiotics of the Media” (Kassel, Germany, March 1995); the proceedings of this congress have appeared in the Approaches series (Nöth 1997)
  • “Discursividades: Entre lo visible y lo enunciable” (Córdoba, Argentina, September 1995);
  • “Perception et conscience de soi dans les arts et les sciences” (Porto, Portugal, September 1995; results to appear in a special issue of Cruzeiro Semiotico, Porto 1998);
  • “International Meeting in Memoriam Jurij M. Lotman (1922-1993)” (Granada, Spain, October 1995); the proceedings, edited by the organizer Manuel Cáceres, appeared in 1997;
  • “Caos & ordem: uma abordagem semiótica” (São Paulo, Brazil, August/September, 1996), the first volume of the proceedings appeared in summer 1999: Santaella & Machado 1999.
  • “Creation – Semiosis – Acceptance. Thomas Winner 80th Birthday Conference” (Prague, Czech Republic, May 1997)
  • “Semiotics and Culture” (Thessaloniki, Greece, May, 1997).
  • “2nd East-Asian International Semiotic Seminar” (Shanghai, China, October 1997), a selection of papers presented appeared in 1998.
  • “European Semiotic Heritage” (Dresden, Germany, February, 1999). The Proceedings are to appear in 2003.
  • “First Turkish Semiotics Congress ” (Ankara, Turkey, October 1999). Th Proceddings appeared as a special issue of S-EJSS, 15 (1), 2003, ed. by Jeff Bernard.
  • “Logica, dialogica, ideologica. I segni fra funzionalità ed eccedenza” (Bari, Italy, February, 2002). Published in part in Semiotica 148 (1/4), 2004, and in part as Logica, dialogica, ideologica. Milano: Mimesis 2003.
  • “Semióticas de la vida cotidiana. V Congreso Internacional de la Federación Latinoamericana de Semiótica” (Buenos Aires, Argentina, August, 2002). Published on CD in 2004
  • “Signes du corps, corps du signe” (Lyon, France, September, 2002).
  • “Semiotics and the Global Meaning of East Asian Cultures. Third East Asian Semiotic Seminar” (Wuhan, China, October, 2002).
  • “The Relevance of Rossi-Landi’s Semiotics Today” (Bari, Italy, November, 2002). Published in Athanor, vol 2004
  • “Picture language – Visualization – Diagrammatrics” (Vienna, Austria, December 2002). Published in S-EJSS 15 (2-4), 2003.
  • “Macht der Zeichen, Zeichen der Macht” (Vienna, Austria, September 2003). Published as Macht der Zeichen, Zeichen der Macht. Inst. Vienna 2004.
  • “Semiotics and the Humanities” (Beijing, PR China, March 2004).
  • “Europe – Image & Notion in Cultural Change” (Vienna, Austria, December 2004).
  • “Barthes per Roland Barthes ” (Bari, Italy, February 2005).
  • “Global semiotics. Imatra International Summer School ” (Imatra, Finland, June 2005).
  • “2nd World Congress on Semiotics and Communication” (Monterrey, Mexico, October 2005).

During most of these conferences, the IASS-AIS, together with the local hosts, organized regional meetings of the Executive Committee of the Associations in order to intensify the exchange among its members and to strengthen scientific networking in the various parts of the world. – The proceedings of these conferences, if not yet published as indicated, are to appear in local book series.

One Response

  1. Priscila:
    Interessante e bom poder fazer contato com a Associação. Gostaria de receber informações sobre Congressos.
    Agradeço a atenção

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