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    • 18 Jan 2019
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park S, New York, NY 10003
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    The State of the Semantic Environment

    A Panel Discussion


    Alfred Korzybski introduced the terms neuro-semantic and neuro-linguistic, and in conjunction with his emphasis on the organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment, made reference to the neuro-linguistic and neuro-semantic environment that we inhabit. Following Korzybski's lead, Wendell Johnson introduced the concept of the semantic environment in his classic work on general semantics, People in Quandaries (recently reissued by the Institute of General Semantics).

    Neil Postman devoted a chapter of his 1976 study, Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk, to the topic of the semantic environment, explaining that, "a semantic environment includes, first of all, people; second, their purposes; third, the general rules of discourse by which such purposes are usually achieved; and fourth, the particular talk actually being used in the situation." Noting that there are many different types of semantic environments, he described them as situations and social structures "in which people want to do something to, for, with, or against other people, as well as to, for, with, or against themselves.

    Postman specified that he was particularly concerned with "those semantic environments which give form to our most important human transactions." And in an earlier essay entitled "Demeaning of Meaning," he maintained that, "in considering the ecology of the semantic environment, we must take into account what is called the communications revolution," going on to observe that, "the invention of new and various media of communication has given a voice and an audience to many people whose opinions would otherwise not have be solicited, and who, in fact, have little if anything to contribute to public issues."

    Last January, we had the rare opportunity of presenting a program consisting entirely of out-of-towners who have converged on New York City to attend the annual Media Ecology Association board meeting, and we will continue that practice this year, as we ask them to comment on the state of the semantic environment in 2019, locally and globally. The participants on this program are:

    Carolin AronisSpecial Faculty in Communication Studies at Colorado State University and a Discourse, Culture, and Identity lecturer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studying and teaching about communicative practices that challenge the essence of media, and that contribute to our understanding of communication, intersectionality, and intimacy.

    Julia Hildebranda Ph.D. candidate in Communication, Culture, and Media at Drexel University, whose research lies at the intersections of critical media studies and mobilities research with a special interest in visual communication and mobile technologies.

    Matt Thomas, educated at the University of Southern California and the University of Iowa, where he got his PhD in American Studies, currently teaching and writing in Iowa City.

    Edward TywoniakProfessor of Communication, Director of the W. M. Keck Media Lab and Program Director for the Digital Studies major at Saint Mary’s College of California, Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, and Immediate Past President of the Media Ecology Association.

    And moderated by NYSGS President Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University, Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics, and Editor of Explorations in Media Ecology.

    Come join us for a wide-ranging and stately discussion!

    6 PM to 9 PM Friday, January 18th at the historic Players Club in Gramercy Park. 

    Registration is free, but all attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.

    The program will take place in the Library on the 2nd floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).


Past events

19 Dec 2018 What is Sanity? And Have We Lost It?
28 Nov 2018 The Reformed English Curriculum Revisited 2
27 Oct 2018 Language and Meaning in the 21st Century Symposium
26 Oct 2018 The 66th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & Dinner
03 Oct 2018 Political Talk and Political Drama: Election 2018
27 Jun 2018 Tom Wolfe, Man of Letters, Man of Words: A Panel Discussion
02 May 2018 Language, Symbol, and the Theatre
04 Apr 2018 The Language of Poetry 2
21 Feb 2018 Trauma: Semantic Reactions, Reflections, Retentions
26 Jan 2018 The Reformed English Curriculum Revisited
06 Dec 2017 Play, Learning, and Language: A Panel Discussion
03 Nov 2017 Dark Nets and Disruptive Practices
28 Oct 2017 Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk Symposium
27 Oct 2017 The 65th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & Dinner
04 Oct 2017 Words, Mind and Magic
08 Sep 2017 Media Ecology and the Human Condition: A Reading and Conversation With Lance Strate
26 Apr 2017 Between Map and Territory: The Art of the Tour Guide
29 Mar 2017 Systems, Contexts, Frames, and Patterns: A Reading and Conversation With Nora Bateson
01 Mar 2017 Science Fiction, Language, and General Semantics
08 Feb 2017 Post-Truth, Alternate Facts, & Fake News
30 Nov 2016 Music-Lyrics-Language: Bob Dylan and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature
26 Oct 2016 Political Talk and Political Drama Part 2
22 Oct 2016 Language in Thought and Action Symposium
21 Oct 2016 The 64th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & Dinner
14 Oct 2016 New York State Communication Association Conference
28 Sep 2016 The Language of Poetry
09 Sep 2016 Political Talk and Political Drama: Election 2016
02 Jun 2016 NYSGS Meet-Up


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