Upcoming events

Event Calendar

    • 18 Sep 2019
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park S, New York, NY 10003

    General Semantics & GIFs

    A Panel Discussion on Symbols & Social Media

    According to Wendell Johnson, general semantics is concerned with the problems we have in trying to live with ourselves and with each other. He argues that we understand very little about what it means to be a symbol-using class of life, and that we fail to consider the connection between our use of language and the way we live. Understanding language as technique allows us the possibility of taking a critical position with regard to this powerful human dimension and the way in which our modes of communication give shape to our broader lifeworld.

    Over the last several years, the GIF, or graphic interchange format, has become an integral component of online communication. These short moving images are typically emotive “moments” clipped from popular media that capture a sentiment or complex emotional state. Today, GIFs have been integrated to most social media services in enormous searchable databases. Users of social media can employ GIFs on their own, or in combination with text-based communication, creating a hybrid form with both discursive (word-based) and presentational (image-based) characteristics. The exploration of this theme expands the reach of general semantics further into the area of online and digital communication, in pursuit of Wendell Johnson’s critical position.

    In what ways does this visual form enhance text-based communication, adding depth and complexity to our communication? How does this symbolic form relate to the process of abstracting and what pitfalls does it present to clear and effective communication? How does the popularity of this symbolic form relate to Korzybski’s notion of ‘infantilism’ and what defense can be made for the form’s utility in thought and action?

    The participants on this program are:

    Michael Plugh, Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College, Past-President of the New York State Communication Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Society for General Semantics. Dr. Plugh is Pedagogy Editor for the journal Explorations in Media Ecology, and is currently program planner for the Media Ecology Association’s presence at the annual National Communication Association convention. His research interests include general semantics and media ecology, particularly with respect to issues of education.

    Arshia Anwer, Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College. Dr. Anwer has worked in the communication and education fields in a variety of marketing communication, editing and teaching roles, and currently serves as the Community Manager for the New York State Communication Association. Her research interests include integrated marketing communication, philosophy of communication, and religious communication, and she has published in the areas of communication ethics and religious communication.

    Brian Cogan, Associate Professor of Communications at Molloy College. Dr. Cogan is the author of numerous articles. book chapters and books, with emphasis on popular culture and media ecology, including works on punk rock, South Park and Monty Python. He was the Awards coordinator and a Board member for the Media Ecology Association for many years, is a past president of the New York State Communication Association and a Wilson Scholar., and co-edits the zine Submerging which highlights both emerging and established authors and photographers.

    Come join us for a presentation that is sure to to be arresting and amusing!

    6 PM to 9 PM September 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).

    • 11 Oct 2019
    • 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    • The Princeton Club, 15 West 43rd St. (between 5th & 6th Avenues), New York, NY 10036

    The New York Society for General Semantics is proud to co-sponsor the 67th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & Dinner, hosted by the Institute of General Semantics, and held at the Princeton Club in midtown Manhattan. 

    This year's Korzybski Lecturer is Nadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and the first woman national president of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she served from 1991 through 2008. A frequent speaker on constitutional and civil liberties, her media appearances include 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Today, Good Morning America, The Daily Show, and other news programs on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, Al-Jazeera, and in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Her op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, and USA Today among others. She is the author of Hate: We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship.

    Friday Evening, October 11th, 2019

    6:00pm – Registration, Happy Hour, Cash Bar
    6:30pm – AKML Dinner and Awards Presentations
    8:00pm – The 66th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

    Registration via the Institute of General Semantics

    • 12 Oct 2019
    • 8:00 AM
    • 13 Oct 2019
    • 12:00 PM
    • The Princeton Club, 15 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036

    The Institute of General Semantics is sponsoring a 2-day symposium entitled The Tyranny of Wordsco-sponsored by the New York Society for General Semantics and the Media Ecology Association. The symposium will be held at the Princeton Club in New York City on Saturday, October 12th, from 8 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday, October 13th, from 8 AM to 12 PM. It will follow the 67th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, which will be presented by Nadine Strossen on Friday evening, October 12th, 2019.

    Email papers, proposals, and inquiries by September 1st, 2019, to mandklevin [at] aol.com.

    For more information, contact Martin H. Levinson, President of the Institute of General Semantics, by phone at (212) 729-7973 or by mail at:

    Martin H. Levinson
    c/o Institute of General Semantics
    Attn: 2019 Symposium
    72-11 Austin Street #233
    Forest Hills, NY 11375

    The symposium is free and open to the public. Starting August 1st, 2019, you may RSVP for the symposium via the Institute of General Semantics.

Past events

05 Jun 2019 The Medium of the Sidewalk: Holocaust Commemoration and Stolpersteine
01 May 2019 Shine the Light: A Presentation by Seamus Kelleher in Story and Song
12 Apr 2019 General Semantics as a Conversing Activity: A Book Reading and Talk by Martin H. Levinson
20 Mar 2019 Between Two Worlds: A Reading and Conversation with Vasu Varadhan
20 Feb 2019 Theatre and Translation: A Reading and Conversation With Robin Levenson
18 Jan 2019 The State of the Semantic Environment
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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