CfP: Theory and Practice of Multimodal Research

BreMM15: Second International Symposium on the Theory and Practice of Multimodal Research
Interdisciplinary Conference
University of Bremen
21.-22. September 2015
Stichtag: 15.02.2015

Multimodality is one of the most influential semiotic theories for analyzing media artefacts nowadays, and it enjoys growing popularity globally. However, this popularity does not imply universality: the empirical application and even the conceptual anchoring of multimodality often remain nationally and regionally grounded. Definitions of modality and even mediality thus differ from each other in terms of their starting points. From a German national perspective, language remains the main point of description. International, mostly Anglo-Saxon approaches, in contrast, no longer take language as the main semiotic resource of communication but treat it as one more part of the multimodal ensemble carrying meaning.

The second edition of the Bremen multimodality conference takes these differences in national and international perspectives as a starting point of discussion and analysis and invites further inquiry into the specific theories and practices of multimodal research today. By making explicit which aspects of description, terminology, and methodology vary and which difficulties result from these variations in daily academic life, it expands the discussion of applicable approaches to multimodal document analysis. Another major goal of the conference remains the active exchange between the cutting edge in international multimodal research and more traditional German humanities, especially within linguistics, media and communication studies. Whereas outside Germany, multimodality is already firmly anchored in BA- and MA-level courses as well as a highly discussed topic in international conferences, its counterpart in Germany is still situated in a small niche within branches of applied linguistics. The 2014 symposium in Bremen uncovered a large potential for multimodality’s expansion in the German-speaking context, and the 2015 meeting will keep up with this theme. The multimodal analysis of documents which are not predominantly anchored in verbal text, such as film, comic books, or Web material, offers fruitful ground for international exchange and is, thus, of particular interest to the 2015 conference.

We invite papers with high interest in combining empirical analysis with thoughts on theoretical questions about the concept of multimodality. Research questions which might be addressed in these papers are:

  • How is multimodality defined in the authors’ home discipline?
  • What other disciplinary concepts help define multimodality in theory and practice?
  • What disciplinary and methodological synergies promote comprehensive multimodal empirical analysis?
  • Which terminological specifications or analytical improvements are needed to bring together the concepts which shape multimodality as a theoretical and empirical approach?

For a lively and multifaceted discussion, we invite papers of 20-25 minutes followed by discussion of 10-15 minutes from researchers working in all disciplines concerning media analysis (linguistics, literary science, media and communication as well as informatics and computer science). We especially welcome papers which re-examine existing theoretical frameworks and/or which highlight and apply new methodologies that have not been used within the general multimodal context.

Abstracts of 300 words must clearly indicate the analytical focus of the paper as well as its connection to the theoretical background. We also explicitly invite students to participate in the conference by presenting an analytical approach as examined in final papers or theses in the poster panel to be organized on the second day of the conference.

Please submit your abstract or a short poster description including name, affiliation, and email address to before February 15th, 2015. All acceptance and rejection notices will be out by the beginning of May.

Further information:

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