Conference on Multimodality in Bremen, 10-13 September 2014

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Bridging the Gap between Here and There: Combining Multimodal Analysis from International Perspectives
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Bridging the gap between here and there
– Combining multimodal analysis from international perspectives

Interdisciplinary Conference
at Bremen University, Germany,
10-13 September 2014.



Multimodality can today be seen as one of the most influential semiotic theories for analyzing media artefacts. However, the concepts of this theory are ambiguously and heterogeneously widespread, especially with regard to approaches in Germany on the one hand and those within the international context on the other. Definitions of modality and even mediality differ from each other in terms of their general basis which, from a national perspective, is too often focused on language as the main point of description. A more general and internationally already well-established basis in multimodal analysis, in contrast, takes language no longer as the main semiotic resource of communication, but sees it as one part of the multimodal ensemble carrying meaning.
The conference takes these differences in national and international perspectives as a starting point of discussion and analysis. By making explicit which aspects of description, terminology and methodology vary and which difficulties result from these variations in daily academic life, it aims at activating the discussion about this situation and opening new approaches to the analysis of multimodal documents. A main focus will also lie on strengthening the topic in and for German humanities, especially within linguistics, media and communication studies. Whereas outside Germany, multimodality is already firmly anchored in BA- and MA courses as well as a highly discussed topic in international conference, its counterpart in Germany is still situated in a small niche within branches of applied linguistics. Especially the multimodal analysis of documents which are only partly or not at all verbal play only a small and marginal role in the analysis, even though film or comic interpretation, for example, are recent topics of discussion in both linguistics and literary science. The conference therefore seeks to make an important contribution to the further academic development of this topic and its situating and anchoring in individual philologies such as German, English or Romance Studies as well as in media and communication sciences in general. Consequently, the discussion of analytical methods as well as the practical examination of examples from multimodal artefacts will be in the foreground of the conference.


We invite papers with high interest in combining practical analysis with thoughts on theoretical questions about the concept of multimodality. Research questions which might be addressed in these papers are for example:
How is multimodality defined throughout various concepts in linguistics, literary science and media studies? Which differences exist between these concepts?
Which analytical methods can help to bridge the gap between the varying concepts and how?
Which terminological specifications or analytical improvements are needed to bring the concepts together?
We welcome papers of 25-30 minutes with a discussion of 10-15 minutes from researchers working in all disciplines concerning media analysis (linguistics, literary science, media and communication as well as information sciences). 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.


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 (max. 500 words) including name, affiliation and email address to before April 15th, 2014. Abstracts must clearly indicate the analytical focus within the paper as well as its connection to the theoretical background.
Notification of acceptance will be communicated by May 15th, 2014.


Abstract submission deadline: 15 April 2014
Registration deadline for general participation: 15 August 2014


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