The journal Signs and Society connects Brandeis and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies of South Korea.
By Leah Burrows
Oct. 8, 2013
Richard Parmentier, professor of anthropology and director of the graduate program in global studies, has been waiting 30 years for someone to publish a research-oriented journal focused on an interdisciplinary approach to semiosis — the study of meaningful signs in their social and historical contexts. He just never expected to be the one to do it.
But when two young scholars, an anthropologist and a linguist, from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea emailed Parmentier in April 2012 with an idea for a journal (whose a name reflects his seminal 1994 book, “Sign in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology”), he couldn’t think of any reason to refuse.
“I’ve basically been doing this informally for three decades,” Parmentier says. “So I would’ve been crazy to say no.”
The first issue of Signs and Society was published last April and the second issue will go online. It is funded by Hankuk University and published by the journals division of the University of Chicago Press. To assist him in this project, Parmentier recruited Brandeis English professor John Plotz and anthropologist Javier Urcid to join the Board of Editors.
The journal takes an interdisciplinary approach to semiosis, the study of sign production, communication and interpretation. The inaugural issue features papers from anthropologists, archaeologists, a linguist, and a professor of philosophy. Unlike other semiotics journals, Signs and Society focuses on empirical research rather than strictly philosophical or methodological issues, Parmentier says.
“In this journal, semiotics is the common language for researchers across different fields to have a conversation,” Parmentier says. “I want to promote conversations between archaeologists studying past worlds and researchers studying contemporary cultures, and between scholars studying face-to-face interaction and those exploring digital communication.”
The journal is also connecting scholars of different nations. In addition to featuring research from managing editors Kyung-Nan Koh and Hyug Ahn, the first three issues showcase scholars from Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.
For Parmentier, the journal is a culmination of sorts. He began his academic career at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD. Later, at the Center for Psychosocial Studies, he and Professor Greg Urban, now at the University of Pennsylvania, launched a small pre-print journal dedicated to semiotics. Thirty years later, several of his former teachers and classmates from the University of Chicago have already submitted papers to Signs and Society.
This journal also capitalizes on new technology. It is free and available online, making it accessible to anyone interested in the field.
“Journals today can be both accessible and prestigious,” Parmentier says.
Parmentier hopes to connect established scholars like him with young up-and-comers from around the world.
“There are so many young scholars out there doing interesting work, I want them to submit,” Parmentier says. “I want to see the world vicariously through their eyes.”
October 10th, 2013
The Mandel Center for the Humanities offers two exciting initiatives for faculty, including the Mandel Faculty Grants in the Humanities, and the Mandel team-taught interdisciplinary courses.
The Mandel Faculty Grants, supported by a generous gift from the Mandel Foundation, will provide two $10,000 grants to faculty working on research projects in the humanities or the humanistic social sciences. For more information, please check out this file (PDF).
For more information on the team-taught interdisciplinary courses and their proposal deadlines, please check out this file (PDF).
These programs are two ways that the Mandel Center for the Humanities, under the leadership of Ramie Targoff, is working across disciplines to create new opportunities for scholarship and teaching in the humanities.
October 7th, 2013
By Adam Conner-Simons
Sept. 26, 2013
Three years ago, it was hard to imagine business becoming one of the most popular subjects at Brandeis. Even though undergraduate business program chair Ed Bayone always had high hopes for the new major, the academic community’s enthusiastic embrace of the interdisciplinary program surprised him a little.
“I knew we were answering a large unmet need,” says Bayone. “But having the support of the broader faculty and administration was reassuring, because it meant that we succeeded in making the study of business a valued part of the university.”
Administered by Brandeis International Business School (IBS) in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the undergraduate business program includes a major and a minor, the BA/MA dual degree, and the new BA/MBA and BS/MBA programs that were established this fall. Across these various initiatives, the program involves more than 400 undergrads, or nearly one out of nine Brandeis students.
Launched in 2010, the business major has become the fourth most popular major at Brandeis, with nearly 200 students, behind biology, economics and psychology. Due to high demand, it is the only undergraduate concentration that has an application process.
The program’s growth echoes national trends in higher education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the past 30 years the percentage of bachelor’s-level business degrees conferred has nearly doubled, representing almost a full quarter of all degrees in the United States.
Brandeis requires only 10 courses for the business major and strongly encourages those who apply to also major in one of the liberal arts. More than 70 percent of business students double major.
Many classes that qualify for the major might not seem particularly business-centric, like “Managing Medicine” and “Globalization and the Media.” Several departments have developed courses with the major in mind, including Near Eastern and Judaic studies (“Jewish Business Ethics”) and theater arts (“The Business of Show Business”).
The focus of the Brandeis program, says Bayone, is to use the discipline to complement a student’s primary passion.
“Business could pair with psychology or sociology to create a nice background for careers in marketing or human resources, or with theater arts for students interested in theater management,” says Bayone, who also serves as theEarle W. Kazis Professor of the Practice of Finance and International Real Estate. “Students who develop this understanding of how business works are able to bring a broader skill set to their careers after college. It opens doors for them.”
President Frederick M. Lawrence has spoken about the importance of graduate programs for Brandeis’ continued success — a sentiment echoed in the new strategic plan.
“The business school reflects the ideals of our namesake, Justice Louis Brandeis, who wrote widely about the concept of business as a force for good in society,” Lawrence says. “We are excited and encouraged by all the ways in which Brandeis IBS has strengthened its ties with the undergraduate community.”
Read more about the undergraduate business program at Brandeis.
October 7th, 2013
Would you like to receive up to $3500 to work on a peace-related project? If so, please apply for the Karpf and Hahn Peace Awards. Deadline for application is on October 25th.
Please visit our website for more information.
October 1st, 2013
Sixteen judges from thirteen international courts and tribunals attended the ninth Brandeis Institute for International Judges (BIIJ) in Sweden in July 2013. The institute was organized in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Lund University Faculty of Law. Attached is more information about the Institute.
Three undergraduate interns from Brandeis University provided support throughout the Institute: Rida Abu Rass ’14, Anastasia Austin ’14 and Alex Glomset ’14. Their thoughts are expressed here.
September 30th, 2013
The Environmental Studies UDRs, Adam Krebs and Esther Mann, are hosting an Environmental Studies Meet the Majors Pumpkin Roast on Wednesday, October 9 at 5 PM in SCC 313. It will be a unique opportunity for students to learn more about the area of study and celebrate the fall by eating roasted stuffed pumpkins. Vegan and Gluten-Free options are available so that everyone can enjoy the delicious foods, and anyone who is interested is more than welcome to come by.
Faculty members Dan Perlman and Brian Donahue will be attending as well as URDs Adam Krebs and Esther Mann. They are asking for RSVPs, but drop-ins are welcome. If you have any questions or concerns about the event, the major, or the minor, send one of the UDRs an e-mail and they would be more than happy to help you out!
September 30th, 2013
September 26th, 2013
Professors Jane Kamensky and Sue Lanser invite you to “Axes of Revolution,” the inaugural symposium of our Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Rethinking the Age of Revolution: Rights, Representation, and the Global Imaginary.” The symposium will take place this Friday, September 27, from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. in the Mandel Center for the Humanities auditorium. Please find information about subsequent programs here: www.brandeis.edu/revolutions
September 24th, 2013
The Mandel Humanities Center’s Contemporaneity Working Group wishes to extend an open invitation to join us this semester. We meet for an hour and a half three times a semester, usually in the Mandel Humanities Center, to to eat snacks, share common readings, discuss works in progress, and/or respond to presentations.
We’re an informal interdisciplinary group in conception–in the past we’ve had participants and presentations from the departments of English, History, Anthropology, and Latin American studies–and we try to cover a wide range of topics and readings. Generally the aim of a meeting is to introduce an emerging idea or topic (usually by reading a couple of articles) and spend the bulk of our time discussing its relation or application across a number of disciplines. Past discussion topics have included cultural expressions of neoliberalism, postmodernity and the New Sincerity, the culture of debt, urbanism, continental philosophy and love, and the transnational novel. Our schedule for this semester is as follows:
September: “Television, Time, and Genre” Matthew Schratz (English)
October: “Canon Formation in the Academy” Matthew Linton (History)
November: “Anthropocene, New Materialism” Michaela Henry (English)
Whether you’re an MA student in your first semester of graduate studies, a PhD candidate in the midst of dissertation writing, or a faculty member looking for interdisciplinary perspectives on a new research project, we’d love for you to join us. Regular attendance and vigorous participation, while appreciated, are certainly not required for this to be a productive and stimulating experience.
If you’re interested in joining us or in proposing a topic of discussion, please contact us at kcavende at brandeis dot edu or mschratz at brandeis dot edu. We look forward to meeting many of you in the coming months.
September 13th, 2013
Professor Thomas Doherty, author of Hollywood and Hitler 1933-1939, will reconstruct what Hollywood produced for the big screen during the emerging Nazi threat, and how the Jewish backgrounds of many of the Hollywood studio executives affected how they treated Hitler and his victims. Did Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm?
The event will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts on October 9th, at 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale September 19th.
September 12th, 2013