Meet Your Publishers: Semiotics Publishing at De Gruyter Mouton

Marcia Schwartz

Semiotics publishing at De Gruyter Mouton has enjoyed a long and rich history, which began at Mouton (then The Hague, Netherlands) in 1969 with the launch of the journal Semiotica as the official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS) under the editorship of Thomas A. Sebeok. At this same time, parallel to the journal, Mouton also began publishing the book series Approaches to Semiotics (AS), edited by Thomas Sebeok, Alain Rey and Roland Posner. During the 28-year history of the AS series, over 120 edited works and monographs were published—including Gesture, Race and Culture by David Efron (1972) and Carnival! edited by Umberto Eco, V. V. Ivanov and Monika Rector (eds.) (1984)—with the last volume appearing in the series in 1997.

In 1977, Mouton became an imprint of Walter de Gruyter Publishers and the journal and book series were moved to the offices in Berlin, Germany. In 1986, the first edition of the comprehensive, three-volume Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics (EDS) was published at Mouton, born out of an idea of Thomas Sebeok’s which he began developing in the early 1970s. The dictionary quickly became a standard reference work in the field. Since its original publication, the EDS has been revised and updated twice, in 1994 and 2010, with the third and latest edition also featuring a companion online database as an indispensible, modern research tool.

In the year 2000, the Approaches to Semiotics series was relaunched with a new focus on semiotic theory and its application to understanding media, language and related subjects under the name Approaches to Applied Semiotics (AAS), with Thomas Sebeok as the series editor. After Sebeok’s death in late 2001, only five more volumes would be published in the AAS series, the last of which – Global Linguistics by Andrea Rocci and Marcel Danesi – appeared in early 2009.

In September 2009, Mouton launched its newest semiotics book series Semiotics, Communication and Cognition (SCC), under the editorship of esteemed semioticians Paul Cobley (London Metropolitan University, UK) and Kalevi Kull (University of Tartu, Estonia). With the creation of the SCC series, Mouton’s aim was to take its semiotic program in another new direction, focusing on the state of contemporary semiotics and its current applications while considering the interdisciplinarity that is so characteristic of the field. The SCC series features books addressing topics from the various neighboring fields of semiotics, including linguistics, philosophy, sociology and biology, and is a welcome addition to Mouton’s semiotics publishing program. Since its launch in autumn 2009, the series has already featured five stellar titles by prominent semioticians, such as Culture and Explosion by the late Yuri Lotman (the English translation of one of his last works) and Susan Petrilli’s major volume on the work of Lady Welby, with 2-3 new titles planned to appear in the series annually.

Today, De Gruyter Mouton celebrates over 40 years in semiotics publishing. Since 1969, Mouton has published more than140 individual titles in its semiotics book series, and over 180 volumes (totaling more than 3200 articles) of the IASS society journal Semiotica, which continues to flourish today under the editorship of Marcel Danesi. Thanks to a company-wide initiative to preserve the entire contents of the De Gruyter journal archives, the entire back catalogue of Semiotica issues dating back to the inaugural Volume 1 in1969 has now been digitized and is available on De Gruyter’s online platform Reference Global.

Mouton is proud of its achievements as both the premier and most distinguished organization in the world of semiotics publishing and will continue to feature high-quality publications of the newest research in the field in the years to come.

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to a new series on Semiotics, Communication, and Cognition published by De Gruyter, please see the following: Semiotics, Communication, Cognition.

Julia Ulrich, Head of Marketing Department
The de Gruyter Mouton's Mascott takes a stand in the hallway (Mouton is "sheep" in French)

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