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[Commlist] CFP: "Semiotics of Dissimulation". Concealment and strategies of deceit. Versus, journal of Semiotics and Philosophy of Language

Fri Feb 08 22:15:35 GMT 2019

CFP: "Semiotics of Dissimulation". Concealment and strategies of deceit. Versus, journal of Semiotics and Philosophy of Language.

The international journal Versus (or VS, as is often known) is preparing a thematic issue about "Semiotics of Dissimulation". Versus is a Semiotic journal, dealing also with Theory and Philosophy of language, and it was founded in 1971 by Umberto Eco, who has been its director until February 2016. Versus is currently directed by Patrizia Violi. Further information about the journal at



ISSUE EDITOR: Alessandra Pozzo

Versus – Quaderni di studi semiotici is soliciting original articles for a special issue dedicated to semiotics of concealment and strategies of deceit. The aim of the publication is to pinpoint contemporary practices of cryptic communication, in different cultural and cognitive contexts, adopting both a diachronic and a comparative perspective addressed to a better understanding of their meaning processes. The age of globalisation has brought an undeniable inclination towards secret expressions and deception in various socio-cultural levels and cultures. The special issue shall bring together researches on secret communication and deceit techniques (both practices of concealment) coming from different theoretical fields that have rarely interacted since now, with the aim of drawing a picture of common features and peculiarities of different circumstances of dissimulation. The issue intends to provide scientific methods capable of identifying the presence of ciphered or concealed messages, recognizing pseudo-encryptions (that is, the projection of a coding procedure on a text which is not actually ciphered) and false decryptions descending from them. In this perspective, cryptography – which is a ciphered communication made to send messages directed exclusively to a single interlocutor – is similar to a sort of “voluntary” dissimulation intended to a single solver, which is also the most common kind of dissimulation. Moving from this practice, and from its identification, other contrasting and complementary practices shall be recognised, such as puzzles, meant as voluntary dissimulation addressed to multiple solvers. In the period between the two World Wars, some of the devices traditionally employed in diplomatic and military cryptography have changed their function, and eventually provided the basis for the foundation of computer science. In that period, a renewed interest for the field of secret communication arises: the means usually employed to codify the messages are deemed too insecure, and then artisanal cryptography is considered unavoidably untrustworthy. Some histories of cryptography – meant as the more urgent and necessary practice of dissimulation – are being published; they do not aim exclusively at cataloguing cryptography techniques but deal also with topics falling outside military tactics. For instance, they analyse methodologies conceived to decipher texts in ancient languages whose code has been lost – one of the scopes of archaeology, that consider such acts of decoding an involuntary dissimulation, which has become not accessible for a historic inconvenient. These works have pointed out some features of the inner logic of decrypting that opened the way to a new deepening of the related issue: semiotics – and especially interpretative semiotics – can claim a crucial role in this process of theoretical re-thinking. For this reason, one of the aims of this special issue is to find a new definition of the thin border between interpretation and decryption.

Moving from a perspective that looks especially at interpretative dynamics and sign dimension, the expected contributions will focus on all the topics discussed in the call, and particularly on:
- Cryptography and secret communication
- Military codes and espionage
- Professional secret codes in finance and business
- Gangs and mobs codes
- Abduction and deciphering
- Private slangs in situations of danger
- Cryptography as voluntary dissimulation, addressed to a single solver
- Puzzles and riddles as voluntary dissimulation addressed to multiple solvers
- Ancient languages practices of deciphering as involuntary dissimulation
- Pseudo-encryptions and false decryptions
- Dissimulation as moral practice
- Religious dissimulation
- Concealment and oblivion techniques
- Dissimulated authors in literary and narrative texts
- The false in scientific discourse
- Allusions, mentions and citations
- Magic and mystic false decryptions
- Dissimulation and religious sects
- Religious mimicry
- Dissimulation in political language and communication

- 30/03/2019: deadline for abstract-proposals (500 words max), accompanied by references and short biographic note
- 30/04/2019: notification of acceptation/refusal of the proposal
- 15/10/2019: deadline for completed articles, formatted according to Versus style guidelines
- 15/12/2019: notification of referees’ reviews
- 30/01/2020: deadline for final versions of the articles

Abstracts and papers have to be sent to the following email addresses: (redazione.vs /at/ <mailto:(redazione.vs /at/>, (alessandrapozzo /at/ <mailto:(alessandrapozzo /at/>

Accepted languages: English, French, Italian

Publishing style guide at:

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