Myrdene Anderson

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics

  • Myrdene Anderson received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1978 and joined the faculty at Purdue University in 1977.

Department Information

Linguistics // SIS // Faculty
Anthropology // Faculty

Office Information

  • Office: STON 356
  • Office Phone: (765) 494-4687
  • Office Hours: right after class or by appointment
  • E-mail:
  • Courses

  • Taught (Last two years)

    ANTH 205—Human Cultural Diversity
    ANTH 341/SOC 341- Culture and Personality
    ANTH 414/LING 498—Introduction to Language and Culture
    ANTH 514/LING 598—Anthropological Linguistics
    ANTH 519/LING 598/AUS 570/COM 507/ENGL 570/FLL 570—Introduction to Semiotics
    ANTH 605/LING 689—Seminar in Ethnographic Analysis (qualitative methodology).

  • Specialization

  • Ethnological Theory, Linguistics, Semiotics, Cognitive Science, Ecology, Systems Theory, Nonequilibrium Dynamics, and Philosophy of Science.  Lapland, Fennoscandia, Circumpolar Cultures, Regions of Pastoralism and Nomadism, Areas of High Latitudes and High Altitudes.

  • Dr. Anderson has engaged in ethnographic research in a variety of settings, ranging from community garden associations in the U.S.A. to the international and interdisciplinary movement of artificial life in biology, but she is best known for her fieldwork among Saami reindeer-breeders in Norwegian Lapland, which research commenced in 1971 and continues to date.  She has published over 150 articles and chapters in a variety of venues on a plethora of topics, and has edited a number of volumes on human-alloanimal ethology, on ethnicity and identity, on semiotic modeling, on the cultural construction of trash, on mathematics education, and on violence. Since 1983, more than 50 international and transdisciplinary symposia have been organized by Anderson.  She has also been active on editorial boards of publications and on executive boards of professional societies.  She served as president of the Central States Anthropological Society in 1993, and as president of the Semiotic Society of America in 1996.  In 2003, Anderson was on a Fulbright in Estonia, where she both engaged in research and instructed in semiotics; as a courtesy, she also offered a semiotics course at the University of Helsinki.  She has taught anthropology, linguistics, and semiotics and is responsible for one undergraduate core course (ANTH 414/LING 498—Language and Culture) and two graduate core courses (ANTH 514/LING 598—Anthropological Linguistics, and ANTH 605/LING 689—Ethnographic Analysis).

    Positions at Purdue University

    2005                     Interim Chair, Linguistics
    1986- present        Associate Professor of Anthropology
    1984-1986             Tenured Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    1978-1984             Assistant Professor of Anthropology

    Service to the Profession

    Editorial Board, Semiotica, 2002 - present

    Editorial Board, The American Journal of Semiotics, 1996 – present

    President, Semiotic Society of America, 1996

    President, Central States Anthropological Society, 1993

    Honors and Awards

    Fulbright Visiting Professor, Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia, 2003

    Fellow, American Anthropological Association, 1991

    Fellow, The Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1988

    Fellow, The American Scandinavian Foundation, 1979- 

    Five Most Important Publications

    Anderson, Myrdene (editor) (2004).  Cultural shaping of violence: Victimization, escalation, response.  West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press.

    Anderson, Myrdene, Adalira Sáenz-Ludlow, Shea Zellweger, and Victor V. Cifarelli (co-editors) (2003).  Educational perspectives on mathematics as semiosis:  From thinking to interpreting to knowing. Ottawa: Legas Publishing.

    Anderson, Myrdene (1999).  Ethnography as translation.  Athanor 10.2: 181-187.

    Anderson, Myrdene, and Floyd Merrell (co-editors) (1991).  On semiotic modeling.  Berlin: Mouton.

    Anderson, Myrdene, John Deely, Martin Krampen, Joseph Ransdell, Thomas A. Sebeok (1984).  A semiotic perspective on the sciences: Steps toward a new paradigm.  Semiotica 44: 7-47.

    Two Most Recent Publications

    Gorlee, Dinda, and Myrdene Anderson (2011) Kenneth L. Pike's semiotic work: Arousing, disputing, and persuading language-and-culture.  The American Journal of Semiotics 27.1-4: 227-239. 

    Anderson, Myrdene (2009) Forensic senses in ecosemiotics.  Pp. 147-155 in Semiotics 2008, edited by John Deely and Leonard G. Sbrocchi.  Ottawa: Legas Press.

    Field Experience

    Intensive study of Japanese religious sect, Honolulu, in connection with B.A. thesis, Impact of the death of a charismatic leader; incorporating anethnography of  Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo.

    1971 to present     Continuous as well as intermittent periods of ethnoecological field research with seminomadic and settled Saami in North Norway and elsewhere in Fennoscandia and North America.

    1987 to present  Ethnographic research in connection with the Artificial Life movement, at conference venues.

    1996 to present  Ethnographic research with alternative gardeners, west coast and midwest, U.S.A.

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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