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Myrdene Anderson

Myrdene Anderson

Professor // Anthropology

Professor // Linguistics // SIS

Research focus:
Anthropological Linguistics, Semiotics

Office and Contact

Room: STON 356

Office hours: Right before or after class - /walk-ins welcome/


Phone: (765) 494-4687


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

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



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 200 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, on violence, and on the Peircean notion of habit. Since 1983, more than 100 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 numerous courses in anthropology, linguistics, and semiotics and is currently responsible for one undergraduate core course (ANTH 414/LING 498—Language and Culture) and one graduate core course (ANTH 514/LING 598—Anthropological Linguistics, while also teaching ANTH 341—Culture and Personality and ANTH 519/LING 593/COM 507/ENGL 570/LC 570—Introduction to Semiotics).

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

West, Donna E., and Myrdene Anderson (co-editors)  (2016). Consensus on Peirce's concept of habit: Before and beyond consciousness.  (Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology, and Rational Ethics [SAPERE].)  New York: Springer.

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, 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

Myrdene Anderson (2020). Narratology’s growing pains: An ode to the alloanimal turn and post-humanism too Pp. 175-192 in Semiotics 2019, edited by Geoffrey Owens. Charlottesville, Virginia: Philosophy Documentation Center.

Cannizzaro, Sara, and Myrdene Anderson (2021). The end of Sebeok's century meets twenty-first century pandemic: Modeling through and beyond Sebeok's systems, semiotics, science. Chinese Semiotic Studies 17.4: 495-523.

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.