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Presented at the 33rd Annual Conference "Environments," Washington, DC, August 13-16 2009.

Author affiliation: Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication

Naming Names:
The Power to Control the Meaning of Media Symbols

by Deborah Clark Vance

Abstract: Bahá’u’lláh says God’s name is the “spirit of all names that exist in the kingdom of names.” Cultures attach meaning to names, creating a system of symbols that contains the means to decode its signs, from obvious ones like alphabets and flags, to less obvious ones like stories and myth. I will relate Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings about the kingdom of names and the world of thought to semiotic and structural theories of culture in order to examine the role media play in informing individual and group identities, and the prescription Bahá’u’lláh provides for detaching ourselves from the kingdom of names. [Abstract taken from conference program.]

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