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The Institute for Signifying Scriptures (ISS) is an independent organization of scholars, researchers, teachers, public intellectuals, artists, community leaders, and social activists—in short, persons of varied backgrounds who are committed to constructing and advancing a new mode of critical inquiry into social–discursive formation. The term “scriptures” is here used provocatively as shorthand for an illuminating analytical wedge for cross-cultural, disciplinarily-transgressive excavation of and conversation about the politics of meaning. The sites that are assumed to register the most consequential of such politics include the uses of myths, rituals, texts, performances, and varied forms of expressiveness complexly embedded within, dominated by, and resisting scripturalizations–transnational, nationalist, subnationalist discursive regimes and their multiple domains that refract modernities. In construing “scriptures” and scripturalizations in terms of the politics of meaning, ISS registers its motoring assumption–that the discursive is power to shape and distort and destroy the human and the globe and that there must be a commitment to help make the new mode of inquiry the work of inventing/scripturalizing a new human (not at all perfectly wrought but) more capable of self-knowing, self-criticism, agency, and socially responsible and constructive engagements and relations.

Excavating Discourse and Power