PhD student of the Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts Tiina Sepp will defend her PhD theses

"Pilgrims' Reflections on the Camino de Santiago and Glastonbury as Expressions of Vernacular Religion: Fieldworker's Perspective"
Assembly Hall of the University Council at 12.15 on April 28th, 2014

Thesis supervisor: Professor Ülo Valk, University of Tartu
Opponents: Dr Marion Bowman, The Open University, UK Dr Madis Arukask, University of Tartu

Summary: This dissertation is based on the author's extensive fieldwork conducted in two important destinations in the spiritual landscape of European vernacular religion - the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain and Glastonbury in southwest England. One of the aims of this dissertation is to provide insight into the phenomenon of contemporary pilgrimage while reflecting upon fieldwork experiences. One of the recurrent themes is the construction of the image of the 'authentic' pilgrim.

Download thesis here

Everyday Moods, Affects and Attunements

March 7-9, 2014, Tartu

Hosting Institutions: Nordic Summer University research circle Heterologies of the Everyday; Estonian Literary Museum; University of Tartu; Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory.
The last decade has witnessed a shift of academic interest from the individual or collective subject towards emotional states, moods, and affects. Motivated by ‘the affective turn’ in the human sciences, this interdisciplinary seminar will explore the role of moods, affects and attunements in different spheres connected to everyday existence. Different problems in the sphere of the everyday will be discussed, including natural and built environments, cultural representations, entertainment, advertising, and human relations.

Invited speakers include: Ben Highmore (University of Sussex),Jonathan Flatley (Wayne State University), Tim Edensor (Manchester Metropolitan University), Epp Annus (Estonian Literary Museum / Ohio State University), Britta Brenna (University of Oslo), Anna-Lena Carlsson (Maelardalen University), Carsten Friberg (Aalborg University), Ossi Naukkarinen (Aalto University), Xavier Pla(University of Girona), Noora Pyyry (University of Helsinki), Bryony Randall (University of Glasgow), Dan Eugen Ratiu (Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca), Jennie Schaeffer (Maelardalen University),Tõnu Viik (Tallinn University), Raine Vasquez (Helsinki University).

Seminar consists of:
1) lectures and discussions conducted by Estonian and guest lecturers;
2) six thematic sessions (phenomenology of moods and affects; affective places and spaces; everyday aesthetics; intensified everyday life in fiction and visual arts; the role of affect in late modernity; moods, mediation and public memory).
The Course will be held in conjunction with the Winter symposium organized by the Nordic Summer University research circle Heterologies of the Everyday. The event is supported by the European Union Structural Assistance (Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory) and by Nordic Council of Ministers (Nordic Summer University Network).

More information here

4th Winter School of GSCSA "Absence, Presence, Distance: Ways of Seeing the Past"

January 20-24, 2014, Tallinn

The fourth Winter School of the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts focuses on our relations with the past, assuming that the way we think about the past shapes the way we view both the present and the future. Questions of ‘distance’, ‘absence’ and ‘presence’ have been debated in a number of disciplines, including visual studies, history, philosophy, cultural theory, and anthropology. In the complex matter of constructing a past that we can engage with problems of proximity and distance, presence and absence, arise at a multitude of levels – temporal, spatial, visual, cognitive, esthetical and other. ‘Representation’, the main conceptual tool in culture studies and arts, means strictly speaking a making present of, or the granting of presence (again) to something that is absent. However, this immediately raises the question of what it might mean to give presence to something that is absent; how could something possibly be present in its absence. Therefore, we invite the participants of the Winter School to revisit the traditional distinction between absence and presence; to discuss how far from an object or event do we need to be to see it clearly; to debate what does it actually mean for something or someone to be ‘past’.

Please find more information about the programme, registration and requirements on winter school homepage.

Programme Directors: Prof. Rein Raud (Tallinn University), Dr. Marek Tamm (Tallinn University) Programme Manager: Tuuli Piirsalu (tuulip@ehi.ee) (Tallinn University)
Student Coordinator: Ott Kagovere (ottk@tlu.ee) (Tallinn University)

Seminar on methodology of ecosemiotics

November 28-29, 2013
Tartu, in Tartu Loodusmaja, Lille 10

The relationship of cultural phenomena and various subjects with their respective environments has been a central research interest in semiotics. The seminar will focus on the methods and methodological problems in semiotic studies of relations between cultural phenomena, living beings and the environment. The diversity in the field of research methods can be manifested as field work, analysis of representations and texts, as well as interviews and questionnaires; different challenges are posed by the diverse environments and subjects studied, ranging from islets to cities, from poets to plants.

Presentations and discussions at the seminar relate to methodological problems arising in studying relationships of the environment, subjects and cultural phenomena, on outlining challenges as well as offering possible solutions.

Thursday 28.11

Kalevi Kull "Morphology of umwelt"
Laura Kiiroja "Socialising zoo animals with people - the semiotics of methodology"
Renata Sõukand "What is wild edible plant: common definitions through the places of gathering"
Tartu Nature School and ecosemiotic teaching
Katarzyna Kaczmarczyk "What is a garden? - a semiotic answer to a general question"
Tiit Remm "Texting and textualisation in urban planning, experiences and representations"
15.00-17.00 Round-table

Friday 29.11

Timo Maran "The role of ad-hoc approaches in ecosemiotic research"
Jamie Kruis "Differences between Jakob von Uexküll's composition of Nature and linguistic codes: The phenomenon of learning as the next step in Umwelt research"
Morten Tønnessen "Plans for field work on predator-prey conflicts in Norway involving video-recorded interviews followed by pico-scale analysis"
Riin Magnus, Kadri Tüür "Doing ecosemiotic research on Western Estonian islets"

The seminar is organised by Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu in the framework of the research grant “Ecosemiotic analysis of Estonian culture of nature” and supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Center of Excellence CECT).

More information: Tiit Remm, Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu (tiit.remm@ut.ee)

30 June - 4 July, 2013
Tartu, Estonia

The 11th international SIEF congress will take place in Tartu, 30th June to 4th July 2013. We aim to gather 500 anthropologists, ethnologists, folklorists and others interested in European culture for four exciting days of keynotes, parallel panels, ethnographic films, book fair and a congress banquet.

Local Organizers
Institute for Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu (
Estonian Literary Museum (http://www.kirmus.ee)
Estonian National Museum (http://www.erm.ee/en)
Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (University of Tartu, Tallinn University, http://www.ut.ee/CECT)
The Congress committee will be assisted by the nomadic team of professional conference organizers, and membership administrators, NomadIT (http://www.nomadit.co.uk)

The Congress will take place on the campus of the University of Tartu, located in the city centre. The keynote speeches will be delivered at the Assembly Hall in the Main Building of the University of Tartu Ülikooli 18), and sessions will be held on campus nearby. The hotels providing accommodation will be within 15 minutes' walk from the venue.

For more information see SIEF homepage.

May 14-16, 2013
University of Tartu

International Conference organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu, and the Tartu Nefa Group in partnership with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, Vilnius and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory.

The 3rd International Conference of Young Folklorists continues the tradition of annual meetings of young folklorists established by the Departments of Estonian and Comparative Folklore and Ethnology, University of Tartu in May 2011 and carried on by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore in April 2012. The conference aims to foster academic communication, collaboration and research in the field of folklore by bringing together advanced students and recently graduated scholars from different countries and giving them an opportunity to present their research to an international audience.

As an English-language forum, this meeting complements the tradition of annual Estonian-language conferences of young scholars of folk culture, which goes back to 1974 and has been enjoying growing popularity since 2006 when ethnologist and folklorists joined forces to establish Noorte hääled, a conference representing "the voices of young scholars".

The International Conference of Young Folklorists has grown significantly since the first meeting in 2011, a one-day event with 12 presentations. The programme of the 2013 conference extends over three days and features 30 presenters from 11 countries (Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, UK) as well as two keynote lecturers: Dr. Eike Anderson (Bournemouth University, UK) and Dr. Eli Yassif (Tel Aviv University, Israel). While graduate students and scholars of folklore, ethnology and ethnomusicology make up the core of participants, neighbouring fields of study are represented as well.

The theme of this year's conference 'Vernacular Expressions and Analytic Categories' concentrates on the interfaces between scholars and those whose creative expressions we study. The aim of the conference is to explore power relations between scholars and 'the folk', the distinction between etic and emic categories, exchanges and confrontations between vernacular and scholarly expressions and categories, the shifting of the researcher's role from enquirer to interpreter. The conference also studies the relationship between national research traditions and international folkloristics as well as regional and ethnic dominants of research – the unity and diversity of folkloristic research. Presenters use the general topic of the meeting to discuss their current research, data and fieldwork experiences, covering a wide range of folk narrative genres and forms of vernacular expression: urban legends, folktales, dreams and dream narratives, personal experience narratives, folk music, ethnochoreology, folk beliefs and alternative healing practices.

See more information

The Public Lecture by Professor Joel Robbins: “Christianity and Individualism Revisited”

May 9, 2013
University of Tartu

The Department of Ethnology and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory are delighted to announce the visit of Professor Joel Robbins, one of the leading scholars in the anthropology of religion, to Tartu University. He will deliver a lecture on the connections between Christianity and individualism on Thursday 9 May 16:15–17:45 at Ülikooli 16-214 (the Von Bock House).

Joel Robbins is professor at the University of California San Diego and currently Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. In autumn 2013, he will start working as Sigrid Rausing Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology in the University of Cambridge. In the early 1990s, Joel Robbins spent 26 months among the Urapmin, a small community in Papua New Guinea. Without being directly missionized, the Urapmin underwent a charismatic revival in the late 1970s. Exploring the Christian culture of the Urapmin, Joel Robbins has offered a model for studying the nature of rapid cultural change more broadly. As Christianity had been until recently a neglected topic among anthropologists, Joel Robbins has begun to develop an anthropology of Christianity that compares the religious lives of Christians around the world and analyses related theoretical issues. He has published widely on the anthropology of religion, morality, values, epistemology and language. Currently, he works on the challenge of writing on good and suffering.

In his lecture on Thursday, Joel Robbins will revisit the idea that Christianity has played an important role in the development of the individualist tradition in the West. This is what historians and social scientists have long argued. As the anthropology of Christianity began to develop, some scholars involved in this project took up aspects of these arguments as they examined the ways conversion to Christianity among formerly non-Christian peoples led them to embrace some aspects of individualism as important for their own lives. Recently, however, other anthropologists have begun to question the validity of claims for a link between Christian conversion and the development of individualism. These scholars assert either that Christianity is not individualist or that it fosters various kinds of relationships as much as or more than it fosters a focus on the individual. In this paper, Joel Robbins will lay out these anthropological debates over Christianity and individualism. Drawing on the theoretical work of the anthropologist Louis Dumont, he develops an understanding of individualism as a value that allows us to recognize the role of relationships in some Christian traditions without having to underplay their individualist components. Joel Robbins develops his argument through a discussion of ethnographic materials from Papua New Guinea and, comparatively, from Africa and Amazonia.

June 11-13, 2012
Tartu, Estonia


June 3-7, 2012
Tartu, Estonia

Organized by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu, the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA), Tartu Nefa Group and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT).

The graduate seminar will be organised in the framework of the 6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic Folklore Symposium "Supernatural Places". The seminar discusses current research in folk narratives, their oral and literary forms past and present and relationship between tradition communities and their environment. It will also explore the supernatural dimensions of places in the cultural landscape and in the wilderness, as they are narrated and manifested in legends and other genres. In addition the seminar studies the localisation of narrative plots in environment, blending stories with social realities and other strategies for enchanting the world, opening the narrative space to the realms of fantasy and imagination.

Program of the seminar [pdf]

Abstratcts of lectures and seminars [pdf]

The seminar includes four lectures (45 minutes) and four seminars (90 minutes) by leading experts of folk narrative research:
Prof Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu),
Prof Terry Gunnell (University of Iceland, Reykjavik),
Prof Ulrich Marzolph (Enzyklopädie des Märchens,
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen),
Prof Timothy Tangherlini (University of California, Los Angeles).

During the four seminars students will analyse texts and discuss selected articles. The readings will be made available for the registered participants in May 2012. The seminar will also include the plenary lectures of the symposium "Supernatural Places", delivered by Lina Būgiene (Vilnius), Terry Gunnell (Reykjavik), David Hopkin (Oxford), Irma-Riitta Järvinen (Helsinki), Bengt af Klintberg (Stockholm), John Lindow (Berkeley), Diarmuid Ó Gioll?in (Cork/, Notre Dame, IN), Jonathan Roper (Tartu), Daniel Sävborg (Tartu), Timothy Tangherlini (Los Angeles) and Ergo-Hart Västrik (Tartu). More information about the symposium is available at http://www.ut.ee/folk/index.php/et/syndmused/295

Requirements for participation

Interested graduate students (maximum 20) can apply for the seminar by sending a letter of motivation (200-350 words) to by April 20, 2012.
Students who are not members of GSCSA are required to add a short CV to specify their education and research interests. You will be notified of your participation by May 4, 2012.
The language of the seminar is English.
Participation in the course is free of charge; the accommodation and travel costs of the students of GSCSA will be reimbursed.

Program director: Ülo Valk
Seminar assistants: Katre Koppel, Pihla Siim, Siiri Tomingas-Joandi
Student coordinator: Helen Kästik, ktkdk@ut.ee
Additional information: ktkdk@ut.ee

Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory are funded by the European Union Structural Assistance.

June 4-7, 2012
Tartu, Estonia

Organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore and the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu.

In 1988 the Department of Irish Folklore, University College, Dublin, hosted the symposium "The Supernatural in Irish and Scottish Migratory Legends". Other symposia then followed: in Galway (1991), Copenhagen (1993), Dublin (1996) and Reykjavik (2005), and now, for the first time, it will be held on the east side of the Baltic Sea. With each symposium, the international scope has expanded and the number of participants has increased. The local and migratory legends of Northern Europe have remained the major topic of the meetings, providing common ground for discussions about contents, form, performance, history and theories of folk narratives and their relationship to social realities.

The 6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic folklore symposium returns to the topic of supernatural in legends, which was also discussed during the first meetings. It is also dedicated to the relationship between tradition communities and their environment, expressed in folklore. The symposium will explore the supernatural dimensions of natural places in the cultural landscape and in the wilderness, as they are narrated and manifested in legends and other genres. The supernaturalisation of places - holy groves, churches, haunted houses, cemeteries, grave mounds, hills, lakes, locations of hidden treasures and other tradition dominants of place-lore - will be studied as a narrative practice with social impacts, shaping the everyday-life and behaviour patterns of tradition bearers. The symposium will also study the localisation of legend plots in a local environment, blending legends with social realities and other strategies for enchanting the world through belief narratives. The supernatural also opens narrative space to the realms of fantasy and imagination. Representations of heaven, hell, lands of the dead and other supernatural worlds are a vital part of several oral and literary genres that will also be addressed at the symposium.

We also welcome papers on the following sub-topics:
The history of legend research
Classification of legends
Legend and everyday life
Pragmatics of legends and other genres of belief
Legends and other place-lore
Legends in sagas and other ancient sources
Fantasy realms between belief and fiction
Legends and theorising the supernatural

The working language of the symposium will be English. Each paper will be given 20 minutes for presentation with 10 minutes for discussion. Proposals for papers and panels may be submitted via the web site:
http://www.ut.ee/folk (http://www.ut.ee/folk/index.php/en/conferences/235-supernatural-places ), by contacting the conference secretaries by email

Pihla Maria Siim (pihla.siim @ut.ee)
Siiri Tomingas-Joandi (siiri.tomingas @ut.ee)

or by sending a letter to the conference secretariat

Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore
University of Tartu
Ülikooli 16
51003 Tartu
Tel./ Fax: +372-737 5310

The deadline of registration and submitting the abstract (up to 300 words) will be January 20, 2012. You will be notified about your proposal by February 20, 2012. The second circular letter will be sent out in late February, 2012. There is no registration fee but participants are expected to cover their travel and accommodation costs.

Welcome to Tartu!

Daniel Sävborg,
Professor of Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu
(daniel.savborg @ut.ee)

Ülo Valk,
Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu
(ulo.valk @ut.ee)

WORLD ROUTES 3: Arctic workshop of the University of Tartu

June 1-2, 2012
Tartu, Estonia

In 2010, the Department of Ethnology/Anthropology of the University of Tartu launched its annual Arctic workshop series. The first workshop was called World Routes and was dedicated to movement patterns in the Arctic. Due to the fact that the workshop was very successful, we plan to continue with the topic also in 2012.

After two successful workshops the Arctic Workshop series is continuing with the third and the last workshop with the subtitle World Routes. World Routes 3 is also focusing on movement patterns in the Arctic. We wish to bring together presentations that discuss the movement of people, physical object, ideas or the idea of movement in the context of the Arctic in a way that opens new horizons or initiates exciting discussions.

The Arctic is often seen as an isolated empty area covered with snow. However, the Arctic has been inhabited not only for centuries but for thousands of years. These inhabitants have been in constant movement. The Arctic is a region with huge distances and with the constant requirement for importing more or less everything. This all means that movement is more central in the Arctic than in many other regions. The movement of people in different regions of the Arctic is linked with various environmental factors, changes in the economy, political processes, state policy, and movement of ideas, to name but a few. Besides that, physical movement is often accompanied with identity shifts, the creating of new identities, consolidation of existing ones or adapting to a new identity (e.g. sibiriaki in Siberia). These multiple factors and different modes of movement and identity change have contrary to population movement in other continents of the world ā€“ received little continuous attention by scholars. Moreover, the movement of people in the Arctic is often studied as the movement of two separate groups the native and the incomer population, but we have to see it as interconnected on different levels.

The workshop wishes to explore these and other aspects of movement. The main theoretical framework of the workshop is that the movement of people in the Arctic, both past and present is multilayered, has a complex background and content, and several initiators. We would like to discuss different levels and aspects of movement in the Arctic. Herewith we do not want to be limited to one discipline, region, ethnic group or economic form (mode). Beside anthropologists we also encourage contributions from specialists in history, biology, sociology, management studies and so forth. Colleagues who are working on their PhD thesis are also welcome to come and discuss their works.

Keynote speech at the third World Routes workshop is delivered by Peter Schweitzer, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Please send your abstract (as a Word document) of maximum 300 words to Aimar Ventsel (Aimar.Ventsel@ut.ee) at latest on 15th of December 2011.

The workshop is supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Center of Excellence CECT).

Program (pdf)

May 18-19, 2012


On May 18-19, 2012 the Collegium of Science and Religion will hold our annual, the ninth springschool in Põltsamaa. Presentations will be made by Marko Uibu, Kalev Tarkpea, Margus Ott, Andres Soosaar, Kati Olt, Tõnu Lehtsaar, Ain Riistan, Roland Karo, Anne Kull ja Merca. A film will be selected by Kaarel Kuurmaa.

More information: Anne Kull (annekull@hotmail.com, 511 7698)

What is Life?
Tartu, Estonia
April 24-29, 2012

December 9-10, 2011
Degree Course of the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA)

Organized by the University of Tartu; Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts; ESF Grant “Analysis of Knowledge Production in the Context of (National) Heritage Scholarship“; Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT)

2 ECTS credits

The seminar on knowledge production proposes to look at sources and practices of ’knowledge production’ that could be largely termed as cultural heritage studies. This inquiry proceeds from a reflexive investigation of disciplinary histories of scholarship embedded in and shaping the nation-building processes (e.g. ethnology, history, literature, etc). The making of archives and museums, the formation of depositories for past repertories, and for records of past cultural practices or artefacts – all backed by the establishment of relevant academic programmes – has inherently served the purpose of creating a national cultural heritage.

With a view of unraveling the institutionalization and social dissemination of scholarly knowledge, we propose to explore the politics of institutions, the knowledge legacies of seminal figures in the field and the identification of their object of research from a historical perspective and in relevant socio-political context, while taking into account particular rhetoric and political contingencies. The study of knowledge making practices in cultural research sheds light on disciplinary histories, the authoritative positions created, and the establishment of institutionalized knowledge format. The aim of this event is an interdisciplinary discussion of current research methodologies, the enhancement of international cooperation in scholarship, and the involvement of young researchers or graduate students in an academic exchange of ideas that would go beyond the usual conference or lecture outline. The participants will include nine established scholars and twenty doctoral students.


December 9

10:15 coffee/tea

Discussion group 1
Moderator Kristin Kuutma
Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu) Knowledge production and ethnographic representation
Simon Knell (University of Leicester) Approaching the object

11:45-12:15 coffee break

Discussion group 2
Moderator Simon Knell
Stefan Berger (University of Bochum/University of Manchester) National archives, national museums and national histories in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe
Marek Tamm (Tallinn University) Afterlife of events: How past becomes historical?

13:30-15:30 lunch break – Restaurant Entri (Rüütli 9)

Student discussion group
Moderator Marek Tamm
Liisi Taimre (University of Tartu) Small museums and knowledge production
Simon Halink (University of Groningen) In the absence of Europe. Romantic nationalism, Eddic mythology, and the repaganization of the Icelandic mind 1830-1944
Helen Wilkinson (University of Leicester) Curatorial expertise, professional identity and national heritage in Britain in the 1970s

16:30-17:00 coffee break

Student discussion group
Moderator Regina Bendix
Liis Livin (University of Tartu) Archaeological heritage, its meaning and usage
Helen Bome (Tallinn University) Villem Raam as a folk poet? The “oral tradition” shaping the discourse of medieval art in Estonia
Kristina Jõekalda (Estonian Academy of Arts) Heritage of architecture reflected in late 19th century writing

December 10

10:15 coffee/tea

Discussion group 3
Moderator Stefan Berger
Monika Baár (University of Groningen) The role of literary and learned societies in the institutionalization of the national heritage
Regina Bendix (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) One language, three (or four?) research cultures: German language Volkskunde after 1945
Michaela Fenske (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) Narrating region, narrating nation

12:15-14:30 lunch break – Restaurant Entri (Rüütli 9)

Student discussion group
Moderator Monika Baár
Toms Kencis (University of Tartu) Disciplinary agendas: The power of comparison
Andrea Bochese (University of Tartu) The rediscovery of the classical Greco-Roman cultural heritage in seventeenth-century occasional poetry: Imitation and evolution
Kristin Vaik (University of Tartu) The representations of exile literature in the histories of Estonian literature

15:30-15:50 coffee break

Student discussion group
Moderator Kristin Kuutma
Karin Bürkert (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) Knowledge production as stabilization and valorization: The case of Fastnacht in Southwestern Germany
Leenu Nigu (Tallinn University) What is ‘folk’ and what is ‘dance’ in the quest for Estonian folk dance?

16:30-17:00 conclusions

The graduate school program consists of academic presentations and discussions.
The seminar will be carried out in 4 sessions. Each session will include about 3 presentations of 20 minutes with a longer discussion to follow, where the main discussants are expected to be the presenters themselves.

Key topics:
1. nationalism and ethnographic studies
2. nationalism and history (historical records)
3. heritage and literature (literary works)
4. knowledge production and heritage (conceptualization of heritage)

The essence of the session will be discussion. Each lecturer chooses 1-2 relevant articles/chapters for student assignment.

Students are proposed to give a 10 minute talk on their research topic or write a reflection (1500-2500 words) on the seminar by December 29. Student presentations are chosen by the organizers via abstracts sent for application and assigned to a matching session.

Requirements for participation
Interested graduate students should send an abstract (500-600 words) related to the key topics of the seminar by November 5, 2011. Students who are not members of GSCSA are required to add a short CV to specify their education and research interests.
E-mail address: ktkdk@ut.ee
You will be notified of the acceptance of your contribution by November 12, 2011. The literature of the seminar will be available by that time.

Seminar venue and practical side
Graduate seminar takes place in Tartu: Zaal, Raekoja plats 10, 3rd floor.
The language of the course is English. Participation at the seminar will be free of charge for the confirmed participants (this includes accommodation, food). More information about accommodation choices will be provided for the participants.

Program director: Kristin Kuutma
Program manager: Monika Tasa
Student coordinator: Helen Kästik, ktkdk@ut.ee

Seminar is supported by the European Social Fund (GSCSA), European Regional Fund (CECT), European Science Foundation (ETF Grant No. 7795).

Lecture: Main Hall of the University of Tartu, November 9th 2011
Seminar: Viljandi Culture Academy, November 11th 2011

Todd Siler, visual artist, writer, inventor, and receiver of the World Cultural Council “Leonardo da Vinci” World Award of Arts in 2011, gives a lecture and a seminar in the University of Tartu on November 9th and 11th (2011).

On November 9th, at 14:00, Todd Siler gives a lecture “ArtScience: Cultivating A World of "Metaphormers" (Lifelong Learners, Discoverers, Creators, Inventors, Innovators, Problem-Solvers, Collaborators)" in the Main Hall of the University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-139.

World Cultural Council Award Ceremony takes place in the Assembly Hall of the University of Tartu on November 10th, at 14:00.

On November 11th, at 12:00, Todd Siler gives a seminar in (the University of Tartu) Viljandi Culture Academy Blackbox. Seminar evolves lecture’s topic, “ArtScience: Cultivating A World of "Metaphormers" (Lifelong Learners, Discoverers, Creators, Inventors, Innovators, Problem-Solvers, Collaborators)".

Introduction to Todd Siler’s lecture/seminar (PDF)
Additional notes (PDF)
Additional reading (PDF)

Todd Siler’s article "Making sense of ideas" (PDF)
Todd Siler’s article "Pointing your way to success through metaphorming" (PDF)
Todd Siler’s article "The ArtScience Program for Realizing Human Potential" (PDF)

Additional information on the events of World Cultural Council at the University of Tartu
See the poster

A short introduction to Todd Siler
Todd Siler’s homepage

More information: Monika Tasa, coordinator, monika.tasa@ut.ee, 737 6535
Event is supported by European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory).

August 22-26, 2011

Tartu Summer School of Semiotics is a new series of gatherings that brings together representatives of semiotics and related disciplines with the aim to provide an environment to converse about core issues in semiotics that are of disciplinary as well as transdisciplinary relevance.

Summer School 2011 is five-day event taking place from August 22 to 26 in a secluded Palmse manor in North Estonia. On August 22 will be one-day Conference on the secondary modelling systems approach of the Kääriku Summer Schools.
Topic for this year's summer school is modelling in semiotics / as semiotic phenomena.
Deadline for abstract: March 15, 2011

For more information visit:

Organisers: University of Tartu, Department of Semiotics; Center of Excellence in Cutural Theory; Graduate School of Linguistics, Philosophy and Semiotics; Estonian Semiotics Association

Conference "Recollecting and mediating food culture"

April 11-12, 2011
Tartu (Exhibition House of the Estonian National Museum), Estonia

The conference “Recollecting and mediating food culture: Individual and institutional perspectives” will be focused on individual as well as institutional practices of remembering and mediating food culture.

Food culture has been an important part of national and regional heritage, and thus has not just economic, but also political importance. From the beginning of this century, public discussion concerning the definition one’s identity through a culinary past has become increasingly heated in Estonia, as well as in other European countries. Concurrently, new possibilities for making food traditions more attractive in the contemporary sense are searched for on state, entrepreneurial, and individual levels, and because of this tourists as well as local inhabitants are encouraged to consume and to evaluate gastronomic achievements.

One of the roles of the National Museum is to function as an institution of national culinary memory and to engage in collecting and preserving the past of the food culture and to mediate and display food-related materiality and knowledge to the society. In addition, there are many other institutions in the society (teaching and scholarly institutions, food producers, restaurants, nongovernmental organisations etc.) that are engaged in mediating food culture in one way or another. These institutions are constantly recreating food-related knowledge, as well as what actually gets on our plates. No doubt one cannot underestimate the role of particular individuals in living and developing traditions of food culture and culinary identities in their everyday cooking practices and interpretations.

Papers with both academic and practical orientation, treating the past and the present of food culture, and focusing on the knowledge and practice of remembering, evaluating, preparing and serving food, are expected to the conference.

Important information:
- Conference takes place in both Estonian and English languages. You can submit your abstract either in Estonian or English. Simultaneous translation is provided at the conference Deadline for submitting the preliminary abstract is February 1th, 2011. The length of the abstract is 250–300 words. Please also include your contact information and institutional affiliation (name, profession, employer, e-mail address).
- Notification of acceptance of your abstract: February 10th, 2011.
- Deadline for extended abstracts: March 11th 2011 (1600–2000 words). The selected presentations are published in the Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics (2011, Vol. 5). The full texts of the pre-reviewed journal are available in the International database at www.ceeol.com. The journal is indexed by the Anthropological Index Online.
- Participation at the conference is free of charge.
- Registration online: www.erm.ee/2011enm

Conference team:
Pille Runnel, research director, Estonian National Museum – pille.runnel@erm.ee
Terje Anepaio, researcher, Estonian National Museum – terje.anepaio@erm.ee
Ester Võsu, researcher, Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu / Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory – ester.vosu@ut.ee

Conference Secretary:
Agnes Aljas – agnes.aljas@erm.ee

Conference is supported by:
Estonian National Museum www.erm.ee
European Union Regional Development Fund

Conference "Talking about Tradition"

May 31, 2010

 A one-day conference about tradition and change in Estonian Literary Museum, May 31st 2010 supported by the Estonian Literary Museum and by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory)

More Information

September 24-26, 2009
Tartu, Ülikooli 18


September 24

14.00 Registration and coffee (room 312)
14.30 Welcome and introduction
15.00 Keynote lecture: Aune Valk “Problems of and Solutions for Intercultural Communication”
16.00 Discussion
17.00 Markku Salakka „Missionaries' Culture shock as a transformative learning experience”
17.30 Discussion

September 25

9.30 Laima Geikina “Toledo Guiding principles in promotion of inter-cultural dialogue” 10.00 Discussion
10.15 Juha Luodeslamppi “Pedagogical approaches in religious education”
10.45 Discussion
11.30 Catherine Meehan “Religious Education in the Early Years: An Australian perspective”
12.00 Discussion
12.15 Prof. Cornelia Roux „Human Rights Education and Religion Education: A South African perspective”
12.45 Discussion
14.30 Excursion
16.00 Visit to an Orphan home. (Tartu Christian Adolescent Home)

September 26

9.30 Prof. Arto Kallioniemi “How to investigate religious education”
10.00 Discussion
10.15 Olga Schihalejev „Hindrances and potentials for dialogue in RE lessons: a case study”
10.45 Discussion
11.30 Prof. Antti Räsänen: „Extensive Well-being in Childhood and Youth; World view, Religiousness, Existential and Spiritual Questions (EWiCY); Project description”
12.00 Discussion
12.15 Conclusions and the way ahead

NB! Conference fee is 75 EEK covering the coffee breaks, materials and excursions.
Registration until 21st of September on e-mail kaido.soom@ut.ee.


Ülikooli 16-212
9:15-10:15 Ülo Valk Legends and Creativity: Social changes and vernacular religion in Estonia
10:25-11:25 Ulf Palmenfelt Individual Experiences and Grand Narratives

11:30-12:00 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

12:00-13:00 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-212
Ülo Valk Constructing Social Reality through Legends
Ülikooli 16-215
Ulf Palmenfelt Individual Experiences and Grand Narratives - a workshop

13:00-14:20 lunch, Ülikooli 16-102

LECTURES, Ülikooli 16-212
Valdimar Hafstein Cultural Heritage, Icelandic Style: Wrestling, singed sheep heads & whiteness
Dorothy Noyes Zombie Hillbillies, Heritage Riots, and Legacy Warlords: How to bury the undead past

16:30-17:00 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

17:00-18:00 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-212
Valdimar Hafstein Bodies of Heritage
Ülikooli 16-215
Dorothy Noyes Zombie Hillbillies, Heritage Riots, and Legacy Warlords: How to bury the undead past

July 31, Friday

LECTURES, Ülikooli 16-212
Stein R. Mathisen Heritages and Border Cultures in Changing Political Contexts
Marc Jacobs All in the Family? Heritage(s), Theories, Policies and Practices: From departmental categorization to a sensitizing conceptual framework

11:10-11:40 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

11:40-12:40 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-215
Stein R. Mathisen The Politics of Border(ing) Heritages
Ülikooli 16-212
Marc Jacobs Testing the Framework: Memory of the world, world heritage, safeguarding intangible cultural heritage

13:00-14:20 lunch at the Estonian National Museum (Kuperjanovi 9)
13:40-14:40 guided tour in the Estonian National Museum

15:00-16:30 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-212, 215, 208, 108
Student presentations (4 breakout groups, see pp. 20-21)

16:30-17:00 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

LECTURE, Ülikooli 16-212
Kristin Kuutma Reclaiming the Seto Heritage and the Politics of Culture: Introduction to the fieldtrip

August 1-2

Overnight fieldtrip to Setomaa

August 3, Monday

LECTURES, Ülikooli 16-212
Anthony McCann The Multiple Vocabularies of Ordinary Ethics: Reflections on conflict, community, and everyday life in Northern Ireland
Cristina Sánchez-Carretero The Instrumentalization of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Situations

11:30-12:00 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

12:00-13:00 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-215
Cristina Sánchez-Carretero New Heritage Sites and the Concept of Dissonant Heritage
Ülikooli 16-212
Anthony McCann What Would We Like Our Children to Learn about Life?: Reviving the educational dimensions of 'tradition' and 'heritage'

13:00-14:30 lunch, Ülikooli 16-102

14:30-16:00 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-215, Ülikooli 16-212
Fieldtrip workshops (breakout groups)

16:00-16:30 coffee break, Ülikooli 16-102

16:30-17:30 WORKSHOPS
Ülikooli 16-212
Kristi Grünberg, Kristiina Porila Inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage
Discussants: Valdimar Hafstein, Marc Jacobs, Kristin Kuutma

Ülikooli 16-215
Pertti Anttonen Heritage, Tradition, and the Political Organization of Cultural Difference

See the pictures

Umberto Eco in Tartu

World-famous semiotician, philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco will be visiting Estonia at the invitation of the Estonian Center of Excellence in Cultural Theory.

On 6 May Eco’s honorary doctorate inauguration ceremony will take place in the UT Assembly Hall, followed by a public lecture and meeting with researchers and students from the UT Department of Semiotics.

On 7 May Umberto Eco will participate in the literary festival Prima Vista as an honorary guest. At the festival, he will deliver a public lecture entitled "Going backwards?" and meet with publishers and translators.

Eco’s Estonian visit will continue on 8 May in Tallinn, where he will visit the personal archive and library of Juri Lotman and Zara Mints and participate in a seminar organized by the Center for Research in Cultural Theory.

Umberto Eco is a professor at the University of Bologna. His book "A Theory of Semiotics" (1976) belongs to the classics in the field, and the same holds true for his novel "The Name of the Rose". Eight of Eco’s books have been published in Estonian.

Additional information: prof Kalevi Kull, Head of the Department of Semiotics, +372 737 5933, kalevi.kull@ut.ee

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