Valdur Mikita is the new visiting professor of liberal arts at the University of Tartu
In the coming academic year, the position of Visiting Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Tartu will be taken up by writer and semiotician Valdur Mikita, who is one of the most unique authors and essayists in modern Estonian literature. He is renowned by critics, award committees and the general public.
Dean of UT Faculty of Arts and Humanities Professor Margit Sutrop described Valdur Mikita as a creative thinker who can popularise natural sciences as well as the arts and humanities, but on the other hand, he crosses borders between specialisations, creates playful thought connections between distant cultural phenomena, and presents surprising views, inviting the reader and listener to think and feel along.
Mikita is looking for the historic basis of Estonian culture and sees ethno-futuristic tendencies in society, which are evident in the persistence on cultural phenomena from the distant past (e.g. picking berries) alongside the newest technological advancements of the information society. He can value the disappearing cultural phenomena and ways of thinking (e.g. magical thought) and looks for ways to maintain and revive them.
Sutrop is confident that the ideas and observations of Valdur Mikita let us expect an excellent lecture course in the new academic year. The course is entitled “Thought journey of the Estonians’ life sense” and is inspiring not only for the humanitarians of the UT but students of all faculties and employees. “In addition to diverse development of intellectuality and creativity, Valdur Mikita’s lectures could make people think about the liberal arts and relations in scientific discourse and the options of expression,” said Sutrop.
She added that on the one hand, electing Valdur Mikita as the Professor of Liberal Arts supports the university’s position as the national university, on the other hand, his lectures help establish bridges between specialisations and develop creativity in all fields.
Valdur Mikita has received an excellent academic preparation at the University of Tartu. He graduated from the UT as a biologist and defended his master’s thesis about semiotics in 1994. In 2000 he defended a doctoral thesis on semiotics. In the past three years, Valdur Mikita has given about a hundred open lectures about Estonian culture and identity. He has published numerous popular works.