The aim of the course is to give an introduction to Lotman’s semiotic theory of culture, its theoretical background and context as well as new developments and applications of his theory in current semiotics and cultural sciences. Our goal is to offer a deeper understanding of cultural mechanisms and a set of tools for practical analysis of culture that would afford new insights into contemporary cultural dynamics.
Participants of the course learn to:
Applications are evaluated based on
Motivation letter (up to 1.5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, explains his/her expectations about the programme and how participation in the summer programme is connected with his/her studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use the gained experience and knowledge in the future.
Level: BA and MA
Credits: 4 ECTS
Time: 29 June –10 July; 2020
Programme fee: 1100 € with accommodation and 700 € without accommodation.
Programme fee: 1100 € includes tuition, cost of the study visits, cultural and social programme, services of the host university with accommodation in double rooms in a hostel.
Alternatively participants can arrange their own housing and in this case the tuition fee for the academic and cultural programme is 700 €.
Students are responsible for their travel and travel insurance (visa arrangements, if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country.
Juri Lotman has been considered one of the most innovative cultural theorists in the 20th century. He established the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics – an international group of scholars with diverse background from literary studies, linguistics, mathematics to orientalistics, unified by common interest in semiotics. Their collectively written Theses on the Semiotic Study of Cultures (1973) was the programmatic work initiating semiotics of culture as a field of studies.
Languages of culture as modelling systems
Theory of modelling systems is one of the most important contributions of Tartu-Moscow School to semiotic theory. Understanding diverse cultural languages as modelling systems used for creating world models (texts), and learning to evaluate the modelling capacity of these systems is central for understanding information processes and mechanisms in culture. The course introduces Lotman’s approach to semiotic mechanisms shared by arts and media as cognitive-semiotic systems. Theoretical overviews are accompanied with practical analysis.
Textuality of culture: texts and textualization
Textuality of culture was one of the central approaches of Lotman that helped to connect the analysis of individual texts as information bearing models and their interrelationships to the broader functioning of culture as a mechanism that creates, stores and communicates information. We learn how to use textuality as a tool for analysing culture, cultural memory as well as social and environmental spaces. In addition, the course addresses new textual formats and functioning of new media spaces.
Relations between languages and texts in culture: translation, inter- and transmediality
Lotman’s understanding of communication as translation, the role of translatability and untranslatability as mechanisms of cultural cohesion and as cultural innovation has been used fruitfully in translation studies and in media studies. The course introduces Lotman’s approach to translation and its application in contemporary research in contemporary translation and media studies including topics like transmediality and new media.
The central topic and gathering point of all the above mentioned topics is Lotman’s theory of culture, his model of semiosphere and discussion of continuous and explosive processes in culture. Understanding culture as complex self-descriptive and self-organizing system combines the issues of history and cultural memory, textuality and sign systems, providing thus tools for holistic cultural analysis across all the levels of culture. But it also offers a practical tool for analysing and designing cultural innovations.
The course I participated in combined exciting and thought-provoking lectures delivered by the prominent professors of the University of Tartu, inspiring workshops where you could change your perception of history, culture, understanding of the world and your place in it. What is more, this course will be of interest to students studying philosophy, culture studies, history, linguistics, languages or everyone interested in semiotics.
In addition, during the summer school in Tartu we spend time actively participating in city tours, inter cultural poetry reading evenings, interesting conversations and discussions with bright students from all over the world.
Mariia Polova Click for the full story!