Villa Lante Symposium: Semiotics of Cultural Heritages

Villa Lante Symposium: Semiotics of Cultural Heritages

International Research Project

Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Passeggiata di Gianicolo, 10,  Roma

Monday    April 7, 2014    10-12    

Opening  by the Chair:  Eero Tarasti

Invited guest lecture:  Stefania Guerra Lisi & Gino Stefani  (Rome):  Roma barocca – semiotica di una tradizione


Altti Kuusamo (Turku, Finland):  I primi angeli custodi e primi ’angeli attivi’ al inizio di seicento. Una problema della interpretazione

Roberto Mastroianni  (Turin):   Philosophical Anthropology and Anthropo-semiotics


lunch  12-14


14-15.30       Theory continued…

Kristian Bankov (Sofia) :   Cultural heritages in the consumption world


                  Zeynep Onur, Tanalt Ziya, Onur Ayse Ece (Ankara):  Effects of the Republic (1923) and its reflection in architectural tectonics in Turkey; Turkish Modern Architecture Movement.

Jean-Marie Jacono (Aix-Marseille) :  Du moyen âge à la mondialisation musicale : les troubadours et la nouvelle chanson occitane en France

coffee    15.30-16.00

16.00- 17.30     Festivities

                  Rahiyla Geybullaeva (Baku) :  Cultural traditions which are considered as a substantial part of modern-day  national identities

Bujar Hoxha (Skopje):   Identity and Cultural Heritage: Experiencing the Albanian Context


Lazaros Papoutsis, Ifigeneia Vamvakidou, Anastasia Christodoulou, Andromachi Solaki (Florina, Greece):  Athens Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, 2004. The Semiotics of the Ancient Greek Spirit.

concert    18-20   Eila Tarasti (piano), Tero Halonen (tenor), Quartet of the  Helsinki University Music Society  (Petrus Laitinmäki, Mikko Metsälampi, Holger Kaasik, Eero Tarasti)


dinner   20—


Tuesday    April 8, 2014    10-12        Finland:  between the North and the Kalevala

                   Pirjo Kukkonen (Helsinki):  Translation Transferring Cultural Heritage in Scandinavian Countries                

Juha Pentikäinen (Helsinki/Rovaniemi) : The Heritage of  Marina Takalo: the Long Memory of Kalevalaic Songs

Vesa Matteo Piludu (Helsinki):  The Heritage of Finnish Bear Incantations: Symbolism in Literature, Arts,  Design and Advertising, Political Propaganda


lunch  12-14

14-16     Finland continued…Czech and Baltic

                   Heidi Wirilander (Jyväskylä, Finland):  Semiotic Dimensions of Collective Memory and Destruction of Heritages – a Finnish Approach

Martin Polak (Brno):   Czech and Finnish National Movement

Holger Kaasik (Helsinki):  A cultural heritage lost – The Baltic German intellectuals and national  polarization in the second half of the 19th century

coffee  16-16.30

16.30- 17.30       Finland continued –   Learning and ceremonies

Tero Halonen (Helsinki):  Independence Day Reception and Conferment Ceremony for Masters. Finnish Ceremony Tradition and Four Categories of Signs in Ceremonies

Niclas Sandström (Helsinki):  How to Speak about Heritages in School teaching


                      Altti Kuusamo (Turku):  Tradition, the Work of Art and New Discoveries in Interpretation: Whose Signs are the revived meanings?

coffee     17.30-18  ….and final discussion on the future of the project


Fellowship programme conceived by the University of Torino (UNITO)

The Departament of Philosophy has opportunities for researches in Semiotics.

Working Group of Theoretical Semiotics

At the beginning of 2013, the Working Group of Theoretical Semiotics has started its work in the framework of the IASS-AIS. Its activity aims first of all at boosting research in the field of theoretical semiotics. It wants to foster this objective by means of the regular exchange of information, the ranking of research topics and the initiating of new research fields and new methods. The Group regularly informs the President of the IASS-AIS, and the international community of semioticians through the IASS-AIS homepage about its activity.

List of members of the Working Group of Theoretical Semiotics

– Dr. Mihaly Szivos, Senior researcher, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary, Coordinator of the Working Group

-Jean-François Bordron, Senior researcher, University of Toulouse, France

– Prof. Priscila Borges, Federal University of Ouro Preto

– Prof. Vincent Colapietro, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

–  Prof. Marta Grabocz, University of Strasbourg, France, Hungary

–  Prof. Giovanni Maddalena,  University of   Molise,  Italy

–  Prof. Ivan Mladenov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria

–   Prof. Dr. Winfried Nöth,  University of Kassel, Germany, and    Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil

– Dr. Andreas Ventsel, Senior researcher, University of Tartu, Estonia

WATS: World Association for Theoretical Semiotics

WATS stands for the World Association for Theoretical Semiotics.  We had a very successful organizational meeting at IASS-2009 in Coruña and now have about 20 members who are interested in developing, extending, criticizing, etc. semiotic theory and theoretical semiotics.

Our officers are:

President:                    Charls Pearson, USA

Vice-President:            Gu Jia-zu, PRC

Secretary:                    Søren Brier, Denmark

Director:                      Abraham Solomonick, Israel

Director:                      Gören Sonesson, Sweden

They will serve until the election of new officers at WATS-2.

Our next meeting, WATS-2, will be a symposium on theoretical semiotics at IASS-2012 in Nanjing.  This blog can serve as a CfPs.  Abstracts of 1,000 words or less may be e-mailed to me in either .Doc or .Docx (preferred) format.  My e-mail is  I will be glad to accept your abstracts for the WATS-2 symposium or pass on to the membership any relevant messages interested scholars may have.

Membership is open to any serious scholar who expresses an interest in the improvement of existing semiotic theory or the development of new semiotic theory.  The only requirement on theory is that it be rigorously grounded in the data.  You can apply for membership by sending me your name, email address, nationality, and a very brief statement of your interest in semiotic theory.

Our application to the IASS for affiliation as an interest group is progressing very well.

Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS) created at Lund University, Lund, Sweden

The Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS), amalgamates the theoretical and empirical heritage of Semiotics, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Anthropology, in order to be able to address the following key questions:

* What distinguishes human beings from other species, and how did this specificity evolve?
* What aspects of the human mind are universal, which are culturally specific, and what historical processes determine the latter?
* What is the relationship between key human semiotic resources such as language, gestures, pictures and music?
* How do semiotic resources develop in childhood?
* What are the neural underpinnings of key cognitive-semiotic capacities?

Research within CCS is divided into 5 themes:

1. Evolution of cognition and semiosis (“meaning-making”)
2. Ontogenetic development of cognition and semiosis
3. Historical development of cognition and semiosis
4. Typology beyond language
5. Neurosemiotics

Theoretical studies and systematic collection of empirical data serve to connect the themes. Unlike cognitive science, Cognitive Semiotics deals with experiential categories, e.g. meaning, norm, value, (self)-consciousness, agency, and identity. Unlike classical semiotics, it does not shy away from third-person methods, e.g. those of experimental psychology and neurolinguistics. In addition to existing infrastructure, CCS will further develop the Primate Field Station at Furuvik, and an Infant research unit.

* A general description of CCS (PDF 427 kB)

Semiotic Evolution and Cultural Dynamics: the Arts in Culture

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands

Summary of Research Project

The main goal of this research is to address, from a new theoretical perspective, the problem of the historical evolution in the arts. The project revives a tradition of research that was based upon the assumption that the historical evolution of the arts is determined by general underlying cultural structures. In line with this tradition, the research proposed will focus upon theevolution of semiotic deep structures.

The theory of semiotic evolution will provide an analysis of the logic that underlies cultural evolution. This logic, which is recursive, is modelled in a bandwidth model of semiotic evolution. It will be argued that the historical evolution of the arts is determined by the changing place and function, within the spectrum of the semiotic bandwidth that structures a culture, of one specific type of semiosis, namely: figurative (meta-) semiosis.

Signs and semiosis are mental realities, and a theory of semiosis is therefore necessarily also a theory of mental behaviour. To provide the theory of semiotic evolution, as well as the theory of art as figurative (meta-) semiosis, with a firm ground in the sciences of cognition, it will be related to relevant research in the neurosciences and evolutionary psychology.

In four case studies, the theory of semiotic and artistic evolution will be put to the test. The research will focus upon the consequences, for figurative (meta-) semiosis, of the increasing dominance of theoretical semiosis in Western culture in four different historical periods (classical antiquity; the late middle ages; the eighteenth century; contemporary global culture).

Keywords: semiotics; evolution; culture; art; cognition


Sedsu – Stages in the Evolution and development of Sign Use

NEST Pathfinder ‘What it means to be human

The 6th Framework Programme of the European Union

A project in collaboration between Goldsmith College, London, UK; CNRS Marseille, France; University of Portsmouth, London, UK; Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany; Department of linguistics, Department of semiotics and Department of Cogntive Sciences, University of Lund, Sweden; CNRS Rome, Italy.

Started in April 2005


An advanced ability to use and interpret signs is one of the characteristic features of human beings, setting us apart from the rest of the animal world. Through the SEDSU project, European specialists in human and primate cognition will study how sign use changes with the evolutionary development of species and within individual development. A better understanding of the different factors underlying sign acquisition in humans will have important implications for social and educational policies.

The question of what makes us human has occupied the minds of philosophers and scientists across the centuries. Recent advances in genome sequencing have made the debate even more pertinent, as we now know that the quantitative genetic differences between us and many other mammalian, particularly primate, species, are extremely small. The SEDSU project aims to provide one answer by demonstrating that what characterises humans is their advanced ability to engage in sign use.

By studying the relationship between five distinct cognitive domains and their roles in the development of sign use and language, the project team will show how sign use changes, both with the evolutionary development of species and within the lifestage development of individuals. The five domains – perception and categorisation; iconicity and pictures; spatial conceptualisation and metaphor; imitation and mimesis; and inter-subjectivity and conventions – are each characterised by a developmental profile linked to a distinct semiotic process, such as the use of pictorial representations or gesturing.

Using an interdisciplinary approach and a specially developed set of analytical tools, the team hopes to demonstrate that the transition from one developmental stage to another can be explained by the acquisition of a cognitive ability to use more advanced forms of signs, and to differentiate between the sign itself – such as a word or an abstract symbol – and what it represents.

Work packages:

(a) Perception and Categorisation Work package leader: Pam Heaton (Goldsmith)

(b) Iconicity and Pictures Work package leader: Joël Fagot (Marseille)

(c) Spatial Concepts and Metaphor Work package leader: Chris Sinha (Portsmough)

(d) Imitation and Mimesis Work package leader: Josep Call (Leipzig)

(e) Intersubjectivity and Conventions     Work package leader: Jordan Zlatev (Lund)

(f) Theoretical Conclusion     Work package leader: Göran Sonesson (Lund)

More information about the project (in English, French, Italian, German and Swedish)

Also see SEDSU-Lund


Language, Gestures and Pictures in the Perspective of Semiotic Development

Research Projects at Lund University, financed by the Faculty of Humanities, as a collaboration between the Department of semiotics, the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Cognitive Studies, started in Autumn 2002


The purpose of the project “Language, Gestures and Pictures in the Perspective of Semiotic Development“ is to elucidate the manner in which three basic semiotic systems: language, gestures and pictorial representations relate to one another, with special focus on both ontogenetic and phylogenetic development. By putting together the deep theoretical insights of semiotics, the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science, where evolutionary and neuroscientific studies of signification can be combined with computer modelling, and detailed empirical studies in different cultural environments from linguistics, we hope to reach a better understanding of how these three meaning systems – language, gestures, and pictures – which are fundamental to human beings differ from each other as well as interact, especially in development.

The project is a cooperative initiative between the Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, the Department of Semiotics and the Department of Cognitive Science, sponsored by the the Faculty of Humanities and Theology at Lund University. It aims to provide a framework for future joint research involving domains in which investigations have until now been carried out independently by the three departments. As part of the project, a new seminar series on semiotic evolution will be initiated,with the participation of leading scientists in the field.

More information about the project (in Swedish) and eight working papers in English available for download:


Aniversario del Programa de Semiótica de Puebla, México.

Estimados colegas:

Con gran satisfacción estamos terminando el año en que se cumple el décimo aniversario de la fundación del Programa de Semiótica y Estudios de la Significación (SeS) de la BUAP, centro de investigación y docencia adscrito a la Vicerrectoría de Investigación y Estudios de Posgrado de esta institución. El SeS fue creado a fines de julio de 1998 y el 16 de septiembre de ese mismo año inició formalmente sus actividades. Ese impulso originario fue posible gracias a la existencia previa de un Seminario que le sirvió de soporte. Aquel Seminario matriz surgió por iniciativa de un grupo de estudiosos que pertenecían a distintas unidades académicas de la BUAP y de la ENAH y tuvo como hecho fundacional un convenio, hoy en plena vigencia y de invaluable apoyo, con la Universidad de Limoges.

Al cierre de esta década concurren dos hechos que se aúnan en la misma celebración: la aparición del número 20 de la revista Tópicos del Seminario y la del libro Encajes discursivos. Estudios semióticos.

Durante estos años de crecimiento constante y sostenido del SeS, nuestra revista semestral, especializada en semiótica y disciplinas afines, tuvo una entrega puntual y fue incluida en el Índice de Revistas Mexicanas de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica del CONACYT. En estas veinte entregas, de carácter monográfico, los temas han ido recogiendo inquietudes de la semiótica contemporánea, contenidos que han trazado una línea en la problemática del lenguaje desde la primera aparición de Tópicos con Formas de vida hasta el volumen que ahora anunciamos, Rituales y mitologías.

Por su parte, el libro que estamos jubilosamente dando a conocer como nuestra publicación más reciente, es el resultado de una investigación colectiva de nuestro cuerpo académico con otros colegas de diversas universidades del país y del extranjero. En este ofrecemos una contribución propia con la intención de enriquecer el campo de los estudios dedicados al discurso.

Cumplido este ciclo, nos es grato constatar que el SeS ha funcionado como un núcleo efectivo de formación, investigación y difusión de la teoría semiótica originada en la lingüística estructural, nutrida por la antropología, el psicoanálisis y la fenomenología de la percepción, y que sus actividades han ejercido influencia en México así como en otros países. Sede de la Cátedra Greimas, el SeS ha organizado, bajo su cobertura, once cursos de especialización en semiótica siempre a cargo de prestigiosos profesores, quienes, ante una audiencia numerosa, han presentado el resultado de sus investigaciones o sus problemáticas en desarrollo. Dichos cursos han reunido la teoría de la significación con otras teorías con las cuales interactúa. Esta actividad anual, de la que se han beneficiado alumnos y profesores tanto de nuestra universidad como de otras instituciones del país, es correlativa a las diferentes tareas que los investigadores del SeS llevan a cabo como parte de su trabajo académico: impartición de clases en la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la BUAP y en otras universidades nacionales y del extranjero con las que se tienen convenios y acuerdos de cooperación, cursos especiales de verano, dirección de tesis de licenciatura y de posgrado, asesoría del programa de repatriación de becarios del CONACYT y de estancias posdoctorales, supervisión de alumnos del servicio social y de estudiantes que obtienen becas de formación en investigación a través de programas como “Verano de la investigación científica” (convocado por la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias), “La ciencia en tus manos” y “Jóvenes investigadores”, además de la participación en los Proyectos VIEP-CONACYT, programas, estos últimos, de nuestra propia universidad.

La investigación en el SeS -que concilia la semiótica general con los estudios literarios, la retórica, la teoría del arte y el discurso religioso, para lo cual cuenta con el acervo bibliográfico “Fondo Greimas de Semiótica” especializado en la disciplina- se desarrolla a través de proyectos individuales apoyados por dependencias como el CONACYT y la VIEP, y también grupales, en torno a los cuales el cuerpo académico se reúne periódicamente para avanzar sobre planteamientos teóricos más amplios acerca de la significación, y con ello generar propuestas que, posteriormente, se someten a discusión en foros nacionales e internacionales. Estos proyectos de mayor envergadura han sido financiados por dependencias externas a la universidad, como es el caso de PROMEP, y sus resultados se han hecho evidentes con la publicación de libros colectivos.

Una actividad eje y que hace converger la investigación y la docencia, es el Seminario de Estudios de la Significación, el cual convoca mensualmente a un grupo académico interdisciplinario y de diversas universidades. Este Seminario está organizado en tres módulos temáticos anuales que reflejan las búsquedas e inquietudes del cuerpo académico.

En cuanto a la difusión en prensa de estas actividades, destaca la publicación de libros individuales y colectivos (algunos de ellos en coedición), los Cuadernos de Trabajo y la mencionada revista Tópicos del Seminario. Por otro lado, tuvimos a nuestro cargo la organización del Congreso Internacional Universos discursivos: la palabra que no cesa, llevado a cabo en 2001, el cual se dedicó a la obra de Noé Jitrik; en este evento, la BUAP, por iniciativa del SeS, distinguió al autor con el Doctorado Honoris Causa. Además, se han organizado numerosas conferencias y jornadas de semiótica a cargo de especialistas que realizaron en nuestro centro estancias académicas.

En consecuencia, nuestro futuro se anuncia promisorio: crecer en nuestra capacidad de trabajo y en la eficacia de nuestros planes y proyectos, transmitir con creatividad los bienes del saber y alentar así los procesos de transformación en nuestros estudiantes. Motivos estos suficientes para convocar a un evento festivo y a un brindis de honor por el X Aniversario del Programa de Semiótica y Estudios de la Significación, el que tendrá lugar el Jueves 4 de diciembre, 18.00 hrs., en la sala de Lectura de la Biblioteca Antigua “José María Lafragua”. Contaremos con la distinguida presencia de Luz Aurora Pimentel (UNAM).

Los miembros del SeS

Académicos: Raúl Dorra (director), María Isabel Filinich, Luisa Ruiz Moreno, Iván Ruiz y María Luisa Solís Zepeda.

Administrativos: María de Lourdes Torres Ponce y Dominique Bertolotti Thiodat.

The Master’s Degree Programme in Semiotics at the University of Helsinki

The Master’s Degree Programme in Semiotics is a new graduate programme
hosted by the Insti-tute for Art Research at the Faculty of Arts.
Participating partners at the University of Helsinki are the Department of
Sociology, the Department of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Literatures,
and the Christina Institute for Women’s Studies. Close co-operation through
exchange agreements is carried out with nine European universities and
research institutes.

Thematic focus and the aim of the programme

The interdisciplinary programme brings together approaches from such related
fields as gender studies, musicology, and philosophy. Teaching is largely
based on research and it benefits from the Institute of Art Research’s high
profile in semiotics research. At the Institute of Art Research, the
emphasis in semiotics has traditionally been in the analysis of music,
literature, cinema, as well as on the elaboration of the different
theoretical paradigm, most notably those of American pragma-tism,
continental structuralism, existentialism, hermeneutics, zoosemiotics, and
the theory of cul-tural semiotics.

The aim of the programme is to provide students with the knowledge and
research skills that are necessary in analyzing and negotiating problems of
signification, interpretation and communication in today’s world. Students
enrolled in the programme follow lecture courses, participate in workshops
and seminars and write at the end of their studies a 100 page master’s
thesis under the professor’s supervision. The lecture courses, workshops and
seminars are scheduled so as to enhance international mobility. Teaching in
the programme is given fully in English.

Applying and the degree

The application period opens in November 2008, and closes in January 2009.
The programme begins in the autumn 2009. The applicant should have finished
a Bachelor’s degree, or be about to finish it before the start of the
programme. The applicant should also already have elementary knowledge of
semiotic theories and concepts, and be proficient in English.
The programme is comprised of 120 ECTS credits, and the optimal duration of
studies is 2 years. Upon successful completion of the programme, the
graduate will be awarded the degree of Master of Arts. For research oriented
graduates there are possibilities for continuing the studies on a
post-graduate level at the University of Helsinki or abroad. Graduates with
a job-market oriented profile can successfully look for careers in wide
variety of fields, from media to public administration.

Further information

The programme’s coordinator Ville Vaara ( ville.vaara(at) ) is
happy to provide more information and answer any questions.

Further information on the programme is available at the following address:

English language MA in Semiotics at Tartu University

Announcing English language MA in Semiotics at Tartu University

Tartu University is home for a unique centre of semiotics, based in the Department of Semiotics, one of the oldest in the world, established already by Juri Lotman. It has long-term traditions in research, and teaching in BA, MA, and PhD level.

Now we are glad to announce the opening of a new full-scale Master programme in Semiotics, starting from the study year 2009/2010. All courses will be taught in English by the internationally known specialists in the field.

The MA programme offers series of courses that cover the semiotic knowledge in historical, theoretical and applied aspects. The programme includes three main fields of semiotics – cultural, social and biological semiotics, providing also an insight into the methodology and contemporary applications of semiotic analysis.

The programme does not require a previous BA in semiotics; students from different fields of study are welcome to apply. We offer free tuition for all admitted students and stipends based on the best academic results. The application round for the next year has started and on-line application form is available.

More information and admission requirements can be found at:

Please feel free to contact for questions, comments, inquiries, and applications:

Katre Väli
+372 737 6155
+372 5263275

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