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


%d bloggers like this: