Thursday, April 8, 2021

Spring Semiosalong 2021: Transmutation (and other semiotic mechanisms)

Series theme: A look into the everyday phenomenon of meaning creation might suffice to make us notice that meaning is often dependent upon more than one sign system. When we look at a movie, there are sounds, voices, music, images; when we speak with someone, there are gestures, there are pronunciations telling us where our interlocutor is from, there are hints telling us about her or his age; when we walk down the street there are signs that give indications to us by means of their shape, their color and their location. Every piece of information that we obtain from all the meaningful things we encounter every day is determined by the fact that each of these pieces of information are in fact signs belonging to different sign systems. It is thus interesting to ask, what kinds of relationships are established between sign systems? How is it that they can work together? Perhaps, one possible answer is that in addition to the possibility of expressing meanings in different ways, there are also meaningful units able to move from one sign system to another. Indeed, it might be so that there is a sort of permanent dialogue or negotiation between sign systems that allow us to make sense of the things we encounter every day. This, in its turn, might be seen as translation processes whereby a meaning gets transmutated as it moves from one sign system to another. It was Roman Jakobson who called transmutation this process of translating between different sign systems, but this is surely not the only way we can think about the relationships between sign systems. Accordingly, the aim of this Semiosalong series is to discuss, not only Jakobson’s concept, but all the other possible mechanisms and processes that lie behind the multifold interactions of the sign systems we use on our daily lives.

Here is the program for this semester:

15th April, Ludmila Lacková and Tyler James Bennett

29th April, Andrew Creighton and Mark Mets

14th May, Elli M. Tragel and Herman A. Tamminen

28th May, Mariam Nozadze and Federico Bellentani




Friday, February 19, 2021

Autumn Semiosalong 2020: Semiotics in Latin America


Series theme: Nowadays, Peircean semiotics has a strange hold on the Latin American mind, but this is not the only semiotics that happens in Latin America. The Saussurean revolution of the mid-20th century left strong traces in the subcontinent that were carried back to Europe and elsewhere by the Latin Americans escaping from the then rising dictatorships. In this climate, Latin American semiotics was born as an act of resistance; as a revolutionary practice. The following decades brought some important changes that impacted on both the region and the discipline. The second half of the 20 th century saw the institutionalization of semiotics, and with it, the tension between semiotics as a critical thinking tool and its assimilation by design and marketing programs. Yet, these seemingly opposite tendencies are of crucial importance for the dynamicity of the discipline. This adds up to the many contradictions, different points of view, and internal forces that have shaped semiotics in Latin America into an ever changing and vibrant field. The present series will dwell on the kind of semiotics specific to the region (even in the cases when it was developed abroad), from its beginnings in the 1950s to its later developments at the turn of the century. The presentations will give a glimpse of the vast landscape of Spanish and Portuguese speaking semiotic research, given that today the Latin diaspora in semiotics reaches even as far as our beloved city of Tartu.

Session 1: Novermber 24th, 2020
Leticia Vitral
“Yes, nós temos semiótica! Semiotics in Brazil”

Oscar Miyamoto                                                                                          ““Chile, mole y pozole” A Brief History of Semiotic studies in Mexico”

Session 2: December 1st, 2020                                                                          Carlos Guzmán                                                                                           ““Aiming at the significance target”: Emergence of agentive semiotics in the Colombian semiotic landscape”

Israel Chávez
“From Buenos Aires to Geneva: The semiotics of Luis J. Prieto”

Session 3: December 16th, 2020
Jorge L. Flores Hernández
“Bachelor Machines: An intertextual reading of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666”

Round table:
“A balance: Semiotics in Latin America (and beyond): From Anthropophagists to Savage Detectives”
With the participation of L. Vitral, O. Miyamoto, I. Chávez, C. Guzmán, J. Flores.

Autumn Semiosalong 2019: Semiotics of Conflict


Series Theme: Discussions about conflicts often revolve around two main questions: how to solve them and how to avoid them? Despite our often fearful and negative attitude towards them, conflicts play an important role as a dynamic force in the world around us and thus deserve a more multifaceted approach. The semiotic viewpoint offers an interesting insight and allows us to observe conflict as a universal mechanism of meaning generation. In turn, conflict presents one of the most fruitful research objects for semiotic inquiry. It is in the moment of conflict where everyday life routines lose their automaticity revealing different meaning structures and making the semiotic nature of our reality apparent. The autumn Semiosalong 2019 aims to bring these two perspectives into dialogue with a series of lectures addressing various contexts – cultural, social and environmental with the aim of gaining a deeper insight on the nature and function of conflicts.

Session 1: November 13th, 2019
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa “Communities of Conflict on May 9 and beyond”

Alin Olteanu “Killing in the name of... culture”

Session 2: November 20th, 2019
Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk “Semiotic Facets of Bare Life and Biopolitical Othering: Estonia and Beyond”

Andre Uibos “On time and conflict: a semiotic view”

Session 3: December 16th, 2019
Nelly Mäekivi and Riin Magnus “Conflict-free life: Relations between the European mink and local people”

Joonas Plaan “Who owns the sea and its resources? Human-seal interactions and conflicts of meanings, practices and knowledge”

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Autumn Semiosalong 2018: Excavations in the Esoteric

Session 3

Date: November 29th, 2018. 18.00


Òscar Castro: Hermeticism and the Search for a Semiotics of the Sacred

Tiit Remm: The Personal and the Universal in Spatial Models of the Sociocultural World

Location: Genialistide Klubi

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Autumn Semiosalong 2018: Excavations in the Esoteric

Session 1 speakers:

Mehmet Emir Uslu: "When the Hunt Goes Wild: Cynegetic Relationships with Nature"
Sugata Bhattacharya: "Visual Hunting and Gathering"

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Semiosalong - sügis 2017 #1: Kristi Mumm

21. novembril ühineb meiega Kristi Mumm. Ta on elava hinge ja huvitava jutuga Tartu Forseliuse kooli õppejuht ja õpetaja ning Tartu Ülikooli doktorant. Ta jagab enda arusaamu ja kogemusi haridusest, õppimisest ja õpetamisest. Me saame seega huvitava vaate haridusellu, mis ja kuidas on teda õpetajateel kujundanud ning kokkuvõttes miskit, mille üle ka pärast jutu lõppu arutleda ja mõtiskleda. (Kristi Mumm UT vilistlaselu lehel:

2017 a. sügissemestri Semiosalong pakub esmalt huvitavat vaadet õpetamisele ja haridusele ning teiseks tegeleb ka hariduse küsimusega semiootikute jaoks ning semiootika kui haridusega – semiootika õpetamine ülikoolis ning ka väljaspool seda.

Kas me mitte kõik ei õpeta, ennast ja teisi, terve oma elu vältel? Keda ja kuidas peaks haridus ja õpetamine aitama ja „ravima“? Õpetamine ja haridus ei jäta mõjutamata ühtegi inimest, ühiskonda ega ka teadusvaldkonda. Seekordne Semiosalong läheneb haridusele nii laiemalt, Kristi Mummi eestvedamisel, kui ka semiootikakesksemalt (5. detsembri aruteluga semiootikast ja õpetamisest). Laiemas mõttes on õpetamine ja haridus laiad ning kõiki puudutavad teemad. Me püüame esmalt teada, mida haridus ja õpetamine erinevate inimeste jaoks tähendavad? Kuidas on nad õpetamise poolt mõjutatud. Samas on ka iga teadusvaldkond õpetamisest nii otseselt kui kaudselt sõltuv ning erandiks pole ka semiootika. Eelneval kahel semiootika maailmakongressil on olnud eraldi haridussemiootika paneel. Peale hariduse ja õpetamise üldiselt ning haridussemiootika on Semiosalongis arutlusel ka semiootika kui haridus. Sel semestril ilmub esimene eestikeelne semiootika õpik. Lisaks jätkub semiootika e-kursuste arendamine. Semiootika keskselt küsime näiteks – mis tingib ühtse lähenemise puudumise semiootika õpetamisel? Mis rolli omab semiootika õpetamine Eestis ja ka laiemalt? Kas semiootika õpe saaks, võiks ja peaks olema eestlaste seas populaarsem? Kas me suudame kerkivatele probleemidele lahendusi pakkuda? Semiosalong pakub seekord haaravaid seminare koos õpetamisel lähemal seisvate inimestega. Arutledes haridusest ning õpetamisest nii üldiselt kui ka seemiootikakeskselt.

Semiosalongi üritused on tasuta ning sel korral eesti keeles

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Semiosalong Session 4

Session 4: Andreas Ventsel & Mari-Liis Madisson: Affective Communication and Semiotic Mechanisms of Misinformation

Tuesday, April 18

Terms like fake news and alternative facts come from a state of paralysis in the flood of information. The proliferation of conflicting messages, the accelerated news cycle, and technologies of image and video manipulation marginalize verifiability as a criterion of truth. But even in a post-truth world we persist in the belief in our own ability to hear through the static what is really going on. When contradiction interrupts our daily broadcast we reject its sources, ignore its particulars, or troll the sender. In the process we legitimize the polarization of discourse. We do so tongue in cheek, or with fingers crossed behind our back, as if to absolve ourselves from the price. It is easier to dip back into a familiar echo chamber than to recognize the other. Can we extricate ourselves from the self-gratifying feedback loop? Where can semiotics enter into the discussion of the post-truth world?

NB! All remaining sessions for this series will be held at Genialistide Klubi

Poster design by Mehmet Emir Uslu