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European Semiotics 1/5 - University of Helsinki

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Published on Jun 20, 2011

European Semiotics is a periodical lecture course held in November 2011, delivered as a part of teaching of semiotics at the University of Helsinki. It was given at the amphitheater of the University Museum 'Arppeanum'.

Lectures deal with history of semiotics, and particularly regarding two central phenomena in the European tradition: 1) Claude Lévi-Strauss and his structuralism, and 2) the so-called Paris school of semiotics founded by A.J. Greimas. As to the latter, his basic concepts are introduced, notions which still constitute one of the main streams in semiotics, particularly in Italy, Spain, Fance, Latin America, and Canada, not to mention Finland.

Thereafter, lectures focus on the new theory of semiotics elaborated by Eero Tarasti, the so-called existential semiotics. Its roots in German speculative philosophy are elucidated from Kant and Hegel to Jaspers, Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, and in the French existentialists, J.P. Sartre, Gabriel Marcel, Jean Wahl, and Simone de Beauvoir. Furthermore, such new concepts launched by the existential semiotic as 'Dasein', transcendence, metamodalities and new categories of signs (presigns, actsigns, postsigns etc.), are discussed. Moreover, the problem of values is pondered.

Existential semiotics is among the new trends in contemporary semiotics, already with a considerable amount of publications (in English, French, Italian, Finnish, Bulgarian, and forthcoming in Polish, Chinese and Farsi). Nevertheless, an integral course on its foundations in English has not yet been available. The course can thus be used for teaching purposes all over the world.

Professor Eero Tarasti is President of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS/AIS) and Director of the International Semiotics Institute at Imatra, Finland, since its foundation in 1988. He holds the chair of musicology at the Helsinki University since 1984.

Reading:

Eero Tarasti (2000) Existential Semiotics. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press
Eero Tarasti (2009) Fondements de la sémiotique existentielle. Paris: L'Harmattan
Eero Tarasti (2010) Fondamenti di semiotica esistenziale. Bari: Edizione Laterza di Giuseppe Laterza

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