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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Russian Department Seminar: Professor Jan Levtchenko of Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russian Federation) 'Resort on the Outskirts: the Prerequisites of Moscow-Tartu Semiotic School'

3rd June 2015, 16:00, Russkiy Mir Centre, A29, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University


As an academic, but also socio-cultural project, the so-called Moscow-Tartu School of Cultural Semiotics was sensitively determined by its location. Moreover, the cultural geography of the Moscow-Tartu School could be considered a key reason of its emergence and growth. The present paper investigates the intellectual output of this heterogeneous grouping of scholars, which was assembled in Estonia, on the Western border of the Soviet Empire. Material under consideration will include the papers published in the main journal of the School, as well as the School’s non-periodical production, both written and published in Russian, the “colonial” language in Estonia. A specific value system implied in the Soviet school of semiotics as well as the modes of (re)production of knowledge characteristic of the school in the period between late 1950s and early 1980s will also be considered.


Having graduated from the Slavic Department of the University of Tartu, Estonia, Jan Levtchenko received an MA in art history at the European University in St.Petersburg, and then earned his PhD from the Department of Semiotics in Tartu in 2004. Levtchenko’s academic career started at Tartu University, from which he moved to St. Petersburg, to join the Higher School of Economics in Moscow as a Professor in the School of Cultural Studies in 2009. Levtchenko has published over 500 entries in numerous academic journals, magazines, newspapers and web resources. His monographs include Materials for the Conceptual Glossary of Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School (Tartu: 1999; in co-authorship) andThe Other Science. Russian Formalists in Search of Biography (Moscow: 2012).

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