Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, Sociology, Amsterdam University College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Sociology, University of Illinois / Urbana-Champaign
Soviet Union and After: The Study of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics

This project seeks to examine the processes of social construction of a prominent paradigm of cultural analysis developed in the Soviet Union by Yuri Lotman and the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics (TMS). My aim is to reveal the ways in which the School's research is shaped by its institutional setting and its positioning in the midst of the major debates on culture, identity, and nationality among Soviet and Post-Soviet elites. In this study, I strive at once to contribute to the intellectual and institutional history of Soviet and Russian science and to advance an understanding of the forces operating in Soviet society and its legacies. Particularly, I will show that the TMS case illuminates the specific mechanisms involved in the politics of language, literature and knowledge in (post)socialist societies. Such perspective will enable me to go beyond traditional views on these issues and to clarify several theoretical debates in the study of science and knowledge. I plan to trace the emergence and character of the TMS by using an interdisciplinary approach and a range of sources with particular emphasis on archival research and in-depth interviews. Although my conclusions will primarily shed light on the local conditions of knowledge production, they will also have significant implications for understanding the dialectics of the universal and the particular and cultural dialogue in the global context.