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Memoria e Ricerca

Historians and semiotics of history

di Antonella Salomoni
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 40 (2012), p. 23

The twentieth century has seen the qualitative explosion and the quantitative spreading of the semiotic theories and the sign systems. Taking their first steps with analyses that very rarely called up on history in their argumentation, such disciplines – most of all when dealing with cultural semiotics – have seen “history” enter into their researches. The essay intends to examine the specific contribution of the Tartu-Moscow school and, above all, of the work of Jurij M. Lotman (1922-1993), verifying the impact and the applicability of the Russian semiotics. After recalling the lotmanian scheme that sums up his work in the sixties, the author questions on what cultural semiotics means for “history” and on how the historian may avail himself of it in his work.