Winter School « The Semiotics of Political and Strategic Communication » at the University of Tartu

Winter School « The Semiotics of Political and Strategic Communication »

at the University of Tartu

The Department of Semiotics and the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia invite graduate and doctoral students to apply for the advanced winter school « The Semiotics of Political and Strategic Communication » 4 ECTS by October 30, 2023.




At the Narva College of the University of Tartu and the University of Tartu in Tartu in Estonia.




29th January to 2nd February 2024




The winter school is intended to explore from the perspective of political semiotics and international relations the role of strategic narratives and communication in the new geopolitical and security landscape in Eastern Europe shaped by Russia’s war against Ukraine that started on February 24, 2022. The school offers a series of interactive classes, lectures and panel discussions focusing on various components of strategic narratives as discursive and semiotic constructs.

The focal point of the school is new vocabularies, discourses and imaginaries of politics that have appeared after – and were produced by – the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The topics to be discussed include the repercussions of Russia’s aggression for new narratives and images of security and insecurity, the affective potential of discourses and their dislocations. The school program is designed to cover and problematize the ongoing political dynamics in Ukraine in conjunction with countries located at Europe’s eastern flank, including Estonia.

Classes, seminars, and workshops are aimed for both empirical analysis of the war in Ukraine, and developing and testing conceptual approaches and frames to be used as explanatory tools of domestic changes and their international reverberations. Students will have a chance to practice their skills in scenario planning, teamwork and co-authorship in producing and disseminating texts, and project thinking.

The teaching staff is recruited from the University of Tartu and its European partners. The learning process consists of lectures and interactive classes based on students’ inclusive participation, topical presentations and group-based debate. Awareness of empirical facts and the ability to critically engage in profound discussions on the current political situation are highly encouraged. The School program includes evening film screenings and the ensuing discussions.

The working language is English. Participation is equal to 4 ECTS credits, which will be confirmed by a certificate awarded to each student upon successful completion of the School.



Day 1: Semiotics Aspects of Strategic Narratives: Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, Manipulative Techniques of Misinformation

Day 2: Historical Narratives and Collective Memories

Day 3: Strategic Narratives and Human Bodies: How Biopolitics Transforms into Necropolitics

Day 4: Ukraine in the Limelight: What and How Can We Learn?

Day 5: « The Arts of Survival »: Estonian Cultural Narratives in Insecure Times



The venue of the School is the Narva College of the University of Tartu in border city Narva where European and Russian cultures blend. The organizers provide comfortable accommodation, free Internet access, and various outdoor opportunities. The end of the last day of the School takes place in the premises of the University of Tartu in Tartu, the host city of the European Capital of Culture 2024. Visiting Tartu is optional for students and will take place after the School teaching

program in Narva.



The organizers will cover accommodation and meal costs, while participants are expected to arrange and cover their travel to and from Narva by themselves.




Andreas Ventsel, Associate Professor of Semiotics

Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics at the University of Tartu


Andrey Makarychev, Professor of Regional Political Studies

Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu


Fédération Romane de Sémiotique
Romance Federation of Semiotics
Federazione Romanza di Semiotica
Federação Românica de Semiótica