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At the XXIII Dies academicus of USI, the Russian semiologist and linguist Boris Andreevič Uspenskij received the Doctorate honoris causa in Communication Sciences. The award was conferred "for having contributed in a decisive way to the understanding of the organic link between culture and communication, developing, together with Jurij M. Lotman, a semiotic conception of production and cultural transmission, and for having given substance to this conception through an inexhaustible practice of analysis, exercised with philological rigour on the figurative arts, on religious and political symbols, on the cultural significance of historical events".
Boris Andreevič Uspenskij (Moscow, 1937) graduated in 1960 from the General and Comparative Linguistics chair at the University of Moscow, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1963 and lectured from 1977 to 1992. Later he was appointed Professor at Harvard University, Cornell University, Universität Graz and Universität Wien, before joining the University of Naples "L'Orientale". He was also an Adjunct professor at Università della Svizzera italiana.
A linguist with a Jakobsonian background, Boris Uspenskij is known in particular for his semiotic investigations in the most diverse fields of culture, which have made him a prominent representative of the so-called "Tartu-Moscow semiotic school" and a scholar of international importance. He is the author of over 500 publications, including about forty monographs, ranging from semiotics to general linguistics, from philology to Slavistics, from anthropology to literature and art, up to the history of mentality. The Italian edition includes, for example, a number of works that have become "classics": Sulla semiotica dell'arte, in Semiotica della letteratura in URSS (curated by R. Faccani and U. Eco, Bompiani, 1969); Per l'analisi semiotica delle antiche icone russe, in Ricerche semiotiche. New trends in human sciences in the USSR (Einaudi, 1973), edited in collaboration with Jurij Lotman; Semiotics and culture (Ricciardi, 1975) and Typology of culture (Bompiani, 19872), also in collaboration with Jurij Lotman; History and semiotics (Bompiani, 1988); and Linguistics, semiotics, history of culture (Il Mulino, 1996).
Boris Uspenskij's extensive intellectual output has provided fundamental ideas, contributing in particular to defining semiotics as one of the most effective disciplines for analysing and ordering large-scale cultural phenomena. His work has earned him - among other things - honorary doctorates from Belgrade University, Konstantin Preslavsky University of Shumen, Russian State University for the Humanities and Tallinn University, as well as his appointment as a member of the Academia Europaea, the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Société Royale des Lettres de Lund.
Sources: Wikipedia, Enciclopedia Treccani, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Academia Europaea, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Fausto Lupetti Editore, Società editrice il Mulino.