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Toward An Archaeology Of The Medieval Charter

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Chapter Summary

Broader works on sign theory and anthropology have helped bring to the author attention both the nature and implications of seals as semiotic agents and processes and the extreme sensitivity to semioticity during the period in which seal usage spread. Of particular relevance for the conceptualization of such an approach is semiotic anthropology. "Semiotic Anthropology", an expression coined by Milton Singer at the University of Chicago in the mid-1970s, arose from a philosophical analysis of language and cognition, and became a methodological program actively pursued and taught there by Michael Silverstein. The European Middle Ages, the twelfth century in particular, have recently been examined through the lenses of semiotic anthropology by Richard Parmentier, a distinguished practitioner of this methodology. The tendency of semiotic anthropology to universalize Peirceian sign theory only partially undermines the utility of its insights for historians.

Keywords:Peirceian sign theory; philosophical analysis; semiotic anthropology; semioticity



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