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Friday, 29 October 2010

Nils Christie to comment talk on illegal wolf hunting

The details for my forthcoming talk Ulovlig jakt på ulv [Illegal wolf hunting], in the lecture series Kriminalpolitisk seminar (at Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, the University of Oslo), have now been settled. Notably, it has been decided that professor emeritus Nils Christie (select bibliography in wapedia) will be the "commentator" making comments following my talk.

The talk will take place November 11th at 14.15-16.00 in room 770, Domus Nova. For thematic details, cf. the link under the title.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Wolf piece published today - chronicle around the corner

My letter to the editor "Ulv, ulv!" [Wolf! Wolf!] was published today in the Norwegian national daily Aftenposten, in response to the daily's frontpage story this Monday. A full-text version of the text appears in my Norwegian-language blog Utopisk Realisme.

What's more, yesterday I finished my invited chronicle "Hvem er villest i landet her? - Et ulveliv" [Who's the wildest in the country here? - A wolf's life] for the weekly news magazine Ny Tid. This is the most thourough account I've given on wolf management so far in Norwegian. The chronicle, which is in part based on my article in Humanimalia, will appear this Friday.

Contents:
* Intro
* Ulvetider [Wolf times]
* Sky, men skutt [Shy, but shot]
* Menneskelige gjenstander i ulvens verden [Human artifacts in the wolf's world]
* Ulven og dens følgesvenner [The wolf and its /companions/]
* Om rovviltforvaltningens fremtid [On the future of wildlife/carnivore management]

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Field trip to Hedmark in preparation

My field trip to Rendalen, the one municipality in Norway where the wolf/sheep conflict has been the fiercest in political terms, is in preparation. Being the largest municipality in Southern Norway ("only" 600 km away) - more than 3.000 square kilometres, and populated by only 2.000 or so (people, that is) - planning how to get around from place to place has been a challenge. I've ended up arranging accommodation at three locations (including one in neighbouring Stor-Elvdal municipality):
* Rendalen Øiseth Hotell (Åkrestrømmen, Rendalen)
* Romenstad hytte- og gardsferie (Unset, Rendalen)
* Koppangtunet hotell (Koppang, Stor-Elvdal)

In addition to these three locations, I'll also be visiting Øvre Rendal/Bergset (Rendalen) and Evenstad (Stor-Elvdal). In other words I'll be visiting one region (Hedmark) - two municipalities - five villages.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Rodopi volume: Timeline; contents revision

Today I've agreed, in communication with fellow editor Kadri Tüür, on a tiny revision of the list of contributors to be invited (one person added) to our planned volume The Semiotics of Animal Representations (cf. previous posts). Invitations will appear in the acceptance letter to the conference Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations. The estimated length as for now is 240 pages, counting 15 chapters plus introduction.

We've also agreed on a timeline, or schedule, for our editorial work, with tasks and deadlines organized in 15 points. We expect to submit the formal book proposal at some point in December. Full-length papers should be submitted by May 31st, 2011, and revised, final papers by September 30th, 2011. Expected completion of the manuscript (after a round or two of proof-reading) is preliminary set to January 15th, 2012. We expect to submit the formal book proposal at some point in December. The whole process will last up to 2 years.

Nature launches climate change journal

The journal Nature Climate Change has announced a CFP inviting academic submissions. They aim at becoming the world's leading climate change journal. Unlike Nature, their "mother journal", Nature Climate Change welcomes academic articles from the social sciences as well as natural science.

Scholars and others can apply for a free subscription (electronic or paper).

The first issue of the new Nature journal will be published next April.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Field trips and research stays scheduled

This week I have arranged tickets for all remaining field trips and research visits that I have been planning. These are:
FIELD TRIP: Hedmark (Rendalen + Stor-Elvdal municipalities), October 29th - November 2nd
RESEARCH VISIT: Oslo II, November 10th-12th
RESEARCH VISIT: Trondheim, November 15th-17th
I was hoping to visit Namsskogan Familiepark (the fourth place in Norway that houses captive wolves) as well, but unfortunately there is no time for it, - since it was not included in my original plans, it cannot be made a priority right now.

Even with "only" these three remaining trips (on top of my 7-day visit to Tartu late November), I will spend approximately 60 hours on trains and train stations the next 5-6 weeks, and travel approximately 1200 + 700 + 1600 = 3500 km (plus 2800 km Kristiansand-Oslo-Tallinn-Tartu and back, a total of 6300 km, which pretty exactly corresponds to the distance from here on Earth's surface to its center).

Chronicle on wolf management to appear in Ny Tid

A couple of days ago I was invited by acting debate editor Kim Bredesen to write a chronicle for the Norwegian weekly news magazine Ny Tid. I have agreed to submit a long chronicle (up to 13.000 characters) on Norwegian wolf management by Tuesday.

Philosophy in Antiquity: First class; exam plans

My first class in the seminar Philosophy in Antiquity (Antikkens filosofi) at the University of Agder took place this last Thursday, over 3 hours. I signed a contract (on hour basis) the same day, covering 6 times 3 hours of teaching (October 21st - November 18th). I have further scheduled that I will develop the exam questions, and be the main (= the "internal") examiner [sensor] for the course. The exam will take place on December 13th - the same day as I will be leaving for Brazil for Christmas (the exam papers will be sent to Rio de Janeiro by door-to-door delivery).

Filosofisk Forum: Only next year

I have now had the chance to meet with both of the (other) senior members of Filosofisk Forum (cf. previous posts). It is already late in the semester, and we all have full schedules at the moment (for my part no less after I was asked to teach Philosophy in Antiquity). We have therefore agreed to postpone activities until next year.

Acknowledged in Renata Sõukand's PhD thesis

I am mentioned in the acknowledgements of fellow PhD student Renata Sõukand's PhD thesis Herbal Landscape (introduction available in PDF format here). P. 40:
I would like to express my heartful thanks:
- to all my colleagues at the Estonian Literary Museum [...] as well as to all my fellow doctoral students and colleagues at the Department of Semiotics and specially to Peeter Torop, Silvi Salupere, Kaie Kotov, Ester Võsu, Riste Keskpaik, Kati Lindström and Morten Tønnessen for their encouragement and fruitful discussions.
"Plant as Object within Herbal Landscape: Different Kinds of Perception", which is being published as part of Biosemiotics' special issue Semiotics of Perception (for which I am a guest editor along with Kati Lindström), constitutes part of the dissertation (publication III out of I-VI).

Herbal Landscape will appear as Dissertationes Semioticae Universitatis Tartuensis 14.

Renata has had Kalevi Kull as supervisor, as do I. Almo Farina (Urbino) and Myrdene Anderson (Purdue) will serve as opponents at the defense of the thesis November 9th.

Proof-reading, indexing

A week or two ago I spent 20 hours or so proof-reading and compiling an index for the forthcoming book Begynneropplæring i en sammensatt tekstkultur [approximately "Initial education in a complex textual culture"], which is written (mostly) by Elise Seip Tønnessen and Magnhild Vollan and about to be published by Høyskoleforlaget. This work was related to my engagement as a research assistant for a research project on multimodality, cf. previous posts.

HAS anthology: Compilation of abstract book

Latest news from my ongoing editorial work with a Norwegian language Human-Animal Studies (HAS) anthology (latest post here): We originally asked for abstracts from all contributors by October 15th. This deadline will be extended until November 10th. For now we have received abstracts from around half of the planned chapters. Some of these may need revision. We are currently reconsidering what publishing house to contact first. I will probably meet with fellow editors Guri Larsen and Ragnhild Sollund in Oslo November 11th.

A not very flattering invitation

Five days ago I apparently received two email invitations to contribute to two different anthologies. One of these were from Nova Science Publishers, to whom I've already submitted a book chapter upon invitation (on semioethics, cf. previous posts). "We have learned about your published work on environmental change", the invite read (earlier: "... on semiotics"). The worktitle this time is Environmental Change: Climate, Energy and Ecosystems. A fitting theme for me, by all means - but at the moment I have no suitable texts thought out (and a full schedule). See also Nova's page for the forthcoming Semiotics: Theory and Applications.

The other invite was from InTech, and signed by a Niksa Mandic. The book in question has the worktitle Globalization. "You are invited to participate in this book project based on your paper "Steps to a Semiotics of Being"...", I am told in the otherwise standardized email. Again, the theme is relevant for me. But while Nova doesn't charge its authors (unless they choose to make use of extra services/functions - open access included), InTech has the courage to ask for 590 Euro from each author. With up to 50 contributors per volume, it is pretty clear that their business model is not so much based on selling books as on profiting on complimenting scholars by inviting them to publish. They present themselves as an open access publisher, but their claim that each of their chapters are downloaded 1.000 times a month does not appear to be legitimate, if you check with their latest online publications.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Gatherings in Biosemiotics - NY

The 11th Gathering in Biosemiotics will take place in New York late next June, hosted by the Dactyl Foundation for the Arts and Humanities (and Tori Alexander). The call for papers concludes already November 30th.

This will be the first of these gatherings to take place in the US (2001-2010 all conferences took place in Europe - see here for a list of venues).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Brief report from research visit/Oslo I

Earlier this week, Mon 11 - Wed 13, I conducted my first research visit to Oslo (cf. recent plans). Activities included:
* meeting with wolf-socializer Runar Næss
* meeting with statistician Espen Søbye
* research at the library of Statistics Norway, the National Library of Norway and the library of the Norwegian parliament

In the process I gathered quite a lot of more or less historical material on Norwegian wolf legislation etc., some of it dating back to 1845. Both encounters as well proved to be very informative.

Rodopi volume: The Semiotics of Animal Representations

Together with co-editor Kadri Tüür (and editor of the planned Semiotica special issue Timo Maran) I've started working with the Rodopi volume (to appear in the their series Nature, Culture and Literature) of selected proceedings from the April 2011 conference Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations. We've made a preliminary selection of contributors to invite, based on the 80+ abstracts we received for the conference. Invitations will likely be sent in late October.

We've also come up with a work title for the book: The Semiotics of Animal Representations.

Philosophy lecturer - philosophy in Antiquity

Today I was asked to step in as a philosophy lecturer at the University of Agder, as responsible for the second half of their course "Antikkens filosofi" (Philosophy in Antiquity). I will start teaching this next Thursday - when week 42-46 has passed I'll have given five 3-hour classes (15 hours of teaching, seminar-style).

The topic matter of these classes/seminars will be the following three texts:
* Plato's The Republic - book 1 (Norwegian: Staten)
* Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Norwegian: Den nikomakiske etikk)
* Augustine's On free choice of the will [De libero arbitrio] (Norwegian: Om den frie vilje)

The course represents 1/6 of UiA's one-year study in philosophy.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Oslo animals

Apropos Oslo - popularly called "Tigerstaden" (City of the tiger) - here's the tiger statue at Jernbarnetorvet (the railway square), photographed in the cosy Northern winter.

And here's the symbol of the state - the lion - in front of Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament. The parliament is routinely referred to as "Løvebakken" (loosely: Hill of the lion).

I expect to touch upon these exotic Norwegian creatures either in "The Cultural Semiotic of Wolves and Sheep" or "The Symbolic Construction of the Big Bad Wolf in Contemporary Scandinavia" (see Article for Signs).

Research visit: Oslo I

Monday to Wednesday October 11th-13th I'll conduct my first comprehensive research visit to Oslo (not counting my first brief visit in this respect to the National Library in May).

Plans for the 3-day visit include:
* research in the library of Statistics Norway
* research in the National Library of Norway
* and not least a meeting with Runar Næss (the man behind Animal Zoolution) - who is of great interest to me due to (a) his experience with socializing wolves and (b) his role as the founder of the pro-wolf activist organization/network Alpha-gruppen.

At a second research visit to Oslo, in November, I intend to meet with a number of relevant scholars and researchers.

Being an academic (3): Reporting

Being an academic is much like writing a well-structured article in a tradtional way: (1) First you tell what you're about to do, (2) then you do it, (3) and finally you tell what you just did.

Apropos (3): The last 10 days I've written two reports - the last quarterly report partaking in the research project "The Cultural Heritage of Environmental Spaces" (4pp), and an interim report partaking in the research project "Dynamical Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations".

State grant holder

I have been informed that the University of Tartu has decided that I am (as a PhD student at Department of Semiotics) to receive an Estonian state grant from October to December. The state grant is 6.000 Estonian Kroons (EEK) per month - approximately 3.100 NOK or 384 Euro.

The grant has not been given before because thus far I've received a monthly stipend partaking in the research project "The Cultural heritage of Environmental Spaces" (where my participation ended in September). If successful, an application for a new research project, "Environmental Semiotics: Theory and Applications in Changing Culture and Environment" would imply me being an 'Extraordinary researcher' with full work-load starting January 2011.

Friday, 8 October 2010

How is the University of Tartu ranked internationally?

I recently posted on what's the best university in Norway. Now what about my own university, Estonia's University of Tartu? Unlike in Norway's case, there's absolutely no doubt what's the best university in Estonia. But how does it rank internationally?
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Last year it was included for the first time in Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings, as one of 600 universities (out of a total of 12.000 or so globally), cf. University of Tartu ranked among world's leading universities (and World-Class Education). The precise ranking was 501.-600. This year it's 551.-600. (note that the QS and THE have split - the latter ranking is of QS only). This year's Top 500 is listed and presented here.
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With that ranking, the University of Tartu is places clearly below the University of Oslo (Top 200), where I took my master in philosophy, but (as far as I know) clearly above the University of Agder, where I have been research assistant/advisor, and the University of Stavanger, where I am an examiner.

David Abram paper online

David Abram's 'The discourse of the birds' is now available on the webpage of the journal Biosemiotics (full access for subscribers only - alternatively, you can pay 34 Euro to get access to the electronic article. Cheapest subscription rate is 35 Euro, for members of International Society for Biosemiotic Studies). The article is a slightly altered version of a book chapter from Abram's new book Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, which is currently the bestselling book at Amazon within 'phenomenology' and 'epistemology'.

Abstract:
Modern humans spend much of their time deploying a very rarefied form of intelligence, manipulating abstract symbols while their muscled body is mostly inert. Other animals, in a constant and largely unmediated relation with their earthly surroundings, think with the whole of their bodies. This kind of distributed sentience, this intelligence in the limbs, is especially keen in the case of birds of flight. Unlike most creatures of the ground, who must traverse an opaque surface of only two-plus dimensions as we make our way through the world, a soaring bird continually adjusts minute muscles in its wings to navigate an omnidimensional plenum of currents and interference patterns that alter from moment to moment. Flight itself may usefully be considered as a kind of thinking—as a sort of gliding within the mind. Moreover, since birds are commonly the most mobile inhabitants of any woodland, able to fly over and scan numerous events occurring on the ground, their varied utterances provide a crucial source of information for many other animals. This paper, written as a philosophic essay, explores avian cognition from a phenomenological standpoint. It then reflects upon the vocalizations of birds—noting the major role that such avian calls, cries, and songs have played in the development of human culture.
Keywords
Phenomenology — Cognition — Birds — Flight — Avian language — Interspecies communication — Animal intelligence
Abram's article is part of the special issue 'Semiotics of Perception', which I am guest-editing along with Kati Lindström. The print edition is due for publication in December, as Biosemiotics 3(3). All papers in the special issue are somehow connected to the Feb. 2009 Phenomenology meets Semiotics (where Culture meets Nature) events in Tartu, Estonia.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wolf videos - Langedrag mountain farm and wildlife park

Uploaded to YouTube, MrMortenTonnessen's channel:
The importance of being close to Tuva
Fighting over food

Uploaded previously, from Langedrag:
Socialized wolves at Langedrag meet kindergarten kids
Walking with Mr. Wolf

Cf. also Wolf videos (from Polar Zoo).


Pictures from Langedrag II

30km from the wolf enclosures, in the village of Nesbyen, I saw this poster advertising for a sheepy event.

Langedrag - the mountain farm (close to the cafeteria).

Say no more.

Close to the ulvegård - "The wolves at Langedrag".




Pictures from Langedrag I - wolf pics

The socialized pack, represented by two of them. Animal caretakers approaching...

Enjoying human company.

"Ulvegård" = literally: wolf farm

Waiting for the 'shy' wolves, inside the ulvegård.

Snow in September - 1.000 meters above sea level.
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Cf. also:
Wolf videos (Polar Zoo)
Wolf kisses (Polar Zoo)
Wolf pics I (Polar Zoo)
Wolf pics II (Polar Zoo)
Bear pics (Polar Zoo)

Participation in research project concluded

Since 2008 I've been a main researcher in the 2008-2010 research project "The Cultural Heritage of Environmental Spaces. A Comparative Analysis Between Estonia and Norway" (EEA--ETF Grant EMP 54). My participation ended September 30 (the project as such concludes at the end of the year).

Phenomenology paper revised

A week ago or so I revised and expanded my paper 'Semiotics of Being and Uexküllian Phenomenology', to be considered for publication in Analecta Husserliana as part of the proceedings of the 60th international congress of Phenomenology, arranged in Bergen in August. A section "Concluding remarks" has been added. The expansions are in part reflected in the first part of this addition to the abstract (I also respond to some criticism):

I will further make a few remarks on the partial resemblance between Uexküllian phenomenology and Tymieniecka’s ‘phenomenology of life’, and its difference from the ‘phaneroscopy’ of Peirce.

'The Umwelt trajectories of wolves, sheep and people' to be published

My paper 'The Umwelt trajectories of wolves, sheep and people', which will be presented at the April 2011 zoosemiotics conference in Tartu, will likely be published in the special issue of Semiotica on zoosemiotics which is to be published the autumn of 2012.

Silent in Filosofisk forum

Since the autumn semester started six weeks ago or so, I've tried to schedule a first autumn meeting with the other members of Filosofisk Forum, Kristiansand. So far not successfully.
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This spring Filosofisk Forum had a number of events.

What's the best university in Norway?

Some time back I wrote about the Times Higher Education world ranking of universities. At first only one Norwegian university - the University of Bergen - made it to the top 200-list, but the University of Oslo has later been places as no. 186 (see 'Editor's note' at the end of the ranking), which schockingly places them only as Norway's second-best university (on other rankings, such as the Shanghai ranking, UiO remains Norways highest ranked university).
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This peculiar little story envelops in my Norwegian language blog, Utopisk Realisme ("Hvilket er Norges beste universitet?").