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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

7th newsletter of Minding Animals Norway composed and distributed

Yesterday I composed and distributed the 7th issue of the newsletter of Minding Animals Norway, which is distributed to members. 6 pp.

Sign Systems Studies received; reference for early human Umwelt article

Today I received my paper copy of the most recent issue of Sign Systems Studies, where I have a contribution on the early human Umwelt. Reference:
— 2014g. The ontogeny of the embryonic, foetal and infant human umwelt. Sign Systems Studies 42 (2/3) (Special Issue “Sign evolution on multiple time scales” guest-edited by Kristian Tylén and Luis Emilio Bruni): 281–307.

Monday, 22 December 2014

"Animal Ethics and Philosophy" book received

A few days ago I received the book Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy (eds. Elisa Aaltola and John Hadley), published by Rowman & Littlefield. In this book Jonathan Beever and I contribute with chapter 3, entitled "Beyond Sentience: Biosemiotics as Foundation for Animal and Environmental Ethics" (see previous posts).

Display material selected for EMP151 pilot study

Friday last week we finished selecting display material for the pilot study planned for January 9th 2015 at University of Agder in the research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" (see a recent post). The display material includes audio, images and video clips.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

62 papers graded

Yesterday I finished grading 62 papers in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies.

Department Christmas lunch attended

Yesterday I attended the Christmas lunch of University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies, which took place downtown.

Another personnel trip planning meeting attended

Yesterday I attended a planning meeting in relation to the upcoming Reykjavik personnel trip for University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies.

Two meetings in relation to ToppForsk-UiS (program for excellence in research)

Yesterday I met with Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences Einar Marburg and then with Head of Department of Social Studies Svanaug Fjær to discuss my intention to apply within University of Stavanger´s program for excellence in research (for "young" researchers, under 45), ToppForsk-UiS. Application deadline is February 1st.

Affiliated with SEROS

I am from today onwards affiliated with University of Stavanger´s Centre for Risk Management and Societal Safety (SEROS), a interdisciplinary research centre. The affiliation does not imply any direct employment.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

"Animals in the Anthropocene" webpages under UiS conference webpages

The webpage for the September 17-19th 2015 conference "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere" has now been cross-published on the conference webpage of University of Stavanger (see Norwegian and English UiS conference website generally and Norwegian and English version of the Animals in the Anthropocene webpage hereunder).

Session proposal for NASS IX: “Cognitive semiotics meets Biosemiotics/Biosemiotics meets Cognitive Semiotics”

Today Göran Sonesson and I finished and submitted the session proposal below to the organisers of NASS IX, which will be held in Tartu August 17-20th 2015.
Proposal for session at Tartu Summer School of Semiotics 2015 – SEMIOTIC (UN-)PREDICTABILITY/the IX Conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies
 
Chairs: Göran Sonesson and Morten Tønnessen
 
Title: “Cognitive semiotics meets Biosemiotics/Biosemiotics meets Cognitive Semiotics”
 
We invite contributions that go beyond purely anthropocentric notions of meaning from the perspectives of either cognitive semiotics or biosemiotics. Both cognitive semiotics and biosemiotics acknowledge that some meanings occur in contexts that are not only human – i.e., in contexts involving non-humans, be they animals or other creatures. There is clearly an overlap between the two approaches, which may explain the fact that several prominent scholars conceive of themselves as being both cognitive semioticians and biosemioticians at the same time. For other scholars, however, several contentious issues oppose the two approaches.
 
Biosemiotics and cognitive semiotics have tended to disagree on core issues within semiotics. One of these is the conception of sign – what is a sign? What constitutes a sign? What is the simplest sign? Or are there perhaps meanings which are not signs? Is this more than a question of definitions, convenient for the kind of research developed in the two approaches? Relatedly, these two traditions have tended to disagree on the semiotic threshold(s): Where in the world of our experience (or nature, as biosemioticians would tend to say) do we encounter phenomena that we can rightly describe as sign exchange? Or, perhaps, in a more general sense, as exchange of meanings? What part of the world is of a semiotic nature, in what sense of semiotic, and what part is not? Despite affinity and overlap in theoretical outlook, such disagreements have led to radically different takes on e.g. what counts as human–animal communication, and to what extent reciprocal understanding between humans and animals is possible.
 
In addition to contributions that explore different meanings that are not exclusively human in their naturally occurring range, we welcome contributions that aim to bridge the gap between biosemiotics and cognitive semiotics.  What common ground is there currently for these two highly profiled approaches within semiotics? And what further common ground is it possible to develop, to the benefit of both approaches, by way of adopting shared terminology etc.?
 
As indicated above, the current session welcomes both case studies with a link to either cognitive semiotics or biosemiotics, and papers of a more theoretical or methodological nature that aim to discuss the affinity between cognitive semiotics and biosemiotics.

NTB video interview conducted but not aired

This summer I was interviewed via Skype by NTB (Norwegian news agency) video journalist Tore Meek in relation to the killing of a dog (or rather two incidents) in Norway which gave rise to a lot of engagement and debate. To my knowledge the interview never aired/was never published. I gave the interview as Chair of Minding Animals Norway.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Supervision forum attended

Yesterday I attended a forum, or seminar, at University of Stavanger´s Department of Social Studies, on supervision, particularly at master level, but for my own part relevant for my role as course coordinator for bachelor theses in child welfare.

No contribution to Sofia proceedings (Introducing biosemiotic ethics)

Due to tough priorities before and after Christmas (with one full week of family holiday, Insh Allah), I have decided not to submit an article to the proceedings for the 12th World congress of semiotics (Sofia September 16-19th 2014) (see previous posts). My talk was entitled "Introducing biosemiotic ethics".

Thursday, 11 December 2014

SAMKUL application evaluation received

Today I was informed (upon requesting information, which had not arrived to my collaborator the Project Manager) that our 2012 SAMKUL research application (see previous posts, from 2012) got the grade 4 (out of 7) in the international peer-review. The 6-page evaluation report made quite good sense.

In the application I was the prospective Assistant Project Manager.

Application deadline December 15th: 3-day graduate school "Animals in transdisciplinary environmental history"

Animals in transdisciplinary environmental history
Graduate School in Environmental History
Läänemaa, Estonia, May 13-15, 2015

KAJAK, the Estonian Centre for Environmental History at Tallinn University Institute of History, in cooperation with the University of Tartu and Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society (LMU Munich) and with the support of European Society for Environmental History are pleased to announce a three-day graduate seminar in environmental history hosted in the Estonian countryside.

The seminar will explore animals as historical agents and as a lens through which to understand past environmental transformations. A workshop on popular science writing will also take place and the summer school will end with an open roundtable on animals assisting humans. The graduate seminar aims to gather 15 graduate (and post-doctoral) students together with junior and senior scholars.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15 December 2014.

Detailed information on the program and how to apply may be found in the full call for applications.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pilot study: Interview guide composed; notification form submitted


About a week ago, the last time I took part in work preparing an upcoming pilot study (see yesterday´s post), we submitted a notification form to NSD´s Database for statistikk om høgre utdanning [Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH) - Norway], after having finished composing an interview guide (4 pp.) and an information letter.

Minding Animals Norway joining anti-fur campaign

Minding Animals Norway is part of the campaign "Vi snur #ryggentilpels" [We turn our back to fur], which was launched yesterday. Minding Animals Norway promotes the field of Human-animal studies and does usually not take part in animal advocacy as such, but in this case we have made an exception.

See also my recent tweet with an exclusive photo of my back.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Pilot study in preparation

Today I met for the fourth time or so recently with my colleague Paul Thibault for the purpose of preparing a pilot study in relation to field work in the research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis". The pilot study will take place at University of Agder on January 9th.

To grade Ex.Phil. papers for University of Bergen

I have agreed to grade some 40 exam papers in the course Examen Philosophicum at University of Bergen, for students at Faculty of Social Sciences. The deadline is in January.

In sum this implies that I will be involved at grading of exam papers at no less than four universities this year (UiS, UiA, UiO, UiB).

Monday, 8 December 2014

Chronicle on fish happiness linked to under NGO Aftenposten chronicle

On October 28th Siri Martinsen, head of the Norwegian NGO "NOAH - for animal rights" had a chronicle published in Aftenposten entitled "Ingen dyr skal måtte leve i bur" [No animal should have to live in cages]. One of the three links provided after the chronicle text online (under Les også, Read also) is to a chronicle written by Tore Kristiansen and me, "Fiskelykke?" [Luck in fishing/fish happiness?], here presented as "Levende fisk fårstrupe og mage skåret opp uten at de er bedøvet" ["Live fish gets throat and stomach cut open without being sedated".

Sidebar sections linking to upcoming and past academic events updated; 78 events linked to so far

I have updated the sidebar section "Upcoming academic events", which now counts 10 future events, and updated and renamed the section now called "Past events (2012-2014)". The latter now counts 43 events in which I have played one role or another.

The section "Past events (-2011)" counts 25 events. Total number of events linked to to date is thus 78.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

CFP and conference website for 15th gathering in biosemiotics

The call for papers for the 15th Gathering in Biosemiotics, which is to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, June 30th to July 4th 2015, has appeared - see here. Deadline for abstract submission is February 20th 2015. See also the conference webpage.

Sign Systems Studies achieves Web of Science status

As I have learned, the Tartu-based journal Sign Systems Studies has achieved Web of Science indexing status.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Term of office for UiS board extended by half year

The term of office for the board of the University of Stavanger has by an Ministry of Education  and Research decision been extended from June 30th 2015 to December 31st 2015. This is due to ongoing restructuring of higher education institutions in Norway (fusions and such).

I am currently 2nd deputy board member for temporarily employed education and research staff. It is not yet clear whether elections for representatives for temporarily employed education and research staff, and students, will be held as planned in Spring 2015 or whether these will be postponed until Autumn 2015. 

Minding Animals Activist Kit - background document composed

About a week ago I composed a 2-page background document on a Minding Animals International (MAI) Activist Kit which I have initiated. The document will be treated by the Board of MAI at their January 17th board meeting in Delhi, India. If everything goes according to proposed plans, the Activist Kit will materialise next year.

I have taken this initiative in my capacity as MAI Europe and Africa National Groups Convenor (and Chair of Minding Animals Norway).

UiS petition calling for climate-friendly research profile posted on UiS debate pages

The petition for a more climate-friendly research profile at University of Stavanger (UiS) was Tuesday this week, December 2nd, published on the debate pages of UiS - see here. It has previously been published on the debate pages of the regional daily newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Meeting with UiS rector following petition

On Monday December 1st I was called upon to attend a meeting with rector of University of Stavanger Marit Boyesen, along with Oluf Langhelle and Ole Andreas Engen, following our petition last week for a more climate-friendly research profile. At the meeting we discussed our respective agendas and possible ways forward.

See also:

Norwegian Animal Protection Day 2015 sponsored by REMA 1000

Norwegian grocery chain REMA 1000 is the main sponsor of Dyreverndagen 2015 [Norwegian Animal Protection Day 2015], which is to be held in Oslo on March 21st. Here´s an online news story on the matter, from REMA´s webpage. See also this news story on the homepage of Dyreverndagen.

Dyreverndagen is organised by a work group sorting under Minding Animals Norway.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

To be responsible for extraordinary philosophy exam in BSNEXP

I have agreed to be responsible for an extraordinary exam in the course BSNEXP (Examen Philosophicum in internet-based bachelor in nursing) Spring 2015 at University of Stavanger´s Department of Health Studies. The responsibility will involve composing exam questions and grading exam papers.

Appointed member of student grant and prize committee for NASS IX

At the board meeting of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) in mid-November I was appointed as one of the members of a student grant and prize committee in relation to the conference NASS IX, which will be held in Tartu, Estonia, August 17-20th 2015.

"Animals in the Anthropocene" CFP referred and linked to in NGO newsletter

The First Call for Papers for the conference "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere", which is to be held in Stavanger, Norway, September 17-19th 2015, is referred and linked to in the 21st newsletter of Norwegian NGO Dyrevernalliansen (Norwegian Animal protection Alliance), which was distributed to some 5.000 members a few days ago.

Theme session proposals are due December 15th, abstracts for individual presentations March 1st 2015.

"Animals in the Anthropocene" CFP in MAI Bulletin

The First Call for Papers for the conference "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere", which is to be held in Stavanger, Norway, September 17-19th 2015, appears in full length, and with extra coverage, in the 27th Bulletin of Minding Animals International, which has been distributed to some 3.000 scholars, activists and artists the last few days. The conference is co-arranged by Minding Animals Norway

Theme session proposals are due December 15th, abstracts for individual presentations March 1st 2015.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Personnell gathering attended

Today I attended a personnell gathering at University of Stavanger´s Department of Social Studies.

Debate with UiS rector on regional radio

Today I debated the research profile of University of Stavanger in light of climate change (petroleum research vs. research on renewable energy) with rector Marit Boyesen on NRK Rogaland radio. The discussion, which lasted some 6 minutes, centered on a petition which I helped initiate last week. Podcast is available.

See also:

Monday, 1 December 2014

Information on bachelor thesis given to 3rd year students of child welfare

Today I informed 3rd year bachelor students in child welfare at University of Stavanger´s Department of Social Studies about next Spring´s bachelor thesis (for which I am the course coordinator). Ca. 25 minutes including questions.

MAN board meeting attended

Today I have attended (a chaired) a board meeting of Minding Animals Norway. Among other things we finalised documents from this year´s Annual Meeting.