Google+ Followers

Friday, 27 February 2015

First draft of chapter "The Semiotics of Wild Carnivore Management" composed

A few days ago I uploaded/submitted a first draft of my chapter "The Semiotics of Wild Carnivore Management", which is to be published in Spring 2016 as part of the collective monograph Semiotic Methods in the Study of Human-Animal Interactions (Tartu: Tartu University Press). The chapter was previously work-titled "Semiotics of Management of Wild Carnivores".

A full, edited paper is due May 31st.

Chapter draft "Human Perceptions of Animals: A Multi-Modal Interaction Analysis of Interview Data" composed

A few days ago I uploaded/submitted a first draft of the chapter "Human Perceptions of Animals: A Multi-Modal Interaction Analysis of Interview Data", which I write along with Paul Thibault. The chapter is to be published in Spring 2016 as part of the collective monograph Semiotic Methods in the Study of Human-Animal Interactions (Tartu: Tartu University Press).

A full, edited paper is due May 31st.

No roles at Tangen Zoo anyhow

At a research visit last winter, I agreed to be the research contact of Tangen zoo, Norway. There was also talk of me joining the board of the zoo. However, a few months later it became clear that none of this would materialise, since the owner of the zoo at the time decided to sell it to new owners. This is a pity, I think, since he had entertained a progressive animal welfare agenda (which was what convinced me to accept the two offers).

See also:

Thursday, 26 February 2015

To present research project application on Umwelt theory on PRE-FRIPRO workshop

I have been scheduled to offer a brief presentation of my research application "Umwelt theory for our time" at a PRE-FRIPRO (see previous posts) workshop which will take place at University of Stavanger on March 18th, along with 3 others so far. The workshop will involve feedback on the projects presented.

Planning meeting attended; to chair "researcher stand-up" event

Today I have taken part in another meeting in preparation of a personnel trip to Iceland, at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. During the trip, I will be responsible for the "researcher stand-up", on March 24th, which will involve brief presentations of the research of selected faculty members.

UiS Ethical Trading Initiative 2014 report submitted

The 2014 report of University of Stavanger has about a week ago been submitted to Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (Initiativ for Etisk Handel). In the report, I am listed as one of the members of the UiS Working group for ethical trading (as the only research staff). 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Talk on future of growth given in Kristiansand

Yesterday I gave a talk on "Grønn økonomi - Visjoner og muligheter" [Green economics - Visions and possibilities] at a seminar/theme night organised by The Green Party in Kristiansand, Norway, along with André Tribbensee. Some 16 people were present.

15th Gathering in Biosemiotics: Extended deadline March 15th

The abstract deadline for the 15th International Gathering in Biosemiotics (Aalborg University, Denmark, 30 June - 4 July) has been extended to March 15th.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Guest lecture on global human empire held in Oslo

On Wednesday February 11th, in Domus Nova in downtown Oslo, I guest-lectured at University of Oslo´s Department of criminology and sociology of law, in the course on green criminology (now called "Grønn (øko-global) kriminologi" [Green [eco-global] criminology]). The title of my talk was (as last year) «Menneskeveldet – menneskets globale økologiske hierarki» [The human empire - humankind´s global ecological hierarchy]. 15 students or so were present.

Lecture on green economics/the future of growth in Kristiansand 23/2

Tomorrow I will give a brief lecture/introductory talk on "Grønn økonomi - Visjoner og muligheter" [Green economics - Visions and possibilities] at a seminar/theme night organised by The Green Party in Kristiansand, Norway, along with André Tribbensee. My talk will be based on my 2008 article "The statistician´s guide to Utopia: The future of growth".

Friday, 20 February 2015

Reappointed Minding Animals Africa and Europe national groups convenor

In a board decision by the Board of Directors of Minding Animals International, I have been appointed as Minding Animals Africa and Europe national groups convenor "until resignation or until such time as the next face-to-face meeting" (which might be only in 2018). The decision was discussed in Delhi in January (see below), but since a quorum was not present a further board member had to vote after the board meeting was held in order for decisions to take effect. The minutes were distributed a few days ago.

The same, then, goes for my appointment as Tool Kit Editor.

See also:
MAI board meeting attended; reappointed Europe and Africa Convenor, appointed Tool Kit Editor

Abstract for Gathering in biosemiotics 15: "The ontogeny of precocial vs. altricial Umwelten"

Yesterday around Midnight I composed the abstract below and submitted it to the 15th international Gathering in Biosemiotics (Copenhagen, 30 June - 4 July 2015).

***

The ontogeny of precocial vs. altricial Umwelten

Morten Tønnessen, University of Stavanger

The model organism in Uexküll’s Umwelt theory (Uexküll 2010 etc.) is an adult organism. In the case of embryos, fetuses and, in many species, neonates and young specimen, his dictum that an animal’s Umwelt only consists of those questions that the animal can answer does not apply. As Magnus (2011: 41) observes, Uexküll distinguishes between the time of becoming and the time of being, where “[t]he time of becoming equals the time needed for developing functioning organs; the time of being on the other hand covers the time when the organs have acquired their final form and as such are ready for use.”

The human species is not the only species that is not born ‘ready-made’. Whereas individuals of precocial species are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching, and thus quite independent from the outset, individuals of altricial species, whether mammals or birds, are relatively helpless as newborn/newly hatched, and require adult care. As Starck and Ricklefs (1998: 23) write, many insectivores, all rabbits, many rodents and most carnivores

give birth to small neonates that have closed eyes and ears, and no hair, are generally poorly developed, and are dependent on maternal care for a long lactation period. Newborn marsupials and monotremes are extremes, resembling early embryos, even compared to other altricial mammals. Precocial neonates are found among the ungulates […] and several rodent taxa.

Given the noticeable, axiomatic correspondence between physiology and Umwelt, the Umwelten of altricial species are at the beginning of life radically different from the Umwelten of precocial species. Briefly put, whereas precocial Umwelten are largely functional from the outset (and can thus be studied in isolation, as it were), altricial Umwelten become fully functional only gradually (and must therefore be studied in conjunction with the Umwelten of other individuals on which they depend).

In the course of this presentation I will also offer a brief overview of the ontogeny of the embryonic, foetal and infant human Umwelt (Tønnessen 2014). Fundamental questions that will be addressed include: At what point does the human Umwelt emerge? What Umwelt transitions can be identified in the ontogenesis of the early human Umwelt? What is characteristic of the Umwelt trajectory of human embryos/foetuses/infants? And, how are Umwelt objects established/crystallized/fixated in the human Umwelt?

Acknowledgement: This work has been supported by the research project “Animals in Changing Environments: Cultural Mediation and Semiotic Analysis” (EEA Norway Grants/Norway Financial Mechanism 2009–2014 under project contract no. EMP151).

References
Magnus, Riin 2011. Time-plans of the organisms: Jakob von Uexküll’s explorations into the temporal constitution of living beings. Sign Systems Studies 39(2/4): 37–57.
Starck, J. Matthias; Ricklefs, Robert E. 1998. Patterns of development: The altricial–precocial spectrum. In: Starck, J. Matthias; Ricklefs, Robert E. (eds.), Avian Growth and Development: Evolution within the Altricial-Precocial Spectrum. New York: Oxford University Press, 3–30.
Tønnessen, Morten 2014. 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.
Uexküll, Jakob von 2010. A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with a Theory of Meaning [orig. Uexküll 1956 [1934/1940]; O’Neil Joseph, trans.] Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

"The moral consequences of Uexküll´s Umwelt theory" now available via ResearchGate and Academia.edu

The article (framing essay) ""Darwin und die englische moral": The moral consequences of Uexküll´s Umwelt theory" (see Springer publication - the text was published in Biosemiotics in 2013), written by Jonathan Beever and myself, has been made available, in manuscript, pre-publication version, on ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

7th Nordic semiotics (NASS) newsletter prepared

This week I have taken part in composing the 7th newsletter of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS), along with fellow Newsletter editor Inesa Sahakyan.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

NASS webpage updated

Today I have updated the webpage of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS). The updates include the 6th newsletter of NASS (Autumn 2014), and the 2nd Call for papers for NASS IX (Tartu, 17-20 August 2015 - abstract deadline March 2nd) - with a link to the eight accepted session topics.

Tartu: MA programme in semiotics - application deadline April 16th

University of Tartu´s Department of Semiotics seeks applicants for its Master programme in semiotics for the academic year 2015-2016. The MA programme has been running since 2009, with very good results. For instance, several students have progressed to PhD studies following the MA programme.

Tartu semiotics is really something special, with its heritage which includes a classic within cultural semiotics such as Juri Lotman (pictured below), as well as a precursor to biosemiotics such as Jakob von Uexküll.

For more info, see www.ut.ee/semioticsQuestions can be addressed to tartusemiotics@ut.ee.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

2nd CFP, abstract deadline March 1st: "Animals in the Anthropocene - human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere"

The Second Call For Papers for the conference "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere" (Stavanger, Norway, September 17-19th 2015) has appeared (see conference webpage and 2nd CFP).

Deadline for submission of abstracts (oral presentations): March 1st 2015. Please submit your abstract to anthropoceneanimals@uis.no.

Keynote speakers: Almo Farina (Italy), Gisela Kaplan (Australia), Dominique Lestel (France), David Rothenberg (USA), Bronislaw Szerszynski (UK) and Louise Westling (USA).

The conference will feature 7 theme sessions:
– “Animals mediating the real and the imaginary in the past” (chairs: Siv Kristoffersen & Kristin Armstrong Oma, Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger, Norway)
– "Animal representations in popular culture and new media" (chairs: Kjersti Vik & Lene Bøe, University of Stavanger, Norway)
– “Animals, semiotics, and Actor-Network-Theory” (chairs: Silver Rattasepp & Timo Maran, University of Tartu, Estonia)
– “Global species” (chair: Morten Tønnessen, University of Stavanger, Norway)
– “Humans and other animals, between anthropology and phenomenologies” (chair: Annabelle Dufourcq, Charles University, Czech Republic)
– “Understanding the meaning of animals“ (chairs: Forrest Clingerman, Ohio Northern University, USA & Martin Drenthen, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands)
– “Wild animals in the era of humankind” (chair: Morten Tønnessen, University of Stavanger, Norway)

Submitted abstracts will be considered for a planned book to be published in Lexington Books´ series "Ecocritical Theory and Practice".

Abstract deadline for NASS IX March 2nd; my two session proposals accepted

The second call for papers for the 9th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies has now appeared - see the conference website.

The two session proposals I was involved in have both been accepted:

Abstracts should be sent to semiotics@ut.ee by March 2nd.

Another round of contributions to 2014 grant report

Yesterday I contributed, in a second round, to the annual grant report for 2014 for the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" (EMP151), for which I am the Norwegian project leader. The report of activities stands at around 18 pp, plus appendices.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Meeting of UiS Work group on ethical trade attended

Today I have taken part in a meeting of the University of Stavanger Work group on ethical trade.  One of our major tasks this meeting was to treat and help compose the annual report to Ethical Trading initiative Norway, of which University of Stavanger is a member.

Abstract for Jena: "Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids"

Today I have submitted the abstract below to the 2nd International Conference in Code Biology (Jena, Germany, June 17-19).

***

Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids

Morten Tønnessen, University of Stavanger

I have previously suggested that there are different Umwelt codes, which can be categorised as either CODEfix (fixed Umwelt codes) or CODEflex (flexible Umwelt codes). While neural codes are examples of CODEfix, ecological codes are instances of CODEflex.

Some corvids, including crows, evidently prosper in part due to their relationships with human settlements and anthropogenic food sources. However, actual human-corvid relationships are typically somewhat distanced – likely because, for one thing, corvids are often treated by humans as pest species.  In this paper I will look into the Umwelt alignment (cf. Tønnessen 2014) between corvids including crows on one hand and human beings on the other. My hypothesis is that Umwelt alignment must typically involve ecological codes (Umwelt codes).

What is Umwelt alignment? In dictionaries, “alignment” signifies an adjustment to a line, or arrangement into a straight line; a state of agreement or cooperation; the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other; etc. Crucially, alignment can denote processes or states of fitting-in with others. If we define Umwelt alignment as the process of adjustment by one creature to the presence and manifestation of other Umwelt creatures (and further, to abiotic Umwelt objects and meaning factors), we realize that every Umwelt dweller on this planet conducts Umwelt alignment on a regular basis, as manifested over time in concrete functional cycles (see Uexküll 2010 [1934/1940]: 49).

Not all Umwelt alignment is mutual and cooperative. If Umwelt alignment is a universal phenomenon, then there must also be Umwelt alignment among natural enemies, and among competitors. Keeping a certain distance can be seen as emblematic of Umwelt alignment. The spatial distribution of specimens is central in human and animal social life as well as in terms of human ecology and general ecology, and is relevant in the current context to the extent that spatial distribution is arranged by way of Umwelt creatures with deliberate adjustment to the presence of others. Here we observe not only various forms of natural (autonomous) Umwelt alignment, but further instances of coerced Umwelt alignment, a phenomenon which is enforced and motivated more or less exclusively by human utility. The regulatory mechanism of Umwelt alignment thus ranges from symbiotic strategies to more competitive forms of coexistence. In all cases, however, various forms of synchronicity are key.

A study of Umwelt alignment between corvids and humans can expectedly shed light on human-corvid co-evolution, corvid Umwelten, and current human ecology.

References
Tønnessen, Morten 2014. Umwelt Trajectories. Semiotica 198 (Special Issue on zoosemiotics, guest-edited by Timo Maran): 159–180.
Uexküll, Jakob von 2010 [1934/1940]. A foray into the worlds of animals and humans – with A theory of meaning (Posthumanities 12), Joseph D. O’Neil (trans.). Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.

Acknowledgement: This work has been supported by the research project “Animals in Changing Environments: Cultural Mediation and Semiotic Analysis” (EEA Norway Grants/Norway Financial Mechanism 20009-2014 under project contract no. EMP151).

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Chapter "Umwelt and language" proof-read

Today I have proof-read my chapter "Umwelt and language" (see some relevant previous posts), which will soon appear in a volume in the Biosemiotics book series published by Springer.

First plans for Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2015

Wednesday February 11th I took part in a meeting of the organising team of The Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference (Dyreetikkonferansen) 2015, in Oslo, at Norwegian Veterinary Institute. We agreed on the theme "Jakt på mor og barn" [Hunting mother and children].

Friday, 13 February 2015

7 re-appointments

Today I have had to appoint supervisors for 7 students anew, due to necessary allocations following messages from two teachers.

See also:

2 hour lecture - academic writing 2

Today I have taught for 2 hours, in the academic writing course for bachelor students (bachelor thesis in child welfare, bachelor thesis in social work) at University of Stavanger´s department of social studies. This completes the writing course.

One MC exam paper graded

Today I have graded one exam paper in the Multiple Choice continuation exam in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies (pass/fail).

Thursday, 12 February 2015

First PRE-FRIPRO workshop

Today I have attended the research application preparation PRE-FRIPRO course - a 5 hour workshop, this time - at University of Stavanger.

Supervisors appointed

Today I have announced the appointment of supervisors for ca. 150 students at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies (bachelor thesis).

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Minding Animals Norway board meeting attended; award plans discussed

Monday February 9th I attended and chaired the regular board meeting og Minding Animals Norway. We had several events and activities to discuss, including plans for the first Minding Animals award.

Book review for Sosiology idag proof-read yet again; reference

Today I have conducted yet another proof-reading (now page proofs) of my forthcoming review of Rune Ellefsen´s book. Reference:
Tønnessen, Morten 2015. Rune Ellefsen 2013. Med lov til å pine: Om bruk og beskyttelse av dyr. Oslo: Inspirator Forlag/Fritt Forlag. Book review. Sosiologi i dag 45(1) (Special Issue on „Miljøsosiologi“ [Environmental sociology]): 98–103.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Pilot study conducted at UiA

Today Paul Thibault and I conducted the pilot study of the subproject "Representations of Large Mammals, especially Wolves" partaking in the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in Changing Environments: Cultural Mediation and Semiotic Analysis" (EMP151), at University of Agder, with 4 respondents/interviewees.

2011 article "Perception and the levels of biosemiosis" perhaps to be reworked

I have received peer reviews of my 2011 article "Perception and the levels of biosemiosis", which was initially submitted to proceedings of the conference NASS VII (see previous posts). They are more or less critical, but I have been invited to rewrite and then resubmit. The plan for the NASS VII articles is now to publish them in the journal Cognitive Semiotics.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Peer review conducted for sociology journal

Last autumn I conducted a peer review for the Norwegian academic journal Sosiology idag.

From 50 to 70% contract with Department of social studies; all in all 100% workload and pay at UiS this academic year

I originally had a 50% contract at University of Stavanger's Department of Social Studies when I formally started August 1st last year, but by September I had agreed to increase the percentage to 70% with effect from September 1st (until July 31st 2015). As it turned out, my responsibilities amounted to more than the contract we had signed. My work plan has later been somewhat adjusted, but remained essentially the same, with responsibility mainly for the department´s Examen Philosophicum (SVEXPHIL10) and the bachelor thesis in social work, plus 40% research time.

With agreements on grading of exam papers in Examen Philosophicum at Department of Health Studies (SVEXPHIL2) and the 10% employment in the research project "Animals in changing environments" (EMP151), my total work load and pay at UiS adds up to 100% this academic year.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Joining the UiS´ PRE-FRIPRO pre-application program

I have been admitted to the University of Stavanger´s PRE-FRIPRO pre-application program, a program offered by the UiS Research and Innovation Department and designed to prepare "Young research talent" applicants for research applications within the Research Council of Norway´s FRIPRO program (independent projects).

See also:

Meeting on FRIPRO

On February 4th I had a meeting with a consultant in the University of Stavanger´s Research and Innovation Department to discuss the Research Council of Norway´s FRIPRO program (independent projects). I intend to apply this May, with the project "Umwelt theory for our time".

Draft of 85 supervisor appointments prepared - bachelor thesis in child welfare

February 4th and 5th I read 85 bachelor thesis outlines in the bachelor thesis in child welfare program (course code BBABAC) at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies, and distributed them on supervisors affiliated with the department. I then met with the course coordinator for the department´s bachelor thesis in social work to coordinate efforts, and finally we sent the draft of supervisor appointments to all supervisors for comments. The supervisor appointments will be finalised and announced to the students February 12th, next Thursday.

Two sets of exam questions prepared - continuation exams

Yesterday I composed exam questions for the continuation exam in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies (course code SVEXPHIL10) - both Multiple Choice and 7-day Home exam. These exams take place February 9th and February 10-17th respectively.

Monday, 2 February 2015

2nd CFP: "Animals in the Anthropocene"

From today onwards the Second Call For Papers (see also Scribd and Academia.edu) for the international conference "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere" (Stavanger, Norway September 17-19, 2015) is being distributed.

Deadline for abstract submissions is March 1st.

"Animals in the Anthropocene" conference webpage updated and expanded

Today I have updated the conference webpage of "Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in a changing semiosphere" (both Norwegian and English version). Among several additions, I have established/published subpages for Registration (also in Norwegian) and Practical information (also in Norwegian).

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Rodopi now imprint of Brill (re. The Semiotics of Animal Representations)

Since the publication of The Semiotics of Animal Representations last summer, the webpages of Rodopi have been remade as Brill webpages, since Rodopi was last year acquired by Brill and is now an imprint of Brill.

Academic reporting 2014 - CRIStin; estimate of 2014 publication points

Yesterday and (literally) last night I registered academic activities in 2014 in CRIStin, the Current Research information System in Norway (see my profile, with information from 2012 onwards). I made 36 registrations in total, of these 5 concern academic publications that will be included in the publication point system. For 2014 I should have an estimated 3,7 publication points (vs. 3,1 in 2014). The reporting also includes conference presentations and other talks, and media appearances including interviews.

36 registrations in a year is up 6 from 2013 (when I did not register chronicles and letters to the editor). Based on data from previous years, his likely accounts for at least 1% of the registrations from University of Stavanger.

In total I have for these three last years made 87 registrations in CRIStin.

See also: