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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Peer-review done

I have recently carried out a peer-review for Plants, People, Planet.

Summary session held

Today I took part in a 1-hour summery session for the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods".

MC exam questions composed

Today I have composed exam questions for the Multiple Choice exam in Ex.Phil. at Department of social studies.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Minding Animals Norway annual report and financial report

Today I have drafted annual report and financial report for Minding Animals Norway for the last year, to be presented at the organization´s annual meeting this forthcoming Thursday.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Second hunting-themed gathering attended

Today I have attended the second gathering of the Norwegian network "Jakt i endring", at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) in Oslo.


Today I have registered approval of completed compulsory activity in "Philosophy of science and research methods". I have also conducted an "empty" course description revision for Ex.phil. (no change made).

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

4 last hours of teaching

Today I have concluded this autumn´s scheduled teaching - with seminar 6.4 in Ex.phil. and the fifth seminar in philosophy of science in the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods".

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Seminar 6.3

Today I have taught the third seminar in the sixth and final round of Ex.phil. seminars at Department of social studies.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Updated conference info for NASS XI "Anticipation and change"; Sign Systems Studies special issue planned

I have updated the Call for papers for NASS XI, "Anticipation and change". The updated third Call for papers is available here. Abstract deadline remains December 10th. News include the fact that a special issue of Sign Systems Studies will be based on papers from NASS XI.

Six hours of teaching commencing last week of this autumn´s teaching

Today I have taught for 6 hours in Examen Philosophicum - the last day of teaching for two of four seminar groups, though two seminars still remain the next couple of days. Before the two seminars today I gave the 12th and final lecture, summing up and starting a course in academic writing.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Concluding remarks at closing segment of Hybrid natures conference

Today I contributed with brief remarks, along with four or five other people, at the closing segment of the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures - Anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelts" at University of Tartu.

MA interview

Here in Tartu at the hybrid natures conference I have been interviewed briefly today by a Master student doing work in ecocriticism on the possible application of Umwelt theory and biosemiotics in that context.

Abstract for NASS XI: "Umwelt trajectories revisited: Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century"

I have just composed and submitted the abstract below for NASS XI, "Anticipation and change".


TitleUmwelt trajectories revisited: Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century

Abstract: Two great challenges face humanity in the 21stcentury: To solve an escalating environmental crisis, and to further improve and safeguard human living conditions. However, current policy strategies, such as the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals, in part rely on an outdated model of development that has not proven to be environmentally sustainable (O´Neill et al. 2018).
   The main idea of Jakob von Uexküll´s Umwelt theory (2010) is that living beings relate to signs, and that the lives of all humans, animals and unicellular organisms play out in distinctive subjective worlds, or Umwelten. In Tønnessen 2014 (p. 159) an “Umwelt trajectory” is characterized as

the course through evolutionary (or cultural) time taken by the Umwelt of a creature, as defined by its changing relations with the Umwelten of other creatures. The Umwelt trajectory of a creature is thus the historical path of its perceptual and behavioral dispositions considered from an ecological and phenomenological point of view. This notion represents an aggregate, collective (and evolutionary) equivalent to Uexküll’s notion of the Umwelt-tunnel of a single individual creature.

   In this presentation, I will apply the “Umwelt trajectory” perspective in an analysis of the future societal transformation that is required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century. Key questions include: How are our relations to non-humans likely to change in the scope of this century? And how shouldthey change, in order to secure environmental sustainability? How can improved living conditions for humans be pursued at the same time as society is made environmentally sustainable? I will deal with these questions by looking into questions concerning societal development and transformation. 
   The liberty to choose how we want to live our lives, and live in accordance with our core values, is fundamentally important for human autonomy and dignity, and thus also for humans´ satisfaction with life. I will argue for adopting a model of development that aims at maximizing humans´ range of options in the long term, especially in terms of life style choices. An implication is that we should avoid policy strategies that in effect lock us into inflexible development paths, such as e.g. those that would make us highly dependent on specific high-tech solutions.
   The model of development I defend will have to be holistic in the sense that it will have to consider the interests of both humans and non-humans, and the full range of environmental issues. This is required, given that the future path of our societal development will be decisive for environmental sustainability and human wellbeing alike.

O’Neill, D. W., A. L. Fanning, W.L. Lamb. & J.K. Steinberger, J. K. (2018), ‘A good life for all within planetary boundaries’, Nature Sustainability, 1, 88–95.
Tønnessen, M. (2014), ‘Umwelt trajectories’, Semiotica,issue 198, 159–180.
von Uexküll, J. (2010), A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with A Theory of Meaning (Posthumanities 12). Transl. by J. D. O. ́Neil. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.

Keywords: environmental crisis, social change, cultural change, environmental change, societal transformation, Umwelt theory, biosemiotics

Friday, 9 November 2018

CFP for 19th gathering in biosemiotics - Moscow

The call for papers for the 19th gathering in biosemiotics has just appeared. The conference will be held in Moscow, Russia, July 1-5th, at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Abstract deadline is January 31st.

Tartu keynote held

Today I gave the keynote, or plenary talk, "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory", at the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures - anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelts" (University of Tartu 8-10 November). Some 30-40 people were present.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

4th research methods seminar, then off towards Tartu

Today I taught the fourth and last seminar in research methods in "Philosophy of science and research methods" - before going by taxi to the airport, heading for Tartu and the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures: anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed Umwelten."

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

First NORPART meeting

Another meeting I attended today, with two department colleagues, was a first planning meeting on our new NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" (effective from January 1st 2019).

Teacher meeting - child welfare

Today I attended a meeting with fellow course coordinators in the bachelor study in child welfare, discussing revision of course descriptions, teaching in research methods, and other issues.

Research methods seminar

Today I gave the fourth seminar in research ethics in the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods", with two student assistents. Today the focus was on tentative research design. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

NASS board meeting held, chaired

Today I chaired the board meeting of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies, via Skype. Among the issues we discussed was matters related to the forthcoming 11th conference of NASS (abstracts due December 10th).

11th lecture

Today I gave the 11th Ex.phil. lecture at Department of social studies this autumn.

Friday, 2 November 2018

UiS webpage for 11th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies

This is the conference page of NASS XI, "Anticipation and change" (Stavanger, Norway June 13-15th 2019) at the website of the host institution, University of Stavanger.

Course description revision in MEE140

I have conducted course description revisions in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140).

NORPART application "Cuban and Nordic welfare" successful

Yesterday we got to know that our project application "Cuban and Nordic welfare" will be funded by Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation (NORPART), with some 5 million crowns, for the period 2019-2023. This is first of all a student exchange and educational collaboration project. The project involves collaboration between University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies and University of Havana´s Department of sociology.

Our project is the only one with a partner in Latin America, and one of two projects awarded to University of Stavanger.

I took active part in the application work, and am one of 12 members of the project´s "Academic Collaboration Group" (7 from Stavanger) and one of 5 members (3 from Stavanger) in the project´s Steering Committee.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Sixth Verdibørsen appearance this year - on aquaculture

Today I appeared on NRK P2´s Verdibørsen for the sixth time this year, in the segment "Oppdrettsfisk i entall". I was interviewed, along with Lisa Bergan (Cermaq) and Øyvind Håbrekke (the think tank Skaperkraft), by Karen Frivik. Program host was Jostein Gjertsen.

In the program I am presented as working at "Høyskolen i Agder" (the University college of Agder - which became the University of Agder some 10 years ago), but in fact I work at the University of Stavanger.