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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Revision of "Human Perceptions of Animals: A Multimodal Event Analysis of Interview Data" finished

I have just finished, in collaboration with Paul J. Thibault, the chapter "Human Perceptions of Animals: A Multimodal Event Analysis of Interview Data", in its revised version (see some related posts). At ca. 10.000 words and with several images, the chapter is one of the longest I´ve contributed to.

1. Introduction
2. Interview Design
3. Theory
4. Analysis of Data
5. Discussion

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

NASS General Assembly scheduled for August 19th

This year´s General Assembly of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) - the first since 2013 - has been scheduled for Wednesday August 19th at 18.30 (during NASS IX, Tartu - Estonia - cf. preliminary program).

"Agency in biosemiotics and enactivism" scheduled for presentation August 19th at NASS IX

My paper "Agency in biosemiotics and enactivism" has been scheduled for presentation Wednesday August 19th at 14.30-15.00 at the 9th conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (Tartu, Estonia, 17-20 August 2015) - see preliminary program. My paper will be part of the session  "Cognitive semiotics meets biosemiotics / Biosemiotics meets cognitive semiotics", specifically the subsection "Umwelt and agency", which will be chaired by Göran Sonesson.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cognitive semiotics and biosemiotics session scheduled for August 17th, 19th at NASS IX

The session "Cognitive semiotics meets biosemiotics / Biosemiotics meets cognitive semiotics" has been scheduled for Monday August 17th and Wednesday August 19th at the 9th conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (Tartu, Estonia, 17-20 August 2015). The session, which will be chaired by Göran Sonesson and myself, will include 15 papers.

Specifics: I will chair the subsections "Culture and cognition" (August 17th at 16.30-18.00) and "Biosemiotics and cognition" (August 19th at 14.00-16.00). Other subsessions are held August 17th at 14.00-16.00 and August 19th at 14.00-16.00.

No Umwelt futurology session at NASS IX; Umwelt futurology paper scheduled for presentation 20/8

Due to lack of interest, there will not be any session called "The study of future Umwelten: Umwelt futurology" at the 9th conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (Tartu, Estonia, 17-20 August 2015).

My paper “The future Umwelten of wolves, sheep and people in Scandinavia” has been scheduled for presentation Thursday August 20th at 2-2.30 pm, in the session "Knowledge and environment in move", chaired by Kati Lindström.

Monday, 22 June 2015

General Assembly of ISCB attended

On June 10th I attended the (very brief) General Assembly of the International Society of Code Biology (ISCB), in Jena, Germany, which took place during the 2nd code biology conference. I have since the foundation of the ISCB in the autumn of 2012 been a member of the Governing Board, and still am.

"Umwelt and language" scheduled for publication September 14th

The book Biosemiotic Perspectives on Language and Linguistics (eds. Velmezova, Kull, Cowley; = Biosemiotics 13), which will include my chapter "Umwelt and language", has been scheduled for publication September 14th. Product flyer available here.

No merger UiS / HSH

As detailed in a news story posted yesterday (in Norwegian), the board of University of Stavanger (UiS) decided yesterday that it will not merge with Stord/Haugesund University College (HSH). The board´s decision was unanimous.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

3rd code biology conference to be held in Urbino, Italy, May 2016

The 3rd International Conference in Code Biology will take place in Urbino, Italy, May 24-28th 2016, and will be convened by Almo Farina.

The semiotics of animal representations included in SLE Annotations

The edited collection
Tüür, Kadri and Morten Tønnessen (eds) 2014. The Semiotics of Animal Representations (Nature, Culture and Literature 10). Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.
is described in
NN 2015. Annotations. Studies in Literature and Environment 22 (2): 433-440. Doi: 10.1093/isle/isv045. 
Excerpt (p. 439):
Tüür, Kadri, and Morten Tønnessen, eds. The Semiotics of Animal Representations. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014. Part of Rodopi's Nature, Culture and Literature series, this book offers an introduction and thirteen essays that collectively explore and analyze a range of literary and cultural representations of nonhuman animals from around the world.

Friday, 19 June 2015

UiS university director proposes not to merge with HSH

Here is the presentation of issues (saksfremlegg - in Norwegian), prepared by the University of Stavanger (UiS) university director John Møst, ahead of this Sunday´s board meeting, which will decide whether or not UiS will merge with Stord/Haugesund University College (HSH). The university director proposes not to merge with HSH - I couldn´t agree more.

"Is a wolf wild..." article cited in van Dooren article on crows

My article
Tønnessen, Morten 2010. Is a Wolf wild as Long as it Does Not Know that It Is Being Thoroughly Handled? Humanimalia – a journal of human/animal interface studies 2(1) (Fall 2010): 1–8. 
is cited in
van Dooren, Thom 2015. Authentic Crows: Identity, Captivity and Emergent Forms of Life [Tønnessen 2010j]. Theory, Culture & Society. Published online March 12th 2015 (DOI: 10.1177/0263276415571941).
Excerpt (p. 10-11; footnote 20):
Species and individual organisms always become with others – including human others – within diverse fields of freedom and constraint (indeed, what counts as freedom for whom is part of what is produced in these entangled co-becomings).20 
20. For example, ‘canine freedom’ is not everywhere the same. Freedom for a ‘wild’ wolf is very different to the kinds of freedoms that make life good for a ‘domesticated’ dog – although, perhaps, not as different as we might at first assume (Tønnessen, 2010).

2014 Impact Factor of Biosemiotics record-high

The Impact Factor (IF) for the journal Biosemiotics (published by Springer) for 2014, calculated by Thomson Reuters, is 0.593. This is an increase from 2013, when the IF was 0.488, and the journal´s highest IF yet.

The Impact Factor is a measure of how many times the articles published in a journal are being cited. The 2014 Impact Factor says something about how many times articles published in Biosemiotics in 2012 and 2013 were cited on average in 2014, in indexed publications.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Book contract for "Animals in the Anthropocene"; book project moving ahead

Today we´ve been offered a book contract with Lexington Books, an imprint of Littlefield & Rowman, for the edited collection Animals in the Anthropocene, which will appear April 2016 in their book series "Ecocritical Theory and Practice". The volume will be edited by me, Kristin Armstrong Oma and Silver Rattasepp.

UiS: Intense debate on merger with HSH; UiS should disclose all relevant documents

The rector of University of Stavanger and others, including two heads of department, have written opinion pieces on the ongoing merger negotiations on the debate pages of University of Stavanger. An extraordinary board meeting will be held this Sunday, to decide whether or not UiS will merge with Stord/Haugesund University College.

As mentioned earlier in this blog, I oppose this merger. What is more, I think the merger process should have been much more transparent. Board meetings have been closed to the general public, and documents have not been publicly disclosed. That is not a good way of leading an important process for the whole institution. I recommend that the university director releases all relevant documents ahead of the board meeting on June 21st. As a 2nd deputy member of the UiS board, I only got relevant documents from the last meeting today after asking the permanent member representing temporarily employed staff.

"Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids" presented in Jena

Today I have presented the paper "Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids" at the 2nd International Conference in Code Biology. Some 35 people were present.

See also Almo Farina´s introduction to ecological codes.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Two Umwelt theory articles cited in Maran´s "Emergence of the “Howling Foxes”"

My articles
Tønnessen, M. (2009). Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change. Biosemiotics, 2(1), 47–64.
Tønnessen, M. (2014). Umwelt trajectories. Semiotica, 198, 159–180.
are cited in
Timo Maran 2015. Emergence of the “Howling Foxes”: A Semiotic Analysis of Initial Interpretations of the Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) in Estonia. Biosemiotics. Published online June 3rd 2015 (DOI 10.1007/s12304-015-9244-1).
There are some semiotic studies that could be used as a point of departure for a semiotic analysis of non-native or invasive species. [...] Morten Tønnessen (2009; 2014) has developed Uexküll’s Umwelt theory towards a research method for analyzing phenomenological and semiotic aspects of changing human-animal relations (e.g. between man and wolf).

My profile

My profile at currently has 335 followers, and has had 6.503 views to date (currently in the top 2% by 30-day no. of views). You´ll find plenty of material there, including info on 39 papers and 66 talks.

"Umwelt transitions" article 5th most downloaded Biosemiotics article in 2014; available online

Data from Springer shows that my article "Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change" was the 5th most downloaded article in 2014 published in Biosemiotics, with 146 downloads. The article was published in 2009 (2(1)). The full text is currently available online.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Report from UiS open meeting og merger negotiations with Stord/Haugesund UC

Here´s a report from the "allmøte" (open meeting) last Friday at University of Stavanger on the ongoing merger negotiations with Stord/Haugesund University College. As described in the UiS report, there is now considerable resistance against the merger among employees.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

"Animals in changing environments" updates online

The webpage of  the Norwegian research group of the project "Animals in Changing Environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" (EMP151) was updated June 29th, with further updates/publications June 2nd. These included a news story on the project´s 3rd Norwegian research seminar (see also Norwegian version, for the UiS employees). 

Grant dinner in Stavanger

On Thursday June 4th, the Norwegian research group of the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" (EMP151) had its annual dinner out, at Kitchen & Table, in connection with the 3rd Norwegian EMP151 research seminar, held at University of Stavanger. Riin Magnus was visiting from Tartu.

Friday, 12 June 2015

"Umwelt ethics" cited in Deely article on environment, Umwelt, Lebenswelt

My article "Umwelt ethics" (2003, PDF available online) is cited in John Deely´s 2014 article "Semiotic entanglement: The concepts of environment, Umwelt, and Lebenswelt in semiotic perspective" (Semiotica 199: 7–42). The citation occurs on p. 21.

Heidegger proceeds to an analysis of Sein that is breathtaking in its scope, for he does not at all omit the cathectic dimension from his sweep, and presents us with a notion of Dasein so much more profound than the classical and medieval "rational animal" as to awaken us to the full depths of human culture in its amalgamation and dependence upon, even though irreducible to, the zoösemiosis constructive of the Umwelt, and to the human person as itself a part of nature, even if a species-specifically distinctive transcendent part thanks to the exaptation of linguistic communication (cf. Tønnessen 2003: 287; Kull and Nöth 2001: 283).

Kåkå debate on climate change dissemination held

On Thursday June 4th I participated in a debate meeting in the series "Verdikommisjonen" [the value commission] at Kåkå - Kverulantkatedralen in Stavanger, representing University of Stavanger (rector Marit Boyesen is a permanent member of Verdikommisjonen, I was there instead of her). Topic for the debate was: "Hvordan kan folk flest forstå klimautfordringen når ingen kan lese rapporten og verken mediene eller forskerne selv tar skikkelig formidlingsansvar?" [How can people understand the climate challenge, when no one can read the report and neither the media nor researchers take proper  responsibility for disseminating?]. Some 50 people were present.

See also:

Thursday, 11 June 2015

UiS board votes to continue merger negotiations - I disagree

The board of University of Stavanger today, after a 6-5 vote, decided to continue negotiations with Stord/Haugesund University College, aiming for a merging of the two institutions. See news stories (in Norwegian) from Stord/Haugesund University College and University of Stavanger respectively.

All the employees´ representatives voted against continuing the negotiations. I am the 2nd deputy representative of temporarily employed education and research staff - and did not attend the board meeting. But let it be clear: I am opposed to this merger. Little would be gained by it, apparently, and the chances of achieving the current ambitions of the University of Stavanger would be weakened. I favour autonomous institutions in higher education, but do not see the point in establishing ever-larger institutions, spread over different campuses etc., as the Ministry of Education has set out to do.

"Uexküllian phenomenology" revised

Today I have finished revising my article "Uexküllian phenomenology", to appear in Chinese Semiotic Studies.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Teaching plan for PHCC master course composed

Today I have composed the teaching plan for the master course "Philosophy of Science and Health Care Ethics" (course code FXPSH100), offered by UiS EVU. Teaching days are at the end of November and end of February respectively.

12 explanations of grading written

Today I have written 12 explanations of grading in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of health studies.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

EMP151 grant meeting chaired

In the afternoon of Friday June 5th, at University of Stavanger, the Norwegian research group of the project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" held a grant meeting, which I chaired.

3rd EMP151 research seminar held; paper on human perceptions of animals presented

The 3rd research seminar of the Norwegian research group of the project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" was held at University of Stavanger last Friday. 6 people were present. I presented "Human Perceptions of Wolves and other Animals in Kristiansand, Kautokeino and Rendalen" along with Paul Thibault.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Fish welfare chronicle linked to in new Aftenposten chronicle

The chronicle "Fiskelykke?" [fish happiness?], written by Tore Kristiansen and me and published in Aftenposten August 2014, is linked to as relevant reading in relation to the online publication of Siri Martinsen´s chronicle in Aftenposten "Fisken - det usynlige dyret" [the fish - the invisible animal], published June 6th.

Petition against employed rector signed

I have signed a petition calling for a refusal of the government´ proposal of changing the standard model for selecting higher education rectors from elected rector to employed rector. The petition, which highlights the importance of democracy and autonomy in higher education, has been signed by some 2.700 scholars.

297 research applications in RCN Young research talents scheme

Research Council of Norway reports (on the linked page and on their Facebook page for Young research talents) that they received 297 research applications in the scheme Unge forskertalenter [Young research talents] by the deadline May 27th. This is an increase of 33% from last year. 73 of these research applications (out of 330 in total) were within HUMSAM - humanities and social science.

I have applied with the application "Umwelt Theory For Our Time".

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Talk on human perceptions of wolves and other animals scheduled for June 5th at noon

My presentation, to be given with Paul Thibault, "Human Perceptions of Wolves and other Animals in Kristiansand, Kautokeino and Rendalen" (see abstract) has been scheduled for presentation at 12.00-13.30. The presentation will be given at the 3rd research seminar of the Norwegian research group in the project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis".

Two final field work interviews conducted

Today and yesterday Paul Thibault and I have conducted the final two interviews in the subproject "Representations (both Problematic and Romanticizing) of Large Mammals, especially Wolves" in the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis", in Stavanger, at University of Stavanger. This brings the total number of interviews up to 13. We now have some 10 hours of video recordings (plus footage from a second camera).

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Another employment contract accepted

Today I have confirmed in writing that I accept the offer of another contract with University of Stavanger's Department of Social Studies (50% position August 2015 - July 2016 as Associate professor of philosophy). By the end of this contract I will have been temporarily employed at University of Stavanger, on various overlapping contracts (and for three different departments), for 4 1/2 years.

See also:

Performance appraisal 2015 - and plans for next academic year

Today I met with my Head of Department at University of Stavanger's Department of Social Studies, Svanaug Fjær, for the annual "medarbeidersamtale" (something akin to 'performance appraisal'). The coming academic year I will supervise three bachelor students (bachelor thesis in child welfare). I will also grade a bit more than half of all exam papers (home exam) in Examen philosophical, be course coordinator for bachelor thesis in child welfare, and teach (seminars/group work) in Examen Philosophicum.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Code Biology 2 - abstract book

The abstract of my forthcoming presentation "Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids", to be held at the 2nd International Conference in Code Biology (Jena, Germany June 16-20), appears on p. 32 in the conference´s abstract book.

Jena, Code Biology 2: Talk on Umwelt alignment in corvids scheduled for June 18th

My forthcoming presentation "Umwelt codes exemplified by Umwelt alignment in corvids", to be held at the 2nd International Conference in Code Biology (Jena, Germany June 16-20), has been scheduled for Thursday June 18th at 15.45-16.15. See full program.

Ask the philosopher enterprise profitable in 2014

A few days ago I composed the annual report 2014 for my private business "Spør filosofen" [Ask the philosopher]. Total income was 10.888 NOK (ca. 1.200 EUR), total expenses 9.608 NOK, profits 1.279 NOK (12% of revenues). This is the first time for some years that my philosophy business has been profitable.