is living processes understood as sign processes, as studied by biosemiotics, the science of biology in the perspective of signs, information, and meaning. This blog explores yet unknown dimensions of biosemiosis, and provides practical info supplementing the international website
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS Rhetorical Animals: Boundaries of the Human in the Study of Persuasion
Alex C. Parrish (James Madison University)
Kristian Bjørkdahl (Rokkan Centre for Social Studies)
In recent years, humanists and social scientists have shown increasing interest in human-animal relations – to the point where many now speak of an ‘animal turn’ in the humanities and social sciences. Across history, psychology, anthropology, literature, sociology, philosophy, and law, an interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies has been forming. Certain common themes run through this diverse field, not least the reproduction of human-animal difference, and the conditions and the implications thereof.
Despite the long history of language use as a marker of such difference, the academic quest to investigate the boundary between human and nonhuman has, somewhat surprisingly, not taken root within rhetorical studies – at least not until now. For this edited volume, we therefore call for chapters that investigate the place of nonhuman animals in the purview of rhetorical theory; what it would mean to communicate beyond the human community; how rhetoric reveals our ‘brute roots.’ In other words, this book invites contributions which enlighten us about likely or possible implications of the animal turn within rhetorical studies. Would such a turn imply, for instance, that rhetoric needs a nonanthropocentric reconfiguration? The question, perhaps, is this: What difference would it make to the discipline if we assumed that nonhuman forms of communication were as interesting as human ones?
For this volume, we invite contributions from a variety of academic perspectives that help elucidate how rhetoric can benefit from and contribute to human-animal studies. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted, with a brief biography, to Alex Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org and to Kristian Bjørkdahl at email@example.com. The closing date for submissions is 10 June 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by 20 June 2015. Full chapters are due 20 January 2016.
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).
Extended deadline for submission of abstracts (oral presentations):
March 15th 2015. Please submit your abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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,
– “Animals, semiotics, and Actor-Network-Theory” (chairs:
Silver Rattasepp & Timo Maran, University of Tartu, Estonia)
– “Global species” (chair: Morten Tønnessen, University of
– “Humans and other animals, between anthropology and
phenomenologies” (chair: Annabelle Dufourcq, Charles University, Czech
– “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
of the journal Biosemiotics,
I refer you to a questionnaire which
we now distribute in the biosemiotic community in preparation of the second
review article in the biosemiotic glossary project. Carlo Brentari, Riin Magnus
and I have been assigned as authors of this scientific article, which will
review the term ‘Umwelt’ (in the sense established by Jakob von Uexküll in his
Umwelt theory). As part of
the editorial process, each review article will, when submitted, be distributed
to the members of the editorial board of Biosemiotics and
further to those cited in the article, for feedback.
A survey in the
biosemiotic community is conducted in preparation of each review article. The
associated questionnaire, which is to be returned to me as handling editor,
is distributed to a wide range of biosemioticians, including but not
necessarily restricted to/via the members of the editorial board and advisory
board of Biosemiotics, the biosemiotics email list (email@example.com),
the board members of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS),
the board members of the International Society of Code Biology (ISCB), and the
Biosemiosis blog (http://biosemiosis.blogspot.com/).
authors are tasked with describing the outcomes of the survey associated with
their review article, and to do so systematically and in an unbiased manner.
However, when it comes to synthesis and suggestions, they will have the freedom
to propose their own view even if it contradicts the general/popular
We are in
the process of reorganizing the Editorial Board (EB) for the Biosemioticsjournal,
as we have explained at the recent 14th Gathering in
Biosemiotics in London (June 30 - July 4). Please note that the new and
revised editorial board will have fewer members than the current one.
The duties of the EB members are:
support Biosemiotics as the main journal of the International
Society for Biosemiotics Studies (ISBS) and contribute to ensure its quality.
(2) To provide help in reviewing papers submitted to Biosemiotics and
comply with journal guidelines and standards.
(3) To facilitate submission of high-quality papers to Biosemiotics, e.g.
by writing reviews on topics of special interest, organizing Special Issues, or
promoting the journal at various academic meetings and in communication with
The main benefits of being a member of the EB are possibility to contribute to
the development of biosemiotics as a discipline and free access to the
electronic version of Biosemiotics.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the new EB, please, send
us a message indicating your interest, with your CV in
attachment. Please note that the Editors-in-Chief will jointly decide on the
membership of the EB, and that we cannot guarantee any particular candidate a
spot in the EB based on motivation alone. Our decision will in the main be
based on the merit and competence of the candidates in core biosemiotics.
Middlesex University, London (UK), 30 June – 4 July 2014.
The Fourteenth Annual Gathering in Biosemiotics will be held in London from 30 June to 4 July 2014, under the auspices of Middlesex University in collaboration with the International Society of Biosemiotic Studies. The aim of the gathering is to provide scholars and researchers in various academic disciplines with a common platform to discuss the roles played by signs and communication in life processes.
The Scientific Advisory Committee of the 14th Gathering in Biosemiotics invites scholars and researchers from all over the world to submit their abstracts of presentations which are primarily centred on the roles and the significance of signs in life processes. Favoured abstracts will
contribute to and elaborate biosemiotics
be up-to-date regarding theory, methods and data, and
demonstrate understanding of, and refer to, existing works in the field.
Abstracts should be 300-600 words, typed using a standard word processing format (using Times New Roman 12 point font, and setting the page size for A4). Abstracts should be submitted as single page files to the following address:abstracts2014 [a] biosemiotics.org to be received by no later than 14 March 2013. Please name the abstract file with the author’s (your) surname in capital letters, for instance SEBEOK.doc.
taken the initiative to a session (either a study session or more likely a
roundtable, depending on the interest) at the 12th World Congress of Semiotics (Sofia, Bulgaria, 16-20
September 2014) entitled "Biosemiotic ethics". Abstracts for
individual presentations can be sent directly to me. The description of the
topic of this session is as follows (see here for other proposed sessions):
A dozen to
20 years ago, two of the most central biosemioticians, first Jesper Hoffmeyer
and then Kalevi Kull, addressed connections between biosemiotics and ethics.
The last ten years a new generation of scholars have started working out a
biosemiotic ethics. The foundational idea is that if all living systems are
semiotic, then biosemiosis can serve as basis for justifying attribution of
moral status to human and non-human individuals and to various ecological
entities. Most of the scholars involved in this endeavor have taken Jakob von
Uexküll’s Umwelt theory as their starting point. Recent relevant publications
include a translation of Uexküll’s 1917 article “Darwin and the English Morality”, with a framing essay
entitled ““Darwin und die englische Moral”: The Moral Consequences of
Uexküll’s Umwelt Theory”.
questions for discussion include but are not limited to the following: In what
ways does a biosemiotic ethics potentially take us beyond sentience-centered
approaches? Does biosemiotic ethics represent a new form of consequentialism,
or should it be placed within some other tradition? What ramifications do
different views on the semiotic threshold have within the context of normative
ethics? Is there (something akin to) normativity in the very constitution of
the Umwelt? Does the semiosphere at large (qua biosphere) have intrinsic value?
And what, in terms of biosemiosis, is the origin of value?
of the journal Biosemiotics, I refer you to a questionnaire which we now
distribute in the biosemiotic community in preparation of the biosemiotic
glossary project. The editorial team of Biosemiotics, which counts
Alexei Sharov, Timo Maran and myself (note that in parallel Marcello is
finishing the final issues he is responsible for the next few months), has
decided to go through with this project, and that I will be its handling
for the resulting publications will be invited review articles. The first,
standard-setting review article, on the notions ‘agent’ and ‘agency’, will be
written by me personally. One review will be published in each regular issue of
Biosemiotics – in other words, usually there will be two review articles
per year. The first article will appear in no. 3/2014. Each article will review
one or more terms.
While I am
the handling editor for these review articles, all three of us will be involved
in decision making. We will routinely discuss and decide on what term(s) to
review next, what author(s) to invite to write each review, etc. As part of the
editorial process, each review article will, when submitted, be distributed to
the members of the editorial board of Biosemiotics and further to those
cited in the article, for feedback. This will be part of the basis for our
editorial decision concerning whether the review is ready to be published or
A survey in
the biosemiotic community will be conducted in preparation of each review
article. The associated questionnaire, which is to be returned to me as
handling editor, will be distributed to a wide range of biosemioticians,
including but not necessarily restricted to/via the members of the editorial
board and advisory board of Biosemiotics, the biosemiotics email list (firstname.lastname@example.org), the board
members of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS), the board
members of the International Society of Code Biology (ISCB), and the
Biosemiosis blog (http://biosemiosis.blogspot.com/).
author(s) will in each case be tasked with describing the outcomes of the
survey associated with their review article, and to do so systematically and in
an unbiased manner. However, when it comes to synthesis and suggestions, they
will have the freedom to propose their own view even if it contradicts the
general/popular understanding. In the writing process, all assigned authors are
expected to conduct an extensive literature review on their own as well.
respondents to the first survey in the biosemiotic community are, as part of
the survey, invited to propose specific terms to review. Suitable terms should
be quite concisely used by several biosemioticians, and if the terms are in
more general usage as well, the biosemiotic usage of the terms should somehow
stand out from general usage.