Conferences and seminars in association with Department of Semiotics
Tartu, Estonia. 4–8 April 2011.
Zoosemiotics is an interdisciplinary research program introduced by an American semiotician Thomas A. Sebeok
in the 1960s with the aim to merge semiotics and ethology and to launch semiotic studies of animal
communication. The foundational idea in zoosemiotics is that relations between animals and their environment as
well as between different individuals are not purely physical, but are to a large extent sign-mediated. This gives a
significant role to the animal subjects, and recognizes more as well as higher forms of complexity in animals than
previously assumed. A lot has happened since the concept of zoosemiotics was proposed: the rise of biosemiotics
and cognitive ethology are two among the many important developments in the field of animal communication
Now, almost 50 years after Sebeok’s initiative, the Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu organizes an
international gathering aiming to look back at the history of zoosemiotics, but also to look ahead towards the future
of semiotic studies of animals. At this event, the scope of zoosemiotics is defined broadly, so as to include specific
studies in the history of science, philosophical accounts of animals, case studies on animal communication as well
as animal representations in literature and other media. At the same time, the focus of the conference is explicitly
twofold: “semiotic processes” and “animals” are the key concepts that are to guide the conference as well as the
individual presentations. Researchers from various backgrounds who have been inspired by zoosemiotics or who
are interested in different aspects of semiotic studies of animals are invited to participate in the conference.
KEY TOPICS OF THE CONFERENCE
» Theory and methodology of zoosemiotics
» History of zoosemiotics, the legacy of Thomas A. Sebeok
» Practical applications of zoosemiotics (e.g. zoosemiotics and conservation)
» Zoosemiotics’ relation to relevant fields such as cognitive ethology, biosemiotics, ecocriticism etc.
» Animal experience (semiotics and phenomenology)
» Semiotic perspectives on animals in literature, art, films etc. (e.g. seeing man in animals, and the animal in
» Semiotics of human–animal relationships: historical, social and communicative perspectives (e.g. the
semiotics of zoos, of wildlife management, and of domesticated animals).
CALL FOR PAPERS
To submit a proposal, interested scholars (and graduate students) should e-mail an abstract (300-600 words) and
a bio-note (less than 100 words) to the address: email@example.com. Abstract should be sent as a
separate one-page file (.doc or .rtf). The deadline for the abstracts is 15 September 2010. Earlier submissions are
highly encouraged. The conference “Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations” has an international advisory
board. All presentation abstracts will be peer-reviewed. The conference welcomes also proposals for poster
presentations. Selected papers will be published in the conference proceedings.
The conference is organized by the Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu and by Estonian Semiotics
Association under the auspices of the International Society of Biosemiotic Studies and the Centre of Excellence in
Cultural Theory (CECT, EU/Estonia), and is supported by the Estonian Science Foundation (ETF/ESF).
Organizing team includes Dr. Timo Maran, Dr. Jelena Grigorjeva, Morten Tønnessen, Kadri Tüür, Silver
Rattasepp, Nelly Mäekivi.
Postal address: The conference "Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations", Department of Semiotics, University
of Tartu, Tiigi 78, Tartu 50410, Estonia.
Seminar SEMIOTICS OF ORGANIC FORM next Thursday, 18. february, 16:30, Tiigi
Kalevi Kull - Structuralism and semiotic of organic form (PDF)
Jesper Hoffmeyer - Form, substance and semiosis (PDF)
Scott Gilbert - Semiotics of animal form (PDF)
Jesper Hoffmeyer is world's leading biosemiotician (University of Copenhagen),
Scott Gilbert American leading developmental biologist. Homepages:
November 21-23, 2008, Estonia
The Frontiers in Comparative Metrics conference (in memoriam Mikhail Gasparov) will be held on November 21–22, 2008 in Tallinn and on November 23 in Tartu, Estonia. The organizers of the conference are the Department of the Cultural Theory at the Tallinn University and the Departments of Semiotics and Classical Philology at the University of Tartu. The language of the conference will be English.
Main topics of the conference:
· Theory of versification and comparative studies in metrics and rhythmics
· Frontiers in Indo-European metrics
· Fenno-Ugric metrics
· Classical heritage and contemporary poetic culture
· Semantics of verse
Expected plenary speakers will be:
David Chisholm, University of Arizona
Paul Kiparsky, Stanford University
Mihhail Lotman, Tallinn University, University of Tartu
Gregory Nagy, Harvard University
“Current research on the performance of archaic Greek hexameter”
Seiichi Suzuki, Kansai Gaidai University
“Catalexis and Suspension of Resolution in Eddic Meters”
Marina Tarlinskaja, University of Washington
“Kyd's Canon: Verse Attribution”
Reuven Tsur, Tel Aviv University
“Metricalness and Rhythmicalness. What Our Ear Tells Our Mind”
Preliminary list of speakers:
Maria Akimova, Moscow State University
“Rhythmical forms in Dante's The Divine Comedy”
Andrew S. Becker, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
“Lesbium servate pedem: Ictus and Accent in the Sapphics of Horace and Ausonius”
Anastasia Belousova, Lomonosov Moscow State University
“Horace in Russian: Iambic and Logaoedic Translations, and Thematic and Metric Derivations”
Lev Blumenfeld, Carleton University
“On some abstract similarities between Latin and Greek dialogue meters”
Sergej Bolotov, Russian State University for the Humanities
“Three Sides of One Medal: Re-accentuation and Comparative Syllabo-Tonics”
Ulf Cronquist, Gothenburg University
“Versification, Semiotics and Cognition: Perverse and Natural Meaning Production in Leonard Cohen’s ”Hallelujah”
Richard D. Cureton, University of Michigan
“Time and Form”
Albert Davletshin, Russian State University for the Humanities
“The <e> Poetic Vowel in the Polynesian Languages and Polynesian Poetic Traditions”
Stephen Evans, University of Turku
“Metrical Movement in Archaic Greek Poetry”
Kiril Golovastikov, Lomonosov Moscow State University
“The Russian Syllabic Translation of The Divine Comedy: Problems in Metrics”
Peter Groves, Monash University
“A comparative study of the perception of metrical complexity in English”
Satu Grünthal, University of Helsinki
“Between free and bound verse: Ilpo Tiihonen’s poetic language”
Piers Hugill, University of Southampton
“A comparative metrical reading of Browning’s Sordello and ‘Bishop Bloughram’s Apology’ using the method of rhythmical analysis adopted by Henri Meschonnic”
Robert Ibrahim, Charles University
“A Dialogue with Teachers – Miroslav ?ervenka's Contribution to the Formalist-Structuralist Theory of Verse”
Siru Kainulainen, University of Turku
“Rhythm and meaning in Eila Kivikk’aho’s poem
”Minussa vaikenevat taas” (”Silent within me again”)”
Igor Karlovsky, Tallinn
“Evolution of Maksimilian Voloshin's dactylo-trochaic hexameter”
Artem Kozmin, Russian State University for the Humanities
“Syllabic Verse and Vowel Length in Tonga, Hawaiian and Rapanui”
Marina Krasnoperova, Evgeny Kazartsev, St. Petersburg State University
“Reconstructive simulation of versification in the comparative studies of texts in different languages (theoretical aspects and practice of application)
Jörgen Larsson, University College of Borås
“Rhythm and semiotics”
George Levinton, European University at St. Petersburg
“Proto-Slavic epic verse and reconstruction of epic formulas”
Eva Lilja, Gothenburg University
“Some Aspects of Poetic Rhythm”
Maria-Kristiina Lotman, University of Tartu
“The typology of the Estonian hexameter”
Karoliina Lummaa, University of Turku
“Reading non-human life. Rhytm and tone in three Finnish nature poems”
Sergei Lyapin, St. Petersburg
“Poetic language: «uncertainty» as a principle
(Faulkner, Musil, Dostoevsky, Pushkin)”
Alexandra Nikolskaya, St. Petersburg State University
“Albanian verse: between syllabics and tonics”
Triinu Ojamaa, Estonian Literary Museum; Jaan Ross, Estonian Academy of Music,University of Tartu
“Some Problems of the Structure and Metre in Nenets Folk songs”
Igor Pilshchikov, Moscow
“Problems in Automatization of Basic Procedures Involved in Rhythmic and Syntactic Analysis of Syllabo-Tonic Texts”
Rein Raud, Tallinn University
“Nushi aru kotoba (“words with owners”) and other modes of authorial presence in waka poetry”
Geoffrey Russom, Brown University
"A comparative study of alliteration in early Irish and English meters."
Mari Sarv, Estonian Literary Museum
“The possible foreign influences of the metrics of the Estonian regisong: language or culture”
Vadim Semenov, University of Tartu
(Title will be specified)
Nicola Scaldaferri, University of Milano
“Rhythmical Analysis of the Arbëresh Oral Poems: Some Consequences on the Study of Arbëresh and Albanian Versification”
"Verse and prose from the linguistic aspect”
Yasuko Suzuki, Kansai Gaidai University
“Metrical structure as a reflection of linguistic structure: A comparative study of Germanic alliterative poetry and Japanese tanka”
Aile Tooming, Tallinn University
“Between hope and desperation: semantics of verse in Uku Masing’s poetry”
Grigori Utgof, Tallinn University
“Skol’ko Stoiat v Londone Galoshi”: Quasi-trochees in Nabokov’s Prose”
Stefano Versace, University of Milan, Strathclyde University
“Eugenio Montale’s Italian “Sprung Rhythm”?”
Estimated time for the speech is 30 minutes (20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion).
Participation fee: 75 EUR. The participation fee should be transferred to the account of the Estonian Semiotics Association (account number: 334409040007 at the Sampo bank, the reference info: FCM 2008, conference fee) by October 1, 2008.
Department of Cultural Theory, Tallinn University
Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu
Estonian Semiotics Association
Department of Classical Philology, University of Tartu
For any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to seeing you in Tallinn and Tartu in November 2008!
8.-9. November 2008. Tartu
Resemblances and similarities are often overlooked in research as they are considered to be
semiotic primitives. They stand behind various important phenomena in nature and culture,
such as species recognition, mimicry and camouflage, convergent evolution, figurative art,
imitative magic and theatre performances. All these examples are at the same time instances
of communication, and that raises the general question about the place of resemblance in
communication and representation. In semiotics, communicative resemblance is expressed
in Charles S. Peirce’s concepts of iconic signs and iconicity. In cultural theory, mimesis is
used in explanation of the various occasions of resemblances. In biology, homology and
analogy, and their relations describe similar phenomena.
It seems that communication by resemblance has important role in the peripheries of
semiotic systems, where symbol-based semiotic processes are not so dominant. As examples
of this, mimetic strategies in post-colonial cultures (H. K. Bhabha), language plays of
children (W. Benjamin) and onomatopoeias in nature writing and folklore can be brought
out. In representation, mimetism can also be combined in different ways with symbolic
meanings. Communication by resemblance seems to be more effective in crossing semiotic
borders between different cultures, discourses and species, as it is apparent for instance in
interspecific mimicry and many forms of communication in symbiotic relations. As
theoretical concepts, resemblance and its relatives seem to be profitable to the development
of zoo- and biosemiotics. Likeness in the form of empathy can also have crucial ethical
implications accentuating the relevance of the concept to ecosemiotics and nature
philosophy. Program and additional information ..
17-18. oktoober 2008
University of Tartu, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Semiotics
Under and Tuglas Literary Center
University of Southern Denmark, Center for Narratological Studies
University of Tampere, Department of Literature and the Arts
We invite submissions for the postgraduate workshop „Intermediality and Storytelling”. The workshop features three keynote talks from experts in the field and presentations of postgraduate students from Estonia, Denmark and Finland.
Keynote speakers: Prof. Brian McHale (Ohio State University), Assoc. Prof. Per Krogh Hansen (University of Southern Denmark), Assistant Prof. Mari Hatavara and Markku Lehtimäki (University of Tampere)
The texts of the presentations will be distributed in advance. At the seminar, participants will be invited to give a 10-15-minute introductory talk on their projects and offered an opportunity to get a feedback and comments from both their peers and specialists in the field. The workshop is intended to provide a supportive and friendly environment for postgraduate students.
Contributors are asked to send abstracts (300-350 words) by June 15, 2008 (contact: Katre Pärn email@example.com, Marina Grishakova firstname.lastname@example.org). In case the proposal will be accepted, the full paper should be sumbitted by September 1, 2008.
Relevant topics include:
› Multimedia and storytelling (comics, cartoons, online texts, books on CD, blogs, email, wikis, etc.)
› Film. Editing, sound and narrative techniques. Film genre and narrative. TV narrative.
› Literature and film. Screen-adaptation. Continuties and discontinuties between literary and intermedial stories. Narrativity in painting, graphic art and photography.
› Performance, embodiment and storytelling. Museums and intermediality.
› Narrative categories and forms (author, narrator, space, time, perspective, etc.) in different media. Fiction and nonfiction in visual media. Visuality in literature.
› Philosophy of vision (Lacan, Foucault, Virilio, etc.), narrative literature and film. Cognitive science and intermediality
Marina Grishakova (head of the organizing committee), Tiit Kuuskmäe, Eneken Laanes, Katre Pärn
January 25-26, 2008, Tartu
What's wrong with nature ? is an interdisciplinary seminar investigating human perceptions of nature and environmental change.
From the contemporary perspective of global warming and rapid environmental change, it seems obvious that there is something wrong with nature, for which human activity is to blame. Tracing the origin of the ecological crisis, it appears that this very idea is at the root of the problem - since, all through the ages, we have been „improving“ and taming nature as if there was something wrong with it from the very beginning. One way or another, humans have always had a sense of an urgent need to do something about nature. Does this, perhaps, entitle us to ask whether this attitude to nature is inevitable - a part of what it means to be human?
Perception matters - as does conceptualization. The aim of the seminar is to discuss how our perception of nature is shaped by our cultural traditions, science and the media and how this very perception, in its turn, by way of our actions is shaping nature itself. What is natural in a world of global, human-induced environmental change? What qualifies as an „environmental problem”, and solution? For whom is it a problem? To what extent is it fruitful to understand the ecological crisis in analogy with a natural catastrophe? As wilderness has been cultivated - has civilization gone wild?
December 14-15, 2007
International conference dedivated to the study of nomination.
Nomination through proper names connects – as compared with the general name – with individual, unique kind of naming and separation of an object from its background. Proper name is not attached to a conception, instead it identifies and points to an object. Thus, proper name ought to be a less important, if not a-semiotic, matter for semiotics.
The study of nomination is heuristically novel and valuable, since it has, lately, been shadowed by the approach that brings to front narrative or predication in a more general sense.
Naming connects to the issue of understanding what the world consists of after all, and with the topic of spatial signification on the metalevel. Name and naming are not merely about the matter of how signification links to language and the functioning of language in the semiological gist: the topic of naming binds names with space and, through space and changes in space, also with the category of time. Therefore, naming is the very spot between the physical and the conceptual where semiotisation, or modelling, takes place with a high probability of being executed with communicative purposes.
Presenters include among others Göran Sonesson (Sweden, Lund), Vilmos Voigt (Hungary, Budapest).
(More information on homepage
November 7-10, 2007, Tartu
Three-day seminar for ssemioticians from Finland and Estonia. Presenters: prof. Peeter Torop and prof. Mihhail Lotman (Univeristy of Tartu), Prof. Harri Veivo (University of Helsinki / The Finnish Network University of Semiotics), Prof. Erkki Vainikkala (University of Jyväskylä / The Finnish Network University of Semiotics), and graduate/post-graduate students form Estonia and Finland.