Conference Discusses How Animals Use Signs
The intriguing theories that much animal communication can be viewed semiotically in signs is at the center of a University of Tartu conference from April 4 to 8 that will draw zoosemioticians from around the globe.
They will discuss not just how humans represent animals in words and pictures but areas such as animal ethology and sign-mediated communication.
The speakers include one of the world's leading biosemioticians, Jesper Hoffmeyer, and a pioneer of cognitive ethology, Colin Allen. Zoosemiotics is a branch of biosemiotics that studies the world of animals and communication using semiotics.
The conference will discuss the future of the field, zoos as semiotic environments, ecocritical perspectives on animals as well as philosophical questions pertaining to animals, along with the role of animals in different cultures.
Timo Maran, a senior researcher in semiotics at the University of Tartu, says the zoozemioticians have a special tie-in with Tartu because the university's semiotics department has a library named after one of the discipline's founders, Thomas A. Sebeok. There are also more substantive links, he said.
"Zoosemiotics is a promising field for studying the relationships between people and other animals, along with describing hybrid phenomena and environments where it is not possible to distinguish cultural and biological impetus,“ said Maran.
The conference will also feature musician and birdsong researcher David Rothenberg from the US.
Additional information: Mr Timo Maran, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Semiotics, phone +372 737 6193, e-mail timo.maran [ät] ut.ee
UT Press Officer
+372 737 5683, +372 515 0184
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