Tiit Maran

Call for papers to conference  "Traces of Extinction: Species Loss, Solastalgia, and Semiotics of Recovery" 5-7 June 2024

Euroopa naarits. Foto: Tiit Maran

European mink. Photo: Tiit Maran

The sixth mass species extinction is one of the greatest ecological threats of our time. This conference focuses on cultural, subjective and semiotic approaches to extinction. A subjective approach to extinction may raise the question of how we experience extinction in the shared lifeworld or semiosphere. At the same time, artistic research seems to open fresh perspectives in combining cultural creativity with environmental decline. Extinction also reduces biocultural diversity and the resilience of ecocultures. By taking a perspective through naturecultures and cultural-ecological systems, we treat extinction as the degradation of such combined systems. 

This perspective raises questions about cultural strategies that are effective in adapting to extinction, supporting endangered species, and overcoming trauma:

  • How is extinction perceived subjectively, both from the point of view of the dying species and the humans who witness it?
  • What cultural strategies can be used to raise awareness of extinction?
  • What means do individuals and communities have for reducing and avoiding species extinction? 

Interested parties are welcome to submit their abstracts of max. 300 words by 1 December 2023 to conference secretary Andrew M. Creighton ( Notification of acceptance will be given by 31 December 2023. 

Call for papers

Keynote speakers

David B. Rothenberg (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA)

Linda Knight (RMIT University, Australia)

Natalie Loveless (University of Alberta, Canada)

Conference website

The conference is organised by the Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu in cooperation with Cost Action “CA20134 - Traces as Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice (TRACTS) and Nordic-Baltic Transdisciplinary Research-Creation Network.

The conference is funded by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PRG1504 “Meanings of endangered species in culture: ecology, semiotic modelling and reception.” Conference is part of the Creative Nature Festival programme organized by University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden and partners. The festival belongs to the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme and is supported by SA Tartu 2024.

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