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Conference: "Framing Nature"

Signs, Stories, and Ecologies of Meaning

29.04.2014 – 03.05.2014

This conference is supported by the Rachel Carson Center.

Venue: Tartu University Library, Struve St. 1, Tartu, Estonia

“No meaning without a frame”—thus one might boil down the insights yielded by a century of research in the humanities. To interpret something as meaningful is to put it into a context, into a frame of reference within which it can begin to make sense. This holds not only for human signification, but also for the processes of signification that occur in the natural world, as they have been studied by biosemiotics. In a double take on its title, this conference inquires into the multiple, complex ways in which humans frame nature and are in turn framed by it. It seeks to explore the figure of the frame as an ecological concept which draws attention to the way in which meanings are embedded in and sustained by environments that are at once material and semiotic. At the same time, it invites a closer examination of the strategies of framing and contextualization that are constitutive of ecocritical research, as well as a comparison of ecocritical methodologies with those of neighbouring disciplines in the environmental humanities.


- agency, signs and stories in living and non-living nature
- local natural histories, local knowledge, and nature representations
- mapping, modelling and/or storytelling as ways of framing of nature
- ecotranslatology: translating nature and nature writing
- scale effects: temporal and spatial frames in nature and nature representations
- cultural ecology and ecosemiotics: how do cultural and natural sign systems interact?
- comparative methodology: how do different disciplines within the environmental humanities frame their objects of study?
- the framing of environmental cognition and conduct in science and policy discourses
- the role of the mass media in shaping environmental consciousness

For more information go to the conference website.

Read about the RCC-sponsored panels in the conference report.


To submit a proposal, interested scholars should send an abstract (up to 500 words) by e-mail to the address: framing_nature@semiootika.ee. The deadline for the abstracts is October 1, 2013. For more information please download the full call for papers.