The Semiotics of Animal Representations


The ways in which we represent animals say much about who we are, who we strive to be, and our often conflicting ideas about our relationships with nonhuman species. Whether the animal is seen as someone with whom we can relate and feel kinship or conceived of as the radical other, popular cultural descriptions of animals are often – if not always – indirect descriptions of ourselves.
The contributions to this volume offer a unique panorama of academic and literary approaches, demonstrating that an analysis of cultural representations and constructions of animals is indispensable for a better understanding of the interface of human culture and the so-called animal world.

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Kadri Tüür is research fellow at the Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu. Tüür has edited collections and published articles on Estonian nature writing and ecosemiotics.
Morten Tønnessen is associate professor in philosophy at Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger. His PhD (2011) developed Uexküllian phenomenology and included analysis of Norwegian wolf management. Tønnessen is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics and Chair of Minding Animals Norway.
Morten Tønnessen and Kadri Tüür: The semiotics of animal representations
Part I: From Shepherding To Colonisation
Louise Westling: The zoosemiotics of sheep herding with dogs
David Rothenberg: Avian aesthetics: The representation of bird song from music to science
Christos Lynteris: Speaking marmots, deaf hunters: Animal–human semiotic breakdown as the imagined cause of the Manchurian pneumonic plague of 1910–11
Part II: From Illustration To Show
Adam Dodd: Entomological rhetoric and the fabrication of the insect world
Larissa Budde: “Back on the menu”: Humans, insectoid aliens and the creation of ecophobia in science fiction
Graham Huggan: Attenborough’s natural history films: The evolutionary epic
Part III: From Life Writing To Nature Writing
Taija Kaarlenkaski: Communicating with the cow: Human–animal interaction in written narratives
Maki Eguchi: The representation of sheep in modern Japanese literature from Natsume Sōseki to Murakami Haruki
Sandra Mänty: Animal representation in the Harry Potter series
Kadri Tüür: Like a fish out of water: Literary representations of fish
Part IV: From Mind To Value
Wendy Wheeler: Thought without concepts in Angels and Insects : A.S. Byatt as crypto-biosemiotician
W. John Coletta: A Peircean semiotic model for describing the anti-Oedipal structure of “humanimal” selves
Ralph R. Acampora: The (proto-)ethical significance of semiosis: When and how does one become somebody who matters?
List of contributors