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The Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH)

NoRS-EH is an interdisciplinary initiative that aims to reinforce and strengthen the contribution of Norwegian humanities scholars to environmental research and the great global challenges that we currently face.

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Facts
Partners

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) University of Agder University of Bergen University of Oslo University of Stavanger

Contact

Chair: Dolly Jørgensen

NoRS-EH is an interdisciplinary initiative that aims to reinforce and strengthen the contribution of Norwegian humanities scholars to environmental research and the great global challenges that we currently face. Members will get the chance to participate in seminars at NoRS-Eh partner institutions at the universities of Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Agder and at NTNU. The research school's courses supplement those offered as part of PhD-programmes by the partner institutions and have a goal of ensuring that doctoral candidates throughout Norway have the opportunity to attend specialist seminars and have access to a national network in environmental humanities.

NoRS-EH offers its members a tripartite programme consisting of an overview course in environmental science, an extensive course in themes related to the environmental humanities with international participation, and development of a larger community for researchers and students in the field. PhD candidates from Norwegian universities who work with themes and research methodologies related to environmental science are welcome

to apply to these courses.

Environmental humanities (EH) is a relatively new but rapidly expanding radically transdisciplinary endeavourthat complements environmental science and public policy by focusing on the cultural, historical, artistic and ethical dimensions of environmental issues. EH broadly investigates the human-environment relationship, critically understanding our current planetary predicament as a crisis of environmental imagination which demands a pivotal paradigm shift in our values, habits, routines and representations. EH is a vital component to developing sustainable relations with our planet and its multitudinous inhabitants.

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway's national research school programme from 2019-2025.

News

Latest news from NoRS-EH and its members.

NoRS-EH member Samuel Klee, University of Oslo, has won the Everett E. Edwards Award for the best article submitted to Agricultural History by a graduate student. His article “Assembling ‘The Camp’: Agricultural Labor and the Wartime Carceral State in Chesterfield Missouri, 1937-1972” will appear in the 95.4 (Fall 2021) issue of Agricultural History. Congratulations to Samuel!

About the Research School

NoRS-EH is a collaboration between seven universities (five partner institutions and two connected universities) throughout Norway with the goal of providing world-leading doctoral education in the environmental humanities. We offer our PhD researchers a tripartite programme of courses in the theory and methodology of environmental humanities, a specialist course in and development of an academic community, and activities to support the students.

Members of NoRS-EH get the opportunity to participate in seminars at the NoRS-EH partner institutions; the Universities of Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Agder and at NTNU. The research school's courses supplement the partner institutions' own PhD programmes and have the goal of ensuring that doctoral candidates throughout Norway have access to specialised seminars and to a national network in the environmental humanities.

NoRS-EH offers its members a tripartite programme consisting of an overview course in environmental science, an extensive course in themes related to the environmental humanities with international participation, and development of a larger community for researchers and students in the field. PhD candidates from Norwegian universities who work with themes and research methodologies related to environmental science are welcome

to apply to these courses.

The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway's national research school programme from 2019-2025.

  • Dolly Jørgensen (UiS, leder)
  • Karen Lykke Syse (UiO SUM)
  • Ursula Münster (UiO OSEH)
  • Kyrre Kverndokk (UiB)
  • Julia Leyda (NTNU)
  • May-Brith Ohman Nielsen (UiA)

PhD student representatives

  • Hilde Røsstad (UiA)
  • Gitte Westergaard (UiS)

External committee members

  • Marco Armiero (KTH Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Heather Anne Swanson (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Admission

Would you like to participate? Here you can find information on how to me a member of NoRS-EH.

PhD candidates who wish to apply must fulfil the following criteria:

• be a member of a PhD programme in Norway

• be working on research related to the environmental humanities

• be willing to collaborate in an education programme for researchers and to participate in joint activities

• admission is normally applied for at the start of the PhD programme

Decide whether your project fits the research school's profile. Discuss this with your supervisor(s). Your supervisor is expected to participate in the supervisor's seminar organised by NoRS-EH. Ensure that you meet the admissions criteria.

Send an email to the research school's coordinator Dolly Jørgensen with:

1. Project description

2. Application letter (max 500 words)

The application letter should contain your expectations about the research school's content, activities and why you think your research fits in with NoRS-EH. At the same time, explain your educational background and any professional experience you have. The application letter must also state that your supervisor agrees to you applying to the research school. You should also include in the application letter:

• your name and contact information

• date of admission to the PhD programme

• name of your PhD programme

• how your project is financed

• planned date of your Viva

• name of your supervisor

• how many credits you have completed

• are you full time or part time? (Give the percentage of your time you work on your dissertation)

  • the candidates choose for themselves which courses, subjects and symposiums they wish to participate in and which specific themes and content they wish to pursue
  • candidates are expected to participate actively on the research school's digital platform
  • travel and subsistence while participating in NoRS-EH courses are covered by the research school
  • your research will be presented on the research school's web page
  • access to a large network of national and international researches in the environmental humanities
  • be a part of a community of doctoral students

We have no set application deadlines - applications are evaluated as they come in. To receive expenses for participation in NoRS-Eh courses, your application must have been approved at least one month before the course.

Courses and subjects

The research school offers several courses for doctoral candidates. Here you can find information on future and previous courses.

The Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) invites applicants to attend the Ph.d. research seminar “Situated Research - Exploring Place and Time Through the Environmental Humanities,” coordinated by Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH) in Oslo.

Call for Applications: PhD Research Seminar on "Situated Research – Exploring Place and Time Through the Environmental Humanities"

Convenors: Ursula Münster and Pierre du Plessis

When: 7 June – 10 June 2022

Where: Different Locations in and around Oslo, Norway

Organiser: Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH), University of Oslo

Cofunding: Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH), as part of the Module "Theories and Methods in Environmental Humanities"

Call for applications (pdf)

In the Anthropocene, a time of planetary environmental and climatic crisis, common understandings of place and time have become increasingly contingent. Ecologies all over the world are adjusting to new scales of disturbance, new assemblages of species, and shifting temporalities. Global climate change, for instance, affects the seasonal temporalities of plants, animals, and microbial life, threatening dangerous mismatches of timing within ecosystems. This disrupts cultural, economic and spiritual connections with environments and landscapes, with important sequences of events being disrupted or squeezed. It brings about new intensities that alter the compositions of ecological assemblages once associated with particular places, and new relations to and understandings of place emerge.

Capitalism and capitalist logics have exacerbated these transformations, not only increasing spatial homogeneity and prioritizing temporal decontextualization —as with both the industrial factory and plantation—in ways that materially shape environments. Moreover, they have also reoriented the temporal relations through which many peoples engage with place, away from a sensitivity and responsiveness to more-than-human temporalities. In this process of spatiotemporal displacement, it has become difficult to navigate between global challenges and local particularities, together with historical contingency and the immediacy of crisis that challenges liveability on the planet. These are issues that affect the ways in which we engage with our own research and research sites. As a result, it has become increasingly important for scholars to reconsider their research, by situating their thinking and ideas in relation to the sensitivities of place and time.

How can theories and methods in the environmental humanities lead to a deeper understanding of a place and time in the Anthropocene? How do we attend to situated political ecologies without losing sight of how other-beings story place, make their worlds, and shape people’s lives? How can scholars from a diversity of disciplines collectively cultivate their “arts of noticing” (Tsing) the timescapes of the places they live in and/or research? What do we gain from re-conceptualising time as relational, multiple, and multispecies? And how might place emerge as more than an exclusively human category through an attention to multispecies temporalities?

Our Researcher School, hosted by the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Oslo, will explore connections between place and time through diverse perspectives gathered by the environmental humanities. Facilitated by a group of scholars with a range of disciplinary backgrounds, we will focus on emplaced learning, research and teaching-methods through which we will engage with the situatedness of our research activities - be it the manifold, affective, bodily and multi-sensory ways of knowing involved or the act of writing itself.

Together, we will investigate how place-based learning techniques may help us engage with notions of space and time differently from, for instance, purely discourse-oriented types of analysis. What does a place-based approach to research reveal about how knowledge is constituted? How can we be more attentive to how nonhuman life forms make their worlds through different rhythms, co-ordinations and temporalities? How may we rethink connections between ‘data-collection’, ‘analysis’ and the act of ‘writing up’ our findings (conventionally portrayed as a linear process leading to research ‘outputs’)? And how may we encounter, conceptualise and engage with place, time, and temporality differently outside the ‘classroom’ by actively engaging in tasks and activities in the open?

The school will take place at various locations in Oslo, both indoors and outdoors, such as the Botanical Garden, the Oslo Fjord or the Akerselva River. Our aim is to generate situated experiences and discussions that will support participants’ evolving research projects. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas about their engagement with concepts of place and time in their own research, through a combination of place-based activities and writing exercises. They will also be expected to read preparatory texts in advance of the school which will inform the place-based activities and communal discussion during the workshop.

The Researcher School has different parts and combines workshop elements with public events:

7 June

Public evening event, “Reclaiming Sustainability: A Conversation about Education and Common Environmental Futures” at Kulturhuset, Oslo. Keynote by Tim Ingold (Anthropology, University of Aberdeen) on on “Reason and Response-Ability”, followed by a podium discussion with Mette Halskov Hansen (China Studies and Co-rector of UiO), Britt Kramvig (Tourism and Northern studies, The Arctic University of Norway) Felix Riede (Archaeology, Aarhus University), and Heather Swanson (Anthropology, Aarhus University), moderated by Sara Asu Schroer (University of Oslo).

8-9 June

Place-based teaching and writing exercises in different parts of Oslo, such as the Botanical Garden, the Oslo Fjord or the Akerselva River. Modules will be led by an exciting group of scholars including: Michelle Bastian (University of Edinburgh/OSEH), Paolo Gruppuso (University of Aberdeen), Felix Riede (Aarhus University/OSEH), and Per Ditlef Fredriksen (University of Oslo/OSEH).

10 June

OSEH Environmental Humanities Festival with keynote by Jamie Lorimer (University of Oxford) on: “The Probiotic Turn and the Green Rebranding of Cattle in the Anthropocene”, followed by presentations of the OSEH Collaboratories, as well as an Eco-Slam by students in the Honours Certificate in Environmental Humanities and Sciences (EHS).

Application

Places at the Researcher School are limited to 15 participants. In case you are interested in participating, please send a short CV (max. 2-pages) as well as an abstract (max. 800 words) in which you outline your current research project, how it relates to the topic of the Researcher School, and your motivation for attending. The deadline for submissions is 20 March 2022. We will get back with a decision by 1 April 2022.

Who can apply

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program to join this course. You can attend at any stage of your project. Early-stage postdoctoral researchers and final stage master students may be accepted. All are welcome to apply, though first priority is given to applicants who are NoRS-EH members; membership is open to current PhD students based in Norwegian universities working with environmental humanities-related topics and methods. There is no fee to attend the course. However, participants are responsible for paying their own travel and lodging, except NoRS-EH members, who will have their travel and accommodation costs covered by the Researcher School.

Application details

Please submit via email a single PDF document that includes the following:

  • your name
  • your department or program and your university
  • title and expected completion date of doctoral project
  • a 800-word(max) description of your doctoral project and motivation for attending
  • a 2-page(max) CV
  • contact information with email address
  • Submit your application by 20 March 2022, to Carina Bjerk Tørud: c.b.torud@ikos.uio.no

Facts about the course

  • Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Registration deadline for accepted participants: 15 April 2022
  • Evaluation: Pass/Fail based on active and full attendance, a brief presentation during the workshop, and a piece of work to be sent within 10 days from the end of the course, which reflects over questions and themes raised during the PhD school. This can be a paper of max 1500 words (ref included), or a creative composition of text + images (photos, drawings, etc).

The Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) invites applicants to attend a week-long PhD course entitled “Environmental Storytelling and Narrative,” coordinated by Environmental Humanities Research Group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

Instructors

Ingvil Førland Hellstrand (University of Stavanger), Cajetan Iheka (Yale University), Julia Leyda (NTNU), Hanna Musiol (NTNU), Hugo Reinert (University of Oslo), Nicole Seymour (California State University, Fullerton), and others to be confirmed.

This course explores the centrality of storytelling and diverse narrative practices in the environmental humanities, not only as tools of communication that promote understanding of complex environmental processes and capture ecological imagination, but also as catalysts to emotion and pathways to civic engagement. Students will examine how several fields within EH theorize and engage with narration, both broadly across the international field as well as more locally in the Nordic region, including collaborations with cultural institutions in Trondheim.

During five full days of seminars and workshops, students will master practical and collaborative project work facilitated by experts in the field. Streams will include attention to theories and methods appropriate to the study of postcolonialism, music and sound studies, and literary and media studies in connection to environmental storytelling and narrative. The reading list for the course will include approximately 300 pages plus selected other media, made available two months in advance (by late February).

In addition, this course will include a practical component and a special focus on public dissemination and cooperation with community partners. Students will develop two short outward-facing public engagement productions (podcast and video), which must be submitted for credit. However, students may choose whether to make their productions publicly accessible.

NOTE: The course is currently planned to happen in person, pending the status of the pandemic. However, we will conduct the course online if necessary. If the course is online, all participants will work on the course synchronously. We will make a final decision whether to go fully online or fully in-person no later than three weeks before the course starts.

Who can apply:

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program to join this course. You can attend either at the beginning of your research or at a later stage of your project. Other candidates such as early-stage postdoctoral researchers and final stage master students may be accepted. First priority is given to applicants who are NoRS-EH members; membership is open to current PhD students based in Norwegian universities working with environmental humanities-related topics and methods (see https://www.uis.no/en/node/1760 for details about the membership process). There is no fee to attend the course. However, students are responsible for paying their own travel and lodging, except NoRS-EH members, who will have their travel and accommodation costs covered by the researcher school.

Application details:

Please submit via email a single PDF document that includes the following:

  • your name
  • your department or program and your university
  • title and expected completion date of doctoral project
  • a 200-word description of your doctoral project
  • contact information with email address

Submit your application by January 7, 2022, to Professor Julia Leyda (please include course code in the email subject line EH8000).

Facts about the course:

  • NTNU Course code: EH8000 Topics in Environmental Humanities
  • Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Registration deadline for accepted participants: February 1
  • Evaluation: Pass/Fail based on full attendance, a brief presentation during the class, and two short public engagement productions

The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) invites applicants to attend a PhD course entitled “Working with primary sources in environmental humanities. Fieldwork and labwork approaches in an environmental literacy perspective.” Universitetet i Agder is organizing this course in cooperation with the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH).

The course will take place in person in Kristiansand from 13th - 16th September.

The objective of this course is to give the candidates hands-on experience with a variety of primary sources in environmental humanities that may expand their environmental literacy and enrich their concept of sources and their approach to source-work in their PhD-thesis or as an environmental humanities scholar.

The course will be half outdoor fieldwork in exposed coastal environments and in urban family gardens, and half labwork in indoor group settings.

The participants will need to bring sufficient wind and weather-proof personal out-door equipment suited for the locations and season, as well as a 20 minutes presentation of their own source work with samples of their main source types.

For this course the participants must be able to and comfortable with moving around outside, to use their body in physical source work and adapt to the environmental conditions.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the PhD-candidates will have

Knowledge

Advanced understanding of the concept of primary sources and hands on experience with variety of primary sources in environmental humanities

Advanced understanding of the concept of environmental literacy and also the ability to work with and reflect on the development of environmental literacy in their own source work and professional development.

Advanced understanding of the concept and impact of time and space in interpretation of sources and in development of environmental literacy. 

Skills

Acquired the ability to do discuss and analyse the different types of primary source material dealt with in the course and be better prepared to consider and expand the use of source material in their own research and professional work.

Discuss the impact of time and space in the work with and interpretation of primary sources.

Be able to reflect on their own professional development as researchers in environmental literacy terms and in particular in relation to their work with primary sources.

Carry out an advanced discussion of the specific source work in their thesis and of their own particular environmental literacy as a prerequisite for this work.

General competence 

Be able to identify and discuss the value of different aspects of environmental literacies within and beyond environmental humanities and reflect upon how these insights may be transformed into outreach or dissemination strategies.

Who can apply:

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program to join this course and must be members of NoRS-EH.

Participants need to have prepared a 20 minutes presentation of their own source work with samples of their main source types.

For enquiries, please contact May-Brith Ohman Nielsen.

Applications must be made on the UiA web page for the course by clicking the påmelding button at the bottom of the page. The application deadline is 15th August.

Funding:

The course is held as part of the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH), whose members will receive funding for travel and accommodation. Norway-based students are encouraged to first enroll as members of the School in order to receive funding. See here for more information and application details: https://www.uis.no/forskning-og-ph-d/ph-d-utdanning/forskerskolen-nors-eh/.

 PhD students in Norway or other countries may also apply, provided they can fund their own travel and accommodation.

Application details:

Interested students should apply on the UiA web page for the course by clicking the påmelding button at the bottom of the page. The application deadline is 15th August.

Preparation:

Participants need to have prepared a 20 minute presentation of their own source work with samples of their main source types.

The participants will need to bring sufficient wind and weather proof personal out-door equipment suited for the locations and season. Participants must be able to and comfortable with moving around outside, to use their body in physical source work and adapt to the weather and environmental conditions. Participants must bring camera and laptop computer.

Course materials will be provided before the course start at the online learning platform. Some publications on the reading list may be acquired through libraries or bookshops.

Syllabus and programme

35 hours of participation in lectures, workshops, seminars, field excursions, and group activity assignments during the 4 days of the course. Self-studies of 600 pages syllabus. One prepared 20 minute presentation during the course.

Participants must participate in all four days of the course. They must complete assignments throughout the course and a prepared 20 minute presentation of their own primary source work. A final assignment / exam paper of 3500 words must be completed, discussing the participants' own source work and how they develop their environmental literacy in relation to the source work in their PhD project.  The paper should also be based on the course content and curricula.

To qualify for credits the exam paper of 3500 words must be handed in before 20th November. The grading will be passed / not passed.

A full, detailed programme may be viewed on the UiA web page for the course.

Credits:

  • Credits: The course will give 5 CTS for participants who have completed the 3500 word paper and handed it in no later than 8 weeks after the course and passed the grading as accepted. The deadline for the final paper will be 20th November.

This course was organised by The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) in cooperation with the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) and the Norwegian Political Ecology Network (POLLEN-Norway).

The objective of this interdisciplinary PhD course was to critically approach the relationship between food production and food consumption and pandemics in an environmental perspective. This involved addressing issues like the links between global food and fodder production and the transformation of rural areas.

In this course, students focused on how ecosystems and small-scale food production have changed to industrial and hyper-industrial scales; explore the aspirations of consumers in the West and in countries with emerging economies; address the ongoing changes in the global organization of labor, and focus on its environmental impacts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made governments, health organizations and citizens in general painfully aware of the entanglement of changing patterns of food production and consumption and lethal pathogens. Problematizing evolving ideas regarding the relationship between food and pandemics, both communicable and non-communicable, can open new ways to understand global capitalism and its effects. Accordingly, pandemics are a highly relevant starting point to study the global political and economic systems related to the food industry. As food production, and particularly meat production, turns ever-more global, new relationships between humans, animals and, increasingly, pathogens evolve. The social, economic and environmental impact is high, and future sustainability depends on how these relationships are managed.

Against this backdrop the course addressed questions such as:

  • What are the relations between the global food system and pandemics?
  • How can perspectives from political ecology and environmental humanities contribute to new ways of thinking about non-humans in the relationship between food production and pandemic entanglements?
  • How have local and national environmental histories shaped and been shaped by industrial systems for food production (and meat in particular), and what are the consequences for animal and human health, welfare and wellbeing at large?
  • How are food production systems organized in terms of labor and how do workers in industrial food production cope with pandemic outbreaks and their aftermaths?

The Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) organised a week-long PhD course entitled “Environmental Storytelling and Narrative,” held by Environmental Humanities Research Group, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

This course explored the centrality of storytelling and diverse narrative practices in the environmental humanities, not only as tools of communication that promote understanding of complex environmental processes and capture ecological imagination, but also as catalysts to emotion and pathways to civic engagement. Students examined how several central areas of inquiry within EH research theorize and engage with narration, both broadly across the international field as well as more locally in the Nordic region (including collaborations with the cultural institutions in Trondheim).

During five days of seminars and workshops, students mastered practical and collaborative project work facilitated by experts in the field. Streams included attention to theories and methods appropriate to the study of postcolonialism, popular culture, music and sound studies, and intermediality in connection to environmental storytelling and narrative. In addition, this course included a practical hands-on component and a special focus on public dissemination and cooperation with community partners. Students developed an outward-facing public engagement output as their final project.

Organised by The Greenhouse, University of Stavanger and the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH).

Where do the digital and nature meet?

Rather than consider these as opposing realms, this course sought to bring them together. How can students and scholars in the environmental humanities engage with digital natures? How can we embrace and use digital media to explore and present environment-specific research? Graduate training in environmental humanities has only to a small degree engaged with the many challenges of digital media to the field. This PhD course aimed to enable its participants to meet this challenge through a week-long exploration of key themes, methods, tools, and discussions in the emerging field of digital environmental humanities.

During five intense days, students combined practical and collaborative project work with workshops taught by experts in the field to explore the place of the digital in the environmental humanities. The participants produced a collective public-facing project that explored the course theme, and each wrote an individual 3000-word essay that reflected on the process of producing the public-facing project.

This course was organised by the University of Bergen.

This course was held digitally because of the corona situation. It discussed climate change from several perspectives within environmental humanities. These included narrative and linguistic approaches, where narratives and concepts are heuristic tools which help to make sense of reality, of the environment, and of the past, the present and the future. As such, narratives and concepts play an important role in structuring how people reason and talk about climate change, and in guiding decision making and action – or non-action. Temporality and long-term perspectives were another focus, including discussions on historicity and futurity, as well as historical and archaeological studies. The discussion here was of how multiple temporalities are entwined in various discourses on climate change. The course also addressed how measuring and calculation of global climate change depends on advanced computing and huge amounts of global scale data. Thus, a major challenge in communicating the severity of climate change to a larger audience is that it is not directly observable. The course discussed the challenges concerning exhibiting climate change given this problem in communicating it.

This course was organised by the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities.

In the Anthropocene, it becomes increasingly clear that environmental issues cannot be understood from the perspective of a single discipline. This research-oriented course was aimed at graduates from the humanities and social sciences who work on environmental topics and wished to expand their repertoire of theories, research skills, and creative methods. The course put special emphasis on creative and unconventional research methods and modes of representations, such as the use of film, photography, sound recordings, art installations, or exhibitions. It served as an introduction to theories and research methods in the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities.

Publications

This section lists publications by NoRS-EH members.

NoRSH-EH member Laura Op de Beke, University of Oslo, has published “Pastoral Videogames: Industry, Entropy, Elegy,” Ecocene: Cappadocia Journal of Environmental Humanities2(2), (2021): 177–191. https://doi.org/10.46863/ecocene.51

Pastoral videogames are popular and numerous. While existing scholarship on pastoral videogames tends to emphasise their complicity in the misrepresentation of agricultural labour and ecological processes, this article explores a range of more ambiguous, critical pastoralisms in videogames, including the counter-pastoral, the complex pastoral and pastoral elegy. In particular, this article is interested in analysing the progressivist temporal paradigm prevalent in the genre, a paradigm that incorporates an industrious, capitalist ethos glorifying work, expansion, and wealth accumulation. Through brief analyses of the videogames Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, The Stillness of the Wind and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, this paper thus concludes that the most critically interesting engagement with the pastoral genre in videogames rests in pastoral elegy, especially the dark ecological kind elaborated by Timothy Morton, which overturns the progressivist paradigm by dwelling melancholically in decline, death, and dissolution.

NoRSH-EH members Gitte Westergaard and Dolly Jørgensen, University of Stavanger, have published “Making Specimens Sacred: Putting the Bodies of Solitario Jorge and Cụ Rùa on Display,” in Animal Remains, ed. by Sarah Bezan and Robert McKay (2021): 68-86.

In this chapter, we show that animal remains of extinct species can be ascribed a sacred character. Using the notion of “sacred” as “set apart” per Émile Durkheim, we argue that the conjunction of preparation, placement, and cultural value of particular extinct specimens can make them into sacred objects. We examine the sacredness of two specimens on display: the last Pinta giant tortoise, Solitario Jorge, who died in 2012 and is now displayed at the Research Station at Santa Cruz Island as a Galápagos conservation icon; and the last giant Hoàn Kiếm softshell turtle, Cụ Rùa, similarly put on display after his death in 2016 at the Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. Drawing upon three bodies of literature—religious studies, museum studies, and extinction studies—we explain how these two animal bodies have taken on sacred characteristics. Whereas extinction studies is often concerned with what is absent, this article demonstrates that by maintaining extinct animals in a liminal condition—on the threshold—neither alive nor dead, the bodily remains of the last specimens obtain a sacred status and stand in for the complete loss of a species.

NoRSH-EH member Laura Op de Beke, University of Oslo, has published “Premediating climate change in videogames: Repetition, mastery, and failure,” Nordic Journal of Media Studies 3, no. 1 (2021): 184-199.

This article starts with the observation that growth-oriented, techno-futurist narratives are predominant in climate change videogames. It then accounts for the lack of variety by arguing that these videogames are privileged expressions of premediation. Premediation cultivates a multiplicity of future scenarios, while at the same time delimiting them to suit presentist concerns, evoking a sense of inevitability and predictability strengthened by repetition. The iterative, branching temporality at work in this logic is deeply ingrained in videogames, as the trope of mastery through repetition and its analysis requires attentive-ness to the affective dimensions of gameplay. If videogames are to engage with the climate crisis more productively, they must develop different temporalities in which the potentiality of the future is preserved. In this article, Op de Beke analyses the games Fate of the World and The Stillness of the Wind to demonstrate how videogames premediate climate change and how they can explore other temporalities latent in the present.

Marius Palz has published the article “A Sea Cow Goes to Court: Extinction and Animal Agency in a Struggle Against Militarism,” Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 8, no. 1-2 (2020). The article is available online at https://www.ledonline.it/index.php/Relations/article/view/2467/1419. His draft article was discussed as a work-in-progress in the NoRS-EH monthly meeting back in May 2020, so it is great to see it published now.

In this article, Palz examines a conflict in Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa, over the construction of a new military base for the United States Marine Corps within potential feeding grounds of the critically endangered Okinawa dugong. Because of its critical status close to regional extinction, the dugong was declared a Natural Monument of Japan in 1972, arguably putting it under protection of the United States National Historic Preservation Act in context of the base construction. Based on this assumption, and the dugong’s cultural significance for the people of Okinawa, the issue was brought to an American court, a rare case where an animal plays a central role in a lawsuit dealing with cultural property. Based on Eduardo Kohn’s anthropology beyond the human and his thoughts on life as a semiotic process the article explores the entanglements between dugongs and people. Palz argue sthat in this process dugongs play an active role. Through their interpretation of the generated indexical signs at the construction site and their resulting behaviour, these animals give humans the opportunity to convert their presence and absence into the sphere of symbolic human interaction.

Studenter

Lu Chen

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo

Matthew Dalziel

PhD researcher at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Runa Falck

PhD researcher at the University of Bergen

Malin Graesse

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo

Ingrid Hilmer

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Aster Hoving

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Berit Huntebrinker

PhD researcher at the University of Agder

Margit Ims

PhD researcher at the University of South-Eastern Norway

Samuel Klee

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo

Sofie Kjendlie Selvaag

PhD researcher at NINA Lillehammer

Endre Harvold Kvangraven

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Sebastian Lundsteen Nielsen

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Kim Kirsten Ménage

PhD researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Hedda Susanne Molland

PhD researcher at the University of Bergen

Laura Op de Beke

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo

Marius Christoph Palz

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo

Mehdi Torkaman Momeni

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Gitte Westergaard

PhD researcher at the University of Stavanger

Sonja Irene Åman

PhD researcher at the University of Oslo