Songbirds of the Primate World (October 15)

Look after other species… and hark to the insightful chant of nature as you magnify the focus of human perception.

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IO2S ⚘ Songbirds of the Primate World

October 15, 2022 / 11am (EDT), 4pm (UTC+1h)

Lecturers: Baranna Baker and Sofi Berstein

Commentators: Susan Mancino and Amelia Lewis

Chair: Tim Troutman

Meeting room: https://8×

Stream link:

Baranna Baker is an independent scholar who explores semiotics through the lenses of quantum physics and literature. She studied philosophy under the acclaimed semiotician, John Deely, at the University of St. Thomas, Houston. In her current work, she applies semiotic principles to literature, especially as concerns the acts of writing and reading fiction. She also plays with the way the quantum world affects our perceived reality and how that reality can be explained by the interplay of semiotics and quantum physics, via the action of signs. She has been published in Semiotica, Chinese Semiotic Studies, The American Journal of Semiotics, and Semiotics, the yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America. She is the associate editor of the latter two works and has in addition edited numerous papers, articles, and books relating to the field of semiotics, including proofreading John Deely’s book “On the Path of the Sign: Medieval Philosophy Redefined as the Latin Age” (read her review). She is available for freelance editing work of all kinds, with a specialty in ESL editing (English-as-a-Second-Language).
After receiving the M.Sc. degree in Primate Behavior and Ecology from Central Washington University in 2012, Sofia Bernstein pursued her doctorate in the Departments of Ecology and Social Behavior and Cognition and Learning at the PRI – Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, Japan. While at the PRI, Bernstein was also a member of the Leading Graduate Program in PWS – Primatology and Wildlife Science, a highly selective program for graduate students at Kyoto University, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. As a PWS student, Sofia received additional training in animal husbandry, genetic analyses, science communication, and field work opportunities across Japan’s most famous primatological field sites. While at the PRI, Bernstein honed her science communication skills as a host and co-producer of Kyoto University’s podcast, the PrimateCast, where researchers within the field of primatology and beyond were interviewed. Sofia’s dissertation, which was supervised by Drs. Michael Huffman and Hiroki Koda, was entitled “The Vocal Repertoire of Tibetan Macaques in Mt. Huangshan, China: A Quantitative Analysis, Congeneric Comparisons, and Species-Specific Derived Calls”. Her research was the first to investigate vocalizations in this species, and Bernstein is considered one of the world’s leading experts in Tibetan macaque vocal communication. She completed her degree early in August 2016 to prepare for a position as a lecturer, and began teaching at Central Washington University as part of a dual appointment in the departments of Biological Sciences and Anthropology and Museum Studies. Bernstein has taught a wide array of courses including biostatistics, introductory courses in biology and anthropology, research methods and research design for anthropology students, and primatology specific courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. In 2017 Sofia was awarded a special appointment position that enabled her to supervise graduate students.

To date, Sofia Bernstein has studied a diverse number of primate taxa, from small-bodied apes, to New and Old World monkeys. Bernstein’s field work has taken her to field sites with wild and semi-wild primates in South America and Asia, and captive care facilities throughout the United States, Japan, and Ecuador, though she mostly focus on Asian primates. Sofia’s main research interests include the evolution of acoustic signals, vocal diversity, and communicative complexity, by focusing on our closest living relatives from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective. Investigating the evolutionary mechanisms that underpin variation in primate communication can aid in our understanding of one of the most complex puzzles in science, the origin and evolution of communication in our own species. Bernstein’s work integrates bioacoustics, behavioral ecology, and cognitive ethology, and she mostly focus on the Macaca genus. She is particularly interested in the comparison of macaque vocal repertoires by employing the same analytical techniques to shed light on the contrasting selection pressures generating variability in the genus. Sofia participates in an ongoing collaboration with Anhui University and Central Washington University at the Valley of the Wild Monkeys, China, where longitudinal data is being collected on a free-ranging troop of Tibetan macaques. Sofia Bernstein is also a participant of an ongoing collaboration with the EPRC – Endangered Primate Research Center of Vietnam, where acoustic monitoring methods are being implemented to track rehabilitated primates pre- and post-release and infer animal welfare.

Amelia holds a BSc (Hons) in zoology from The University of Sheffield, a master’s degree in clinical animal behaviour from the University of Lincoln, and a master’s degree in animal behaviour and welfare from The Queen’s University of Belfast (with distinction). Her research interests are in cognitive ethology and zoosemiotics, specifically animal social behaviour, communication and sensory perception. Amelia has a particular interest in domestic companion animal behaviour and human-animal interaction, and takes a biosemiotic perspective. Her publications include articles on sensory perception and communication, animal group behaviour and human-animal interaction. She has also presented at international academic conferences, including Gatherings in Biosemiotics and NASS Vilnius 2021. Previously, she has held a post as Intern Associate Editor for the journal Biosemiotics, and is a member of the Royal Society of Biology, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies, and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Susan Mancino is Assistant Professor at Saint Mary’s College, United States. Dr. Mancino received both her MA and PhD from Duquesne University. Her areas of expertise are Philosophy of Communication, Communication Ethics, and Semiotics. Apart from having published under premium labels such as Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies, Communication Research Trends, and the International Journal of Listening, she is a co-editor of An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics: Goods in Contention (Peter Lang 2018) and Communication and Learning in an Age of Digital Transformation (Routledge 2020).


This event is part of the 2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing, cooperatively organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies, the International Center for Semiotics and Intercultural Dialogue, Moscow State Academic University for the Humanities and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

The official graphic designer of the IO2S DEELY is Zahra Soltani Tehrani.

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