An edited volume exploring the role of technology in the intersecting lives of humans and animals. Published with University of Pittsburgh Press in October 2024.

Edited by Finn Arne Jørgensen and Dolly Jørgensen Coming October 2024. University of Pittsburgh Press. Book website. Human and animal lives intersect, whether through direct physical contact or by inhabiting the same space at a different time. Environmental humanities scholars have begun investigating these relationships through the emerging field of multispecies studies, building on decades of work in animal history, feminist studies, and Indigenous epistemologies. Contributors to this volume consider the entangled human-animal relationships of a complex multispecies world, where domesticated animals, wild animals, and people cross paths, creating hybrid naturecultures. Technology, they argue, structures how animals and humans share spaces. From clothing to cars to computers, technology acts as a mediator and connector of lives across time and space. It facilitates ways of looking at, measuring, moving, and killing, as well as controlling, containing, conserving, and cooperating with animals. Sharing Spaces challenges us to analyze how technology shapes human relationships with the nonhuman world, exploring nonhuman animals as kin, companions, food, transgressors, entertainment, and tools.

Project funded by CHANSE, Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe, 2022-2025.

It can readily be observed simply by looking around or listening attentively in any natural setting, that people’s engagements with their surroundings are different from a decade ago. Today, in the mountains, by the seaside, and in the forests, it is hard to find anyone who is not tapping on their smartphones, flying drones, using wearable cameras, or other gadgets to digitally “capture”, and augment, their experiences of the environment. The objective of DigiFREN is to study this transformative moment of environmental perceptions in Europe. The historically and ethnographically grounded research will elucidate digital aestheticization in/of fragile environments, namely, how is digital media and technology implicated in reframing environmental perceptions, affections, conceptions, and practices. Five places in Slovenia, Croatia, Finland, Norway and Poland, strongly impacted, or seen to be threated, by human activity, have been carefully selected to reflect the cultural and ecological diversity of Europe. Although particularly important in the era of “overheating” (Eriksen 2016), digital aestheticization of fragile environments remains ethnographically relatively understudied. In the humanities, it was debated primarily in art theory, (new) media studies, and philosophy. Furthering these debates, DigiFREN will approach digital aestheticization as it unfolds in everyday life. DigiFREN is the first ethnographic project to undertake a large-scale, comparative study of the topic in a digitalizing Europe. It expands established methodological strategies and introduces the experimental method of senso-digital walking. DigiFREN is uniquely designed to study the shifting and increasingly important relationships between the changing categories of the human, environmental, and technological. Thus, it will produce important results relevant to not only anthropology, history, cultural and sensory studies, but also to human geography, environmental aesthetics and media studies. DigiFREN will produce new understandings of digital aestheticization in/of fragile environments in five European countries. The historically and ethnographically grounded research will elucidate how digital media and technology contributes to reframing and transforming environmental perceptions, sensibilities, and practices. DigiFREN will approach digital aestheticization in/of fragile environments…

A volume collecting and documenting the contents of our co-edited blog Ant Spider Bee, whose mission was to engage academics and practitioners in exploration, discussion, and reflection on digital practices, methodologies, and applications in environmental humanities work.

Ant Spider Bee: Chronicling Digital Transformations in Environmental HumanitiesEdited by Kimberly Coulter, Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, and Finn Arne Jørgensenspider & cloudAugust 2021ISBN: 978-3-95925-190-7 Inspired by Francis Bacon’s ant, spider, and bee as models of collecting, processing, and transforming knowledge, Kimberly Coulter, Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, and Finn Arne Jørgensen founded the blog Ant Spider Bee to reflect on ways technology was transforming the epistemologies, methods, and dissemination of environmental humanities research. As a kind of time capsule with essays and embedded media by thirty authors, as well as reflections on the project’s own digital practices, this open-access e-book presents snapshots of transformations in knowledge practices during a period of rapid change. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.—Francis Bacon, Novum Organum (1620) Available now in Open Access electronic edition.

Published at NiCHE in the series Outside Looking In, about the experiences of teaching and researching Canadian environmental history – from scholars working outside Canada.

One of my main organizational concerns over the last decade has been the institutionalization of environmental history and environmental humanities in the Nordic countries. How can we build both a discipline and a community in ways that provide not just institutional support but also long-term institutional homes to environmental history scholars? When I started the Nordic Environmental History Network (NEHN) in 2009, with generous funding from a Nordforsk network grant, NiCHE was the model for how a networked community of scholars could function – they demonstrated a level of community, professionalism, and entrepreneurship that few others could match and that we only could admire from afar.  This admiration was combined with a certain feeling of affinity between Canada and the Nordic countries, and perhaps in particular my home country Norway. At the risk of stating the obvious or verging on cliches, both are stretched-out countries with low population density and much nature, at the northern edge of a continent. Neither country can be said to be the center of the world, so we have to be concerned with connections. Both have fierce climates that change dramatically over the seasons. Both can be characterized as welfare states. We share an interest in cabins and cottages (which are one of my long-term research interests) as ways of being in nature. In short, both countries seem to be made for environmental history. And yet, the Nordic countries – until recently particularly Norway – were lagging far behind Canada in terms of environmental history. There were no professorships in the field in Norway; in fact, there were no jobs at all with an environmental history focus. Collaboration between environmental history scholars in the different Nordic countries was also rare. NEHN aimed to change that, with NiCHE as a major inspiration.  When writing this post, I went back to my original grant proposal, written when I was a postdoc in Trondheim in 2009. Here I stated:  “The…

Project funded by the Norwegian Research Council INTPART program, 2020-2023.

The Asia-Norway Environmental Storytelling Network (ANEST) brings together researchers and students from three Norwegian and six university partners in Greater China and Japan to explore environmental storytelling across a wide range of arenas and topics. Drawing upon the expertise within the humanities, this project will draw out the complexities, limitations, and possibilities of environmental storytelling. From a disciplinary perspective, ANEST is situated in the environmental humanities, which brings together history, literary criticism, philosophy, media studies, religious studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and anthropology. ANEST is directed by professor Finn Arne Jørgensen, University of Stavanger, with Hanna Musiol, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, as deputy director. The partner universities are Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU), National Chung Hsing University (NCHU), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Renmin University of China (RUC), Shanghai University (SHU), University of Agder (UiA), University of Hong Kong (HKU), and University of Stavanger (UiS). ANEST runs for three years (2020-2023) with support from the Research Council of Norway INTPART program. Visit the project website for updates and more information. Press release: UiS leder norsk-asiatisk nettverk i miljøhumaniora Image: Roof tiles in Shanghai. Photo by Finn Arne Jørgensen.

This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872557

Envirocitizen is a project that aims to research how to encourage environmental citizenship through engagement with citizen science. The project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 fund and will last for three years. The work is being coordinated by the University of Stavanger in partnership with: The Estonian Academy of SciencesCyprus Center for Environmental Research and EducationNew Europe CollegeRadboud UniversityUniversity of ExtremaduraSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences Citizen science has the potential to do more than create good science; it can create engaged citizens. Birding activities, in particular bird counting and bird ringing, have some of the longest citizen science traditions in the world. They hold great potential for developing environmental citizenship which encompasses the rights and responsibilities that individuals and collective society have toward nature. We aim to change the context in which existing collection happens in order to build more aware environmental citizens. For more information, visit our project website. While many projects have stressed the scientific quality of citizen science activities, there has been less inquiry into the ‘citizen’ part of the phrase ‘citizen science’. EnviroCitizen proposes that the social capacity potential of citizen science extends to the very roots of what it means to be a citizen of the planet. We want to understand the ways in which citizen science involvement has been and could be in the future used to cultivate environmental citizenship, which encompasses new ways of thinking and acting in all aspects of life to promote environmental sustainability. The EnviroCitizen project brings together seven partners in Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and Cyprus to uncover the processes by which citizen scientists working in environmental-based activities can strengthen their environmental citizenship. We have selected to study birding activities because they hold great potential for developing environmental citizenship. We will: assess the evolution of citizen involvement in citizen science birding activities;evaluate how citizens learn about and enact environmental citizenship through their citizen science birding…

Silver Linings: Clouds in Art and Science is a cross-disciplinary anthology that examines clouds from perspectives that intersect both art and science. Through 27 contributions, readers learn about what clouds can be, not only as water droplets and smoke, but also as dust and data, and how they have been interpreted and portrayed by artists and scientists during the last two centuries.

Silver Linings: Clouds in Art and ScienceEdited by Dolly Jørgensen and Finn Arne JørgensenMuseumsforlagetMarch 2020360 Pages, 15 x 23 cmISBN: 9788283050899 Silver Linings: Clouds in Art and Science er en tverrfaglig antologi som undersøker skyer i skjæringsfeltet kunst og vitenskap. Gjennom tjuesju bidrag får leseren kjennskap til hva skyer egentlig er, både som vanndråper, røyk, støv eller data, og hvordan de har blitt fortolket og portrettert av kunstnere og vitenskapsfolk gjennom de siste to hundre år. Utgivelsen er et resultat av et tverrfaglig samarbeid mellom Universitetet i Stavanger og Stavanger kunstmuseum for å samle samtidskunstnere og akademikere til et felles forskningsverksted. Redaktørene Dolly Jørgensen og Finn Arne Jørgensen er henholdsvis professor i historie og miljøhistorie ved Universitetet i Stavanger, og har utviklet The Greenhouse som et tverrfaglig programområde ved Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora. Cloud timelapse over Stavanger. Silver Linings: Clouds in Art and Science is a cross-disciplinary anthology that examines clouds from perspectives that intersect both art and science. Through 27 contributions, readers learn about what clouds can be, not only as water droplets and smoke, but also as dust and data, and how they have been interpreted and portrayed by artists and scientists during the last two centuries. The book is the result of a collaborative project between the University of Stavanger and Stavanger Art Museum, the aim of which was to bring together contemporary artists and academics to contemplate clouds. The editors Dolly Jørgensen and Finn Arne Jørgensen are professors of history and environmental history, respectively, at the University of Stavanger. Reviews CONTEMPORARY ART STAVANGER 04.08.20 Morgenbladet 17.07.20 Forskerforum nr 6/2020 Stavanger Aftenblad 03.06.20 Kunstavisen 26.03.20

An overview of recycling as an activity and a process, following different materials through the waste stream. Recycling, published with MIT Press in 2019. The book is part of the Essential Knowledge series.

RecyclingFinn Arne JørgensenMIT Press208 Pages, 5 x 7 in.November 2019ISBN: 9780262537827 Is there a point to recycling? Is recycling even good for the environment? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Finn Arne Jørgensen answers (drumroll, please): it depends. From a technical point of view, recycling is a series of processes—collecting, sorting, processing, manufacturing. Recycling also has a cultural component; at its core, recycling is about transformation and value, turning material waste into something useful—plastic bags into patio furniture, plastic bottles into T-shirts. Jørgensen offers an accessible and engaging overview of recycling as an activity and as a process at the intersection of the material and the ideological. Jørgensen follows a series of materials as they move back and forth between producer and consumer, continually transforming in form and value, in a never-ceasing journey toward becoming waste. He considers organic waste and cultural contamination; the history of recyclable writing surfaces from papyrus to newsprint; discarded clothing as it moves from the the Global North to the Global South; the shifting fate of glass bottles; the efficiency of aluminum recycling; the many types of plastic and the difficulties of informed consumer choice; e-waste and technological obsolescence; and industrial waste. Finally, re-asking the question posed by John Tierney in an infamous 1996 New York Times article, “is recycling garbage?” Jørgensen argues that recycling is necessary—as both symbolic action and physical activity that has a tangible effect on the real world. MIT Press website: Reviews

Funded by Norwegian Research Council FRIPRO program, 2019-2023.

We study how people have navigated in nature, and our relationship with nature over time. The human sense of place has come under pressure in the digital age. New technologies, such as GPS, have cut us off from nature. You have probably heard stories about car drivers that uncritically follow GPS directions, act against what should be their better judgment, following the voice of their GPS units into rivers, against one-way streets, along abandoned forest trails, even getting lost in the desert. When the technological world around us gets smarter and more connected, do we get dumber? As locative technologies seem to be changing what it means to be human, we are witnessing a technologically-driven moral panic quite similar to what historians of technology have argued develops around many new technologies. This project will evaluate contemporary claims about the impact of locative technologies on the human sense of place through historical research. To do so, we seek to uncover the historical relationship between the usage of locative technologies such as maps, signs, compasses, trails, guide books, or GPS and the sense of place. The project provides empirical depth to contemporary debates about spatial literacy, the human ability to read and make sense of a landscape, through a deliberately historical perspective. Using case studies from mountain trekking and car driving in the 19th and 20th centuries, the project aims to examine if there are fundamental differences between the ways in which digital and non-digital forms of locative technology influence the human sense of place. The project will develop and refine mediation, annotation, and delegation as analytical tools for understanding the role of locative technologies in the human relationship to the world. Objectives The primary objective of the project is to demonstrate how locative technologies are cultural and phenomenological bundles of relationships that can only be understood through deep empirical and historical studies. This objective will be reached through the following sub-objectives: The theoretical objective is to develop a historically…

Newspaper editorial written together with my UiS colleague Frode Skarstein.

Det er en oppsiktsvekkende artikkelserie Stavanger Aftenblad publiserte sist helg. Over hele 14 artikler bygges det opp en fortelling om de heroiske annerledestenkerene, rebellene som våger å utfordre de etablerte sannheter. Hvem skal vi tro på i klimadebatten? Bak dette tilsynelatende velmenende spørsmålet ligger en større utfordring: Hva er forskningsbasert kunnskap og hvor mye må vi vite før vi kan handle? Klimaendringer er en av vår tids store utfordringer og klimadebatten tar stor plass i media. Å forstå hvorfor og hvordan klimaet endrer seg krever uhyre kompleks kunnskap fra mange fagområder. Vi er avhengige av modeller, global datainnsamling og store organisasjoner som samordner kunnskapen i en kollektiv prosess. Vitenskapelig enighet oppnås når et stort flertall av forskerne i fagfeltet er samstemte om hva som er relativt sikker kunnskap. Dette skjer gjennom åpen debatt og den kvalitetssikringen som ligger i fagfellevurderte fagartikler. Gjennom artikkelserien i Magasinet velger Aftenbladet å utfordre dette vitenskapsidealet og selve tanken om forskningsenighet gjennom å løfte fram de alternative røstene som har stilt seg utenfor det etablerte fellesskapet. Disse besitter alternativ fagkunnskap som de mener velter hele grunntanken bak konsensusmodellen. Ingen grunn til bekymring, vi kan fortsette å pumpe opp olje og leve våre liv som om ingenting var i veien. Men er det så enkelt? Det stemmer at såkalte klimaskeptikere ikke får like stor plass i media som det store fellesskapet av forskere er. Studier viser at opp mot 97% av klimaforskere hører til den siste kategorien. Om media forsøker å balansere representasjonen av de to sidene får vi en fremstilling av klimaproblemet som sier at vi fremdeles ikke har forskning nok til å handle. Dette er en grovt feilaktig fremstilling av dagens situasjon innen klimaforskning. Globalt finnes det store, frie og grundige forskningsmiljø som har trygg kunnskap om at vi forandrer klimaet. Og så finnes det personer som velger å se bort fra denne overveldende forskningsbaserte kunnskapen, og som heller konstruerer sine egne virkeligheter. Man…