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Human-Animal Studies: Courses in Geography

Geography Overview

This is a list of colleges and universities around the world who provide courses for Geography in relation to the human-animal relationship.  This includes the name of the college, the name of the course, who is teaching the course, and brief description of the Geography course that the instructor will be covering.

 

Clark University

Feminism, Nature and Culture

Jody Emel

The purpose of this course is to expose students to major currents of contemporary social theory that have developed around “nature” and “woman” or nature and gender. We will explore a number of important contemporary topics including: biotechnology and “life,” food and identity, the body/science/fashion, human and nonhuman animal relations, and the manner in which conceptualizations of nature and of women (or gender roles) mutually constitute and reinforce one another. Our principal goals are to analyze and critique the normative idea of what is “nature” or what is “natural” as it pertains to gender, environmental processes, other life forms, and human social and economic existence in general. Because feminists have been instrumental in leading much of this analysis and critique, we lean heavily on feminist theories. We will explore these ideas through science fiction, magical realism, cartoons, movies, other fiction, social histories and biographies. By the end of the semester, students should be adept at decoding representations of nature and gender in the popular media as well as in academic scholarship. Students should also have a reasonable understanding of the development of and debates surrounding biotechnology and gender, identity and gender, and ecofeminist thought.

 

Michigan State University

Environmental Ethics

Linda Kalof

 

University of Texas

Nature and Culture

Sharon Wilcox

The investigation of nature-culture relationships lies at the core of academic geography. This course introduces students to the study of the complex interactions and interrelationships between human society and the natural world from a geographic perspective, with an emphasis on nonhuman animals. Consideration of the more-than-human world is a rapidly emerging field, and one in which geographers play an important and meaningful role. Animals challenge and compliment our notions of identity and humanity; they share our homes; they are present on our dinner tables; and they are omnipresent in our popular culture. Animals also animate the world around us, “personifying” nature. As we examine the ways in which boundaries are constructed, enacted, practiced, and challenged between the human and the nonhuman animal, we undermine taken-for-granted dichotomies, and collapse the distances constructed between human society and the natural world. By broadening our discussion of “natures” and “cultures,” and bringing the animal alongside the human, we cross through a rich terrain of interrelationships and interactions that can expand our understandings of ourselves and our place within the world around us.

 

University of Wisconsin, Marathon County

Human Impact on the Environment

Keith Montgomery

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