Interdisciplinary Departments Overview
This is a list of colleges and universities around the world who provide courses for Interdisciplinary Departments 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 animal science course that the instructor will be covering.
Animals and Human Society
This class will introduce students to the history and philosophy of animal rights and welfare. The 19th century and 20th century humane movements coincided with other historical social rights movements, such as temperance, abolition, suffrage, and civil rights. Studying the rights of animals allows for a reading of Western culture that considers gender, class, ethnicity, the role of scientific authority, and an exploration of the species boundary.
Introduction to Anthrozoology
An engagement with the fundamental issues of the field of Anthrozoology by evaluating the history of human/nonhuman interactions, the categories into which human have sorted animals, and a variety of science-based and value-based approaches to humans’ inevitable intersection with other living beings.
Analysis of different approaches to ethics as this key human ability has been discussed in different domains and throughout history as applying to human-animal issues.
Animals, Public Policy, and the Law
An exploration of both American and other national approaches to public policy and law as factors impacting modern societies’ views and treatment of nonhuman animals. Particular emphasis is given to issues involving companion animals, wildlife, research animals, and food animals.
Research Methods in Anthrozoology
Introduction to the methods of social and natural science. Practical experience with study design, data analysis and interpretation.
Animals as Commodities
This course looks at animals as commodities in the three main areas in which animals “serve” humans: as food, as research tool, and as pet. It provides a tool for critical evaluation of these areas of human-animal interaction from an anthrozoological perspective. In this course we will look critically at how humans use non-human animals for food, scientific research and product testing, and companionship, and will take a largely social scientific perspective, focusing primarily on the United States, but also looking at other cultures for comparative purposes.
Cross Cultural Anthrozoology
This course provides a tool for critical evaluation of human-animal interactions from the perspectives of anthropology and anthrozoology. Anthrozoology is the study of the relationship between human and nonhuman animals. Animals play profoundly important roles in the lives of humans, whether as companion, food, spiritual guide, symbol, totemic ancestor or family member. All human interactions with animals and nature take place within a cultural context. Since culture is a central concept of anthropology, this discipline provides an effective theoretical perspective for studying human-animal relationships. In this course we consider the symbolic, economic, ecological, and social consequences of human/non-human animal interaction in a variety of cross-cultural contexts. A global perspective is used to help students better understand world trends regarding modernization and its consequences to animals and their habitats. This course provides a cross-cultural understanding of the concept of the animal by examining how our relationships with animals are mediated by culture, and thus how belief systems contribute to current animal, human, and environmental social problems.
Animal Behavior/Animal Communication
The behavior of animals in their natural contexts (as evolutionary adaptations). The means by which animals communicate with each other.
Applied Animal Behavior
The adaptation of animals to interactions with humans. Provision of service to humans by animals. Solutions to problems involving animals.
Animals in Humane Education and Development
The roles of animals in childhood development, and in our educational systems. Developmental ties among human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. Integral dimensions of a healthy, just society. animals and animal themes in humane education.
Companion Animals in Society
The social and biological history of companion animals. The unique roles that companion animals play in human lives. Issues of population control, and pet industry reforms.
Writing and Animal Studies: Representations in Film/Literature
The Mental Lives of Animals
Animals in Literature and the Arts
Psychology of the Human Animal Bond
Animal Assisted Interventions
Animals and the Economy
Understanding Indifference and Animal Abuse
Shelters, Rescues, and Pounds
Anthrozoological Perspectives on Zoos
Introduction to Anthrozoology
Historical Perspectives: Horses & Humans
The Science of Animal Welfare
Community College of Baltimore County, Dundalk
Animals and Society
This course explores the ways animals are viewed by various subcultures in American society. Students explore sociological, historical, economic, philosophical, and public policy issues regarding the treatment of animals, the uses of animals in factory farming, medical research, hunting and trapping, and the entertainment industry.
DePaul University, School for New Learning
Externship: Animals in Contemporary Life
Students will pursue literature on the historical connections between animals and humans, and will review philosophies concerning treatment of animals. Students will also be exposed to current issues in animal welfare, including a volunteer experience in an animal shelter. Faculty will provide a framework for assessing the roles and condition of animals, particularly domestic animals, in our culture. Assigned readings range from Peter Singer’s noted work on animal experimentation Animal Liberation to excerpts from Black Elk Speaks, a Native American treatise on hierarchy and respect for life in American aboriginal culture. Students will pursue their own interests through further readings and commentary.
This cutting-edge multidisciplinary course is designed to acquaint the student with the contemporary and historical animal-rights issues. A primary goal of the course is to raise moral consciousness about the most current conditions and uses of nonhuman animals and therein the ethical dimension of relationships between nonhuman animals and human beings. The course is structured in two sections: a) ethical theory and b) applied ethics. Students will study a range of issues related to nonhuman animals including the animal rights debate, spay/neuter issues, vivisection, animal law, animal fighting, views of nonhuman animals in various religious traditions, sustainability, associations between animal abuse and interpersonal violence, factory farming hoarding, wildlife control, and overpopulation. In addition to Drury faculty, guest speakers will address such issues as puppy mills, animal control, and issues related to local animal shelters. The course will include a visit to an animal shelter or zoo. By the end of the course, students will have continued to develop the ability to read thoughtfully, think critically and imaginatively and communicate ideas powerfully in writing and speaking.
Animals and Society
David L. Derossett
Animals and Literature
Eastern Kentucky University
Introduction to Animal Studies
A survey of the field of animal studies, focusing on animals’ lives and histories, and the human experience of animals as food, as objects of entertainment, spectacle and science, as companions, and as representations. The course will introduce students to the field of animal studies by reading, discussing, thinking, and writing about various traditions in the field, including anthropology, art, biology, history, literature philosophy, psychology, and sociology.
Animals in Literature
Animals in History
Dr. Robert Mitchell
Applied Learning in Animal Studies
Dr. Robert Mitchell
Humans and the Environment
Ethics in Research on Animal Behavior
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Loyola Marymount University
Teaching about the Interaction of Humans and Other Animals
Human interactions with our fellow animals have a major impact on other animals and on us. This course explores how these interactions can be included in our teaching. Topics include a debate about animals in schools, exploring literature, movies, tv and cartoon interactions as well as food, disease, communities and service learning. Online Course
Do Dogs Smile? A Study of Animal Intelligence and Emotions
This course is designed to provide an overview of animal intelligence and emotion, and evidence of these traits. Included materials provide an intimate look at Koko demonstrating her ability to communicate in sign language, an examination of animal intelligence and emotion in the wild with observations of wolves, chimps and great apes; and a revealing talk with a professor of marine science who specializes in dolphin intelligence.
In this course, we will explore some crucial questions about our relationships with animals. How do we understand them? What are our responsibilities to they? Should we eat them? Why do we develop emotional attachments to them. Animals are a perfect other, a sentient entity with whom we cannot directly communicate, so we project ideas and attitudes onto them. When we study how we relate to animals, we are studying what it means to be human.
Do Animals Matter?
This course is an examination of religious, philosophical, cultural, aesthetic, and societal conceptualizations of animals and their impact on human-animal relations as well as on uses, treatment, and legal standing of animals. Issues are discussed through the lenses of humanities, religious studies, and social sciences within the framework of the Franciscan tradition. This course includes a service learning project.
New Century College/George Mason University
Animal Rights and Human Exploitation
Participants in this learning community will engage with a combination of critical theories, experiential learning, and dialogical practices to examine the ways in which non-human animals are exploited for human profit. We will explore, as well, the ramifications of this exploitation ecologically, as a question of sustainability, and spiritually, as a question of the impact of animal abuse on the human spirit. Among the animal rights concerns we will examine are the use of animals in entertainment, factory farming, animal testing, and sport or trophy hunting. We will discuss, as well, how individuals and organizations are fighting these practices.
New York University
Animals and Public Policy
David J. Wolfson
This course will provide an overview of public policy with respect to the somewhat contradictory treatment of animals by humans, with a focus on how public policy is created and how social change occurs. We will consider what public policy consists of and what actors and factors play a role in the creation of public policy; how society views animals; the capacities of animals; how ethics relates to animal treatment; how animals are currently utilized by our society; and political and other efforts to improve or alter the current treatment of animals, including the influence of science, government, business and non-governmental organizations in defining and influencing animal-related policies. We will focus on legislation, litigation, regulation, and ballot initiative and consumer campaigns and their effectiveness, as well as other strategies that relate to improving animal welfare. We will also discuss the meaning of “animal rights” and the success and impact of the modern animal protection movement.
Animals & Society
This course analyzes the ways that animal and human lives intersect. Specifically, it examines how relationships with animals both reflect and shape social life, culture, and how people think about themselves. We will explore the myriad and contradictory positions that animals occupy in society [e.g., as pets, pests, mascots, and food] and deconstruct the social origins of these seemingly natural categories. We will also take a grounded look at what actually happens when humans and animals interact, which sheds new light on the nature of human and animal consciousness. Fundamentally, students will learn how the roles that animals take on in our lives, and the ways that we think about and relate to them, are inherently social processes that are patterned by geography, culture, class, gender, and so on. Central questions include: How do ideas about, and relationships to, animals vary across time and space? How and why did pets become honorary members of the American family? Why are some animals, but not others, granted moral status and legal protection in society? How do humans and animals coordinate interaction without language?
Ethics and Animals
This course examines the morality of our treatment of nonhuman animals. We start with a survey of moral theory. Do animals have moral status? Do we have a right to harm or kill some animals in order to benefit or save others? We consider these questions from a variety of moral perspectives, including utilitarianism, rights theory, contractualism, feminism, and contextualism. We then apply these ideas to different kinds of animal use. For example, what is the morality of our treatment of animals in food, research, entertainment, captivity, and the wild? Finally, we will explore the connections between human rights and animal rights; the legal, economic, and psychological barriers in the way of reform; and the ethics of activism and advocacy.
This course examines the nature and limits of our understanding of animal minds from a primarily philosophical perspective. We start with a survey of philosophy of mind and cognitive ethology. What is a mind, and who or what can have one? How can we learn about animal minds, and what are the main research methods that scientists use to study them? We then ask what, as far as we know, animal minds are like. How do animals perceive the world? Do they have memories? Self-awareness? Language? Rationality? Pleasure and pain and emotion? Finally, we consider the philosophical implications of our answers to these questions. What, if anything, does this discussion tell us about the human/nonhuman divide, and about the nature, value, and meaning of human and nonhuman life?
Political Theory and Animals
This course examines how political communities ought to treat nonhuman animals. We start with a survey of political theory. What is the relationship between ethics and politics? What kind of legal and political status can, and should, nonhuman animals have? We consider these questions from a number of political perspectives, including utilitarianism, liberalism, communitarianism, marxism, feminism, and anarchism. We then consider how these ideas apply to particular political problems. For example, should domesticated animals count as citizens, and should wild animals count as sovereign communities? Also, what rights, if any, should animals have with respect to trials, contracts, property, and representation? And how can we put these ideas into practice?
Food, Animals & the Environment
This course examines the impact of contemporary food systems on animals and the environment. We start with a survey of ethical theory. Do we have moral obligations to animals, plants, species, and ecosystems? Is there a moral difference between causing and allowing harm? And are we morally responsible for what we do collectively? We then consider the impacts of industrial animal agriculture on human and nonhuman health and wellbeing. Finally, we consider alternatives to industrial animal agriculture including local food, organic food, genetically modified food, and urban food. Do these food systems represent true alternatives to industrial animal agriculture? Are they capable of feeding a planet with a rising population? And if so, how can we get from here to there?
Text & Ideas: Animal Humans
“One might go so far as to define man as a creature that has failed in its effort to keep its animalness…” So writes the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. What sort of animal were we? Where, how, and by whom has the line between the human and the animal been drawn? With what consequences for our “human” understanding of the world? Of concepts like the “soul,” “society,” politics, the family? Is the line between the human and the animal drawn differently in different genres–in literary works, theological treatises, natural histories, paintings, films? We come at these questions from different angles, following them from antiquity to early modern responses to these questions, and in essays by contemporary philosophers and advocates. Readings: Genesis, Numbers, Euripides’ Bacchae, Plato’s Phaedrus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Apuleius’ Golden Ass, Marie de France’ Bisclavret, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Montaigne’s “Apology in Defense of Raymond Sebond, Machiavelli’s Prince, H. G. Wells’s Island of Dr. Moreau and Island of Lost Souls, Derrida’s “The Animal that therefore I am,” selections from Boccaccio, Peter Singer, Giorgio Agamben, Donna Haraway.
Text & Ideas: Of Beasts & Books
According to the Book of Genesis, human beings have two distinct relationships with other animals: in one version of the creation story Adam gives them names, in the other they are created to keep him company. Whether non-human animals are creatures to which we assign meanings, or whether they are our interlocutors, is thus a dilemma formulated from the outset. It will provide the overall framework for this course in we examine how animals are interpreted metaphorically or symbolically, as if they were texts, and how they are also represented as speaking to us, as if they were producers of texts. We work mainly on written documents ranging from the Bible and antiquity through the Middle Ages and the premodern period (mainly the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), reaching forward occasionally into the contemporary world for current examples. Some materials are literary (like fables and fairy stories), some philosophical, others historical. We also consider visual materials from manuscript illuminations to recent films. And we evaluate the role of animals in cultural practices other than literary or artistic works-for instance, in hunting or in zoos-and discover how, in this sense, they are like texts that we can read and analyze.
Theatre of Species: Ecology, Animality and Performance
Does the deeply human activity of art-making have anything to do with the non-human world? Can that world – the world of animals, plants, landscapes, objects, ecology – teach us – theatre makers and students – anything about what we do, how we do it, and how we might do it differently? Conversely, do we, as “culture-workers,” have any obligations to, or special resources to offer to, the increasingly threatened natural world? This Honors Seminar will stage a conversation and exploration at between the fields of theatre and performance studies and environmental and animal studies. We will ask, for example, how theater has reflected, affirmed, contested, or flagrantly ignored the growing cultural awareness of threats to the environment. What accounts has it furnished of the reasons for these threats? What models has it proposed for encountering, understanding, and responding to these threats? We will ask how “animal acts”-in plays and elsewhere-work to create meaning about human beings; and how the “staging” of animals-in zoos, circuses, theme parks-illuminates our stagings and dramatizations of the human. We will ask how symbolic “natural” spaces like wilderness, forests, and gardens have shaped our ideas about “cultural” settings like cities, suburbs, and theatres. And we will ask how performance can intervene emotionally and politically on behalf of the non-human world that is so deeply threatened today. Readings will include works by contemporary animal philosophers (Deleuze and Guattari, Agamben, Derrida), recent environmental thought (such as Timothy Morton’s Ecology Without Nature), novels (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Lives of the Animals,) films (Grizzly Man, The Cove, The Planet of the Apes), many plays (Euripides’ The Bacchae, Albee’s The Zoo Story and The Goat, Churchill’s Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen and Far Away, Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, Shaeffer’s Equus, Terry Johnson’s Cries from the Mammal House, Ionesco’s Rhinoceros) and works by performance artists like Holly Hughes, Carmelita Tropicana, and Deke Weaver.
Animals in Art & Literature
Intro to Topics in Literary Theory: The Animal Turn
The Performing Animal
Animals, People and Those In Between
Portland State University
Animals in Science and Society
The earliest cave paintings reveal that humans have long been curious about animals. Human societies have hunted animals and domesticated them to use them as food, beasts of burden, and even as pets. Humans have also observed animal behaviors and studied their physical structures as objects of scientific inquiry. This course will consider the numerous ways in which humans have interacted with animals in history. We will investigate a broad array of visual and textual materials to consider the variety of symbols, representations, and stories about animals, in popular culture, as well as efforts to examine animals through science. Ultimately, understanding the interaction between humans will allow us to consider the ways in which humans have constructed meanings for animals and how those constructions influence and reinforce beliefs about the human condition and concepts of what it means to be human.
Animals in Society I and II
These courses are part of Tufts’ Center for Animals and Public Policy’s Masters Program in Animals and Public Policy
Human Animal Studies
These courses are part of Tufts’ Center for Animals and Public Policy’s Masters Program in Animals and Public Policy
Religion, Science and Other Animals.
Focuses on how nonhuman animals have been seen in both religious and scientific circles. Prompts the student to ask a wide range of questions, including: 1) to what extent have religious traditions affected the ways in which contemporary scientists view and speak about animals other than humans?, and 2) in what ways do contemporary religious traditions now deal with new findings of various life sciences that are pertinent to an understanding of nonhuman animals? Answers to these questions are explored in several ways, including an examination of whether the vocabularies and concepts used by those who practice both the physical and “softer” sciences when talking about animals outside the human species remain value-laden. The course also seeks clarification of the claims about other animals generally implicit and explicit in many religious traditions’ writings and beliefs.
St. Cloud University
Human and Animal Relations/Rights
University of California Davis
Animals and Human Culture
University of New Mexico
Advocating for Animals
In this seminar, we will explore the legal and political status of nonhuman animals in the U.S. by examining the development of law for companion animals, wildlife, captive animals, and animals used in industry and research. We will begin the exploration through discussions of readings and films and trips to facilities such as the zoo, a shelter, and a farm. Finally, our classroom will become a setting for advocacy regarding the legal status of animals, with mock trials, debates, and negotiations to allow each student to develop and present arguments on either side of the issues presented in real-life problems. Assignments include team preparation for advocacy projects, written student impressions of various topics, and a research paper.
University of Connecticut
Introduction to the Human Animal Bond
The human/animal bond (HAB) is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and non-human animals. This course is a review of the changing role of animals in our lives and how we interact with them. The class will discuss how the HAB is used to promote quality of life in humans through animal assisted activities. In addition, we will discuss how animals are integrated into the treatment of physical and psychological health of humans.
University of California, Santa Cruz
Animal Studies as Science Studies
Plants, Animals, Science, Food, and Justice
This course is organized around the knots of plants, animals, knowledges, people, markets, research institutions, justice projects, and daily life that come together in practices of eating. Food is at the heart of the quarter. Students will begin by keeping a detailed diary of everything they eat and then write an account of the worlds brought into play by the entries in that diary.
When Species Meet: Categories, Encounters, and Co-Shapings
Consider related, but non-isomorphic, constitutive binaries prominent in western traditions that have focused feminist attention: Man/woman, human/animal, culture/nature, white/color, civilized/primitive, mind/body, sight/touch, normal/abnormal, etc. Themes: Thickening inter-sectionality in feminist theory, “human exceptionalism,” defining species relationally, animalization/racialization/beastialization, “we are what we eat,” ethics for human animals, metamorphoses within a philosophical tradition. What does feminist theory have to say about species, human-animal co-shapings, and the problem of categories for humans and animals? To morph Bruno Latour’s “we have never been modern,” I suggest that we have never been human. Post-humanism and the posthuman do not get this point. What happens if the ontological dance is ‘companion species’ all the way down?
University of Vermont
Animals, Science, & Technology
This graduate seminar investigates topics in critical animal studies in the historical wake of what has been called “the animal turn.” We will focus on developments in science, philosophy, ethics, and activism that explore inquiry into animal minds, the boundary between human and animal, the uses of animals for food, experiment, and entertainment, and the predicament of wild animals in modernity and in the animal economy.
University of Washington
Animals: Articulating Human and Non-Human Struggles
Maria Elena Garcia
How are animal rights and feminist movements connected? Does eating meat perpetuate notions of patriarchy? Can we successfully challenge the exploitation of human beings without also fighting for the rights of non-human animals? Can we morally distinguish between human and non-human exhibitionism? How do notions of class structure our choices about eating habits? This course explores some ethical, political, and cultural questions regarding animals, or as philosopher Peter Singer calls them, non-human animals. Specifically, it looks at the cultural production of difference between humans and non-humans, as well as the tactics, strategies, and ideologies behind animal rights movements. Drawing on debates in anthropology, philosophy, literature, and politics, this course invites students to interrogate the discourses and practices that reduce animals to “inferior beings.” The class also asks students to critically examine their own relationships with animals, to explore cultural debates about animals and the environment, vegetarianism, the industrial food complex, health, zoos, and animal experimentation (among other topics), and to think about the discourse of “rights” more concretely. Moreover, this seminar will emphasize the significance of the animal rights movement and its connections to other global movements for cultural, social and environmental justice.
University of Windsor
Animals and Humans in Society
The goal of this course is to encourage students to develop an understanding of the historical, present, and future relationships that humans have with animals. Within this class, we explore and consider the different types of relationships between non-human animals (“animals”) and humans in our contemporary society from a variety of physical, social, and psychological perspectives. Topics include companion animals, animal rights and welfare, animals for food, animals in human health, and animals in sports and entertainment.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Empire of the Ark. The Animal Question, Spectacle and Carceral Modernity
Empire of the Ark is an interdisciplinary engagement with the burgeoning field of animal studies, spanning the century from the decline of the British empire to the decline of the US empire. Throughout the course we will explore a range of texts, theories, novels, essays, photographs, and films. We will engage a range of critical approaches but will draw primarily on cultural materialism.
Why has the theme of animals had such recent resurgence? Can our vexed preoccupation with animals be seen, in part, as a requiem for the animals disappearing so rapidly and traumatically from our immediate, intimate lives and from our social landscapes? For centuries we human primates lived amongst other animals in intimate proximity. We touched animals, smelled them, worked with them, sacrificed and ate them, slept alongside them. Animals were our first horizon, as John Berger notes. Zoos became the monument to their disappearance. How do we now know what we know about animals? How do we see animals? How do we watch and engage them? Why has spectacle and looking, film and photography, become our primary mode of interaction? Why, with the Enlightenment, did the Western eye become the privileged organ of knowledge and authority over animals? What is the difference between looking at animals, watching animals, and being with animals? What do we not see (slaughter houses, mega-agrifarms, habitat destruction, environmental catastrophes such as the BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf)?
Human-Animal Interaction: What We Know and What the Future Holds will provide a basic understanding of the value of human-animal interaction and the benefits of animal intervention in such settings as schools, hospitals and care facilities. It is designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about this field, including those in the helping professions and those working in animal welfare or care. The course is noncredit and self-paced. It provides one continuing education unit (10 clock hours). It can be started at any time, can generally be finished in a week or two and must be completed within three months.
Thinking Animals: An Introduction to Animal Studies
The question of “the animal” has become a recent focus across the disciplines, extending debates over identity and difference to our so-called “non-speaking” others. This course will examine a range of theories and representations of the animal in order to examine how human identity and its various gendered, classed, and racial manifestations have been conceived of through and against notions of animality, as well as how such conceptions have affected human-animal relations and practices such as pet-keeping and zoos. We will seek to understand the desire to tame or objectify animals as well as evidence of a contrasting desire that they remain guardians of inaccessible experience and knowledge. Readings may include: Darwin, Poe, Kafka, Mann, Woolf, Coetzee, Hearne.
Humanity, within the Western tradition, has largely been defined in opposition to “the animal,” especially by reserving the notion of subjectivity for humans. But what happens to the understanding of the human when the very foundations of subjectivity such as thought, language and moral agency, are said to be possessed by at least some animals? This course will focus on recent efforts in literature, philosophy and the arts to redress the humanist bias regarding subjectivity and come to grips with the consequences of human animality.