California Colleges

California Institute of Integral Studies

Philosophy and Religion

Next of Kin: Perspectives on Animal Ethics and Biodiversity

Elizabeth Allison

Ancient spiritual wisdom and contemporary scientific findings both refute Descartes’ assertion that nonhuman animals are automatons devoid of consciousness or feeling. Nonetheless, the view of animals as machines undergirds many of our modern practices, such as factory farming and animal experimentation. Beyond practices that impose harm on particular animals, human misapprehension of interconnection has allowed the reduction of the richness and diversity of other forms of life.  This accelerating biodiversity loss has been identified as a scientific problem of great urgency.   Nonhuman and human life are inextricably interdependent.  Interdependence includes the profound influence of diverse life on human systems of thought, including aesthetics, symbolism, communication, and spirituality.  How can we expand our philosophical frameworks to encompass the interrelationships among humans, animals, and the biosphere? How can we extend frameworks of justice to include nonhuman beings? What is the relationship between sexism, racism, and “speciesism”? How can we better align our spiritual, philosophical, and ecological wisdom with our actual practices toward other species?


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Interdisciplinary/Liberal Studies

Human-Animal Studies

Teresa Lloro-Bidart

This course provides an interdisciplinary exploration into and analysis of human-animal relationships in American cultural life. Drawing on varied disciplines in the natural sciences (e.g. conservation biology and ecology), the social sciences (e.g. anthropology, anthrozoology, and geography), and the humanities (e.g. natural history, environmental ethics, and philosophy), we explore how historical ideas about what constitutes the “human” and what constitutes “nature” shape contemporary ideals about how we should relate to wild, liminal, and domestic animals. We not only consider how “animals make us human,” but also explore our own ethical and moral obligations to animals and how these obligations have been shaped by (and continue to be shaped by) colonialism, empire, and capitalism. And finally, using an intersectional approach, we consider how the oppression of animals and some groups of humans is connected. Since this class focuses primarily on human-animal relationships in American cultural life, the course is structured so that we investigate our relationships with animals through the ways in which they are typically categorized in Western cultures. It’s important to remember that these categories are not necessarily fixed or stable and are shaped in complex ways by culture and power relationships.


Education and Integrative Studies

Animal Assisted Interventions and Education

Aubrey Fine

This is a graduate class geared for educators and those working in schools.


California State University, Bakersfield


People and Other Animals

Carol Raupp

Examines peoples’ attitudes toward other animal species and the current psychological research describing our differing relationships with companion animals, animals used for food, animals used in research, sports, or entertainment, and so-called “wild” animals. This course is now available online to students everywhere.

Environmental Psychology

Carol Raupp


California State University Long Beach


Human Animal Relationships in Historical Perspective

History/American Studies

Brett Mizelle

This seminar on the literature of history is designed to engage with a wide-range of scholarship on the history of the relationships between human and non-human animals. This literature, sometimes grouped under the rubric “animal studies” (a term that, as we will see, comes with its own problems), emerged as a subset of social, cultural, and environmental history, although parallel inquiries into the human use and “thinkability” of non-human animals were occurring in anthropology, literary studies, and the biological sciences. Much of the work in this emergent interdisciplinary field has been, like the social and cultural history before it, connected to larger social movements, many of relatively recent vintage. The term “speciesism”-used to connote prejudice against non-human animals similar in kind to racism and sexism-was only coined in 1970, for example, when there was a renewed interest in the idea of animal protection and animal rights. In this seminar we will trace the rise of interest in the welfare of animals and the subsequent shift toward the idea that non-human animals may deserve some of the same moral and legal considerations typically extended to humans. In the process, we will necessarily interrogate the relationship between the past and the present, which explains why several of our readings and texts are not traditional historical monographs.

Animals in American Culture

Brett Mizelle

Interdisciplinary examination of the role of non-human animals in making cultural meaning. Traces the many ways in which animals, not just humans, have shaped American history and culture.


California State University, Northridge


Humans & Animals

Sabina Magliocco

This is a capstone seminar in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis on Applied Anthropology – the application of anthropological skills and principles to help solve human problems.  This semester, we will be exploring the relationships between humans and other animals from the earliest days of hunter-gatherers, to the development of domestication and its consequences, to the emergence of post-domesticity and new perspectives on animals, such as the animal welfare movement, animal rights, vegetarianism, and the emerging field of animal studies.  We will take an interdisciplinary perspective on the study of human-animal relations, drawing from literature in anthropology as well as sociology, history, critical theory, feminist theory and other approaches, as well as focusing on current issues in human-animal relationships and how anthropology provides useful tools to address them.


California State University, San Bernardino


Contemporary Ethical Issues

Rich Booher


Chapman College

Critical Animal Studies

Ian Bernard

This course immerses students in the new, inter-disciplinary, exciting, and rapidly expanding field known as Critical Animal Studies. The word “critical” here indicates a desire to distinguish this new work from traditional “animals rights” discourses and activism. How and when did animals come to be distinguished from people? What other kinds of relationship to/with animals might we develop? What does the representation of animals in cultural productions suggest about the world views of the producers and consumers of those productions? In order to engage these and other questions, students will read work by some of the major Critical Animal Studies scholars, compare these theoretical texts with animal studies themes in films and literature, and produce their own critical and creative analyses of and responses to these texts, as well as their own original “animal studies” texts. This is a discussion-based class, and students are expected to participate actively in all seminar discussions. Other course requirements including careful critical reading of all assigned texts, leading a class discussion with a colleague, keeping a reading blog, and developing a research-based critical or creative culminating final project.


Claremont School of Theology

Religious Studies

Animal Theology, Animal Ethics: Rethinking Human-Animal Relations

Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Animal studies (a.k.a. human-animal studies) represents the cutting edge of academe, as scholars from a wide variety of disciplines are increasingly acknowledging that we can no longer bracket the question of the animal if we are to live truly examined lives. This course provides a serious engagement with philosophical and theological discourse on the ethical status of nonhuman animals as well as the nature and extent of human obligations toward them. As we raise classical philosophical, theological, and legal/public policy questions about animals (e.g., can animals be directly wronged? Does/did God delight in animal sacrifices?), we will discover that we are simultaneously raising perennial questions about the human condition.

Vegan/Vegetarian Non-Violence: Ahimsa in Theory

Grace Yia-Hei Kao


Humboldt State University

Ethics, Animals, and the Environment

Mary I. Bockover

Natural Resources

Introduction to Wildlife Conservation & Administration

Richard N. Brown

Wildlife Policy & Animal Welfare

Richard N. Brown

Environmental Ethics

Richard N. Brown


Loyola Marymount

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar

Mona Seymour


Religious Studies

Ecology and Theology

Christopher Chapple

In this course we will explore the responses to ecological degradation from a variety of the world’s religious traditions. We will also engage in service projects that relate to actions being taken to correct and improve the environment . The course will begin with an overview of how the world’s religious traditions are responding to such issues as global climate change, rising species extinctions, issues over access to clean water, and the effects of chemicals within the environment.

Enhancement Courses

Teaching about the Interaction of Humans and Other Animals

George Jacobs

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.


Sacramento City College

Animal Behavior and Cognition

Chris T. Tromborg

Animal Behavior and Cognition is a course designed for everyone who is interested in, or who has ever lived with and loved animals. In fact, those pursuing a variety of careers will find this course interesting and useful. The course consists of a broad survey of general topics and current research in the related fields of animal behavior, animal cognition, animal communication, neuroethology, ethology, comparative psychology, ecology, behavioral ecology, interactions between human and nonhuman animals, and conservation biology. Topics addressed in this course include: The philosophy of science; evolutionary concepts; history of the relationship between nonhuman animals and humans; animal behavior; animal sensation; animal communication; communication between humans and other animals; animals as competitors and resources; research animals and bioethics, animals as companions; animals in therapy and service; animal contributions to human health and well‑being; animal learning and training; animals in zoos; the behavior of captive wild animals; observing and analyzing behavior; and the future prospects for positive interactions between humans and other animals.Animal behavior and Cognition will particularly interest those students wishing to explore how scientists study communication between human beings and other species. The course addresses issues underlying claims to alleged human uniqueness. It explores the bases of comparisons used to establish the degrees of similarity and difference between humans and nonhumans. This course is designed to foster a better understanding of the relationship between humans and nonhumans, nurture a respect for nonhuman animals, develop a better appreciation for animal behavior, create a respect for animal cognition, and to create an ethic which emphasizes a respect for all life as humans take their place within the animal kingdom.

Saybrook University


Non-Human Consciousness

Jacquie Lewis

This independent study course, which is part of the Applied Consciousness Certificate, focuses on both research and anecdotal cases having to do with positive non-human cognitions and emotions. Animals regularly demonstrate cooperation, sharing, and care for each other. On occasion, these traits have also been known to occur when different species interact. Some topics include:
• Non-humans display empathy
• Non-humans experience self- awareness
• Non-humans do complex problem solving
• Non-humans exhibit strong social networks
• Non-humans grieve
• Non-humans show ethical play
• Non-humans communicate and some communicate with humans
• Non-humans have personality
• Non-humans have a sense of the past and future
• Non-humans not only use tools but make tools
• Non-humans demonstrate intuition

Saybrook University PhD in Humane Education Studies

Our Ph.D. Managing Organizational Systems: Humane Education Specialization is the result of a partnership with the Institute for Humane Education and Valparaiso University. Through the lens of education, this Ph.D. organizational systems program examines the connections between four areas of social justice:

  • Environmental ethics
  • Animal protection
  • Human rights
  • Cultural change-making

Ph.D. Graduates will learn to create transformational change in educational settings by building global relevance and a systems-oriented approach into their work and educational outreach. Focusing on social, economic, political, and structural change, graduates will be prepared to work as administrators, educators, and consultants—find successful careers in schools, universities, and government agencies. As humane educators, they are able to apply principles of creative and critical thinking, civic engagement, and informed decision-making across disciplines, at all levels of education.


Stanford University


Afterlives of the Beast Fable

Vicky Googasian

This course tackles two genres from opposite ends of the formal and historical spectrum: the novel and the beast fable. Though the phrase beast fable describes a genre whose origins lie in classical and medieval literature—think of the short, didactic tales best known from Aesop—its formal traits appear also in the literary field of the 20th century. We will focus on a small selection of texts from the long history of animal stories in order to probe how animals manifest in narrative—what kinds of characters are they, what kinds of plots do they produce, and at what levels (material, allegorical) do they make meaning? The course will pair texts that are not-quite or not-yet novels with examples of modern and post-modern novels in the 20th century—primary texts will include works by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Faulkner, Charles Chestnutt and Leslie Marmon Silko. Considering these disparate works side by side will allow us to tackle a unique literary object: a form that is smaller than a complete work of literature, but which nonetheless connects diverse periods, styles, and concerns. At the same time, the course will question whether the content of the beast fable—its animal vehicles and allegorical referents—have shifted as the genre becomes one facet of the modern and postmodern novel, asking whether the beasts of fable are ever more than humans in animal guise. Ultimately, the course seeks to place some of novel theory’s classic concerns in productive conversation with the much newer field of literary animal studies.



University of California, Berkeley


Animals in Literature and Theory

Justin Eichenlaub

This course engages the question of the animal through novels, poetry, philosophy, theory, film, painting and photography, and popular culture. Our approach will be to examine and track major trends in the burgeoning field of animal studies, allowing us to think about how animals are represented in cultural products and how contemporary philosophers and theorists are re-imagining human-animal relations. To rethink the being and ‘meaning’ of animals also entails revisiting the idea of “the human.” While this class engages with fictional and philosophical questions, we’re going to take the everyday, embodied repercussions of these ideas seriously. Some of our particular topics will include the relationship of literary and artistic form to ethical arguments (particularly in Coetzee’s Lives of Animals and Safran Foer’s Eating Animals); questions of what role animals should play in our lives through Donna Harraway’s ideas of companion species; Franz Kafka’s short story “Report to an Academy,” about a humanistic ape; Lydia Millet’s powerful novel How the Dead Dream which links questions of species extinctions with human loss; and we’ll visit the Oakland Zoo to consider this eminently-Victorian and colonial means of ‘making the animal visible.’

Comparative Literature

Domestic, Wild, Edible: Introducing Animal Studies

Bristin Jones

What does it mean to be human? What differentiates humans from non-human animals? As long as homo sapiens have told stories, we have told them about, through, and with animals. This course serves as an introduction to the emerging fields of animal studies and posthumanist theory. We will explore questions raised by literary animals from multiple perspectives, including from the point of view of (fictional) animals themselves. The texts we read will encourage us to reexamine our anthropocentric assumptions and to push back against narratives of human exceptionalism. This is a writing-intensive course that builds upon the skills you have gained in the first course of the Reading and Composition sequence. In this course, you will use your critical reflections on the texts as starting points for developing two papers, the latter of which will incorporate research on literary criticism. You will develop your papers through a series of brainstorming assignments, drafts, in-class workshops, peer reviews, and revisions. In addition, you will also complete shorter weekly reading responses and assignments devoted to specific elements of essay writing.

Women’s Studies

Men, Women and Other Animals

Mel Chen

This course explores various ways that human groups and interests, particularly in the United States, have both attached and divorced themselves from other animals, with particular focus on gender, race, ability, and sexuality as the definitional foils for human engagements with animality.


University of California, Davis

Working Anthrozoology Group

The university has a formalized Working Anthrozoology Group—WAG—with over 25 faculty members from the departments of veterinary medicine, humanities and law. Students with a special interest in anthrozoology (also sometimes termed human-animal interaction) can draw from the abundant UC Davis anthrozoology expertise and courses listed here to design a personalized program that provides a solid preparation in the field. At the same time, the students fulfill conventional requirements for their chosen undergraduate major and minor. A few courses are listed below.


Animal Science

Animal Welfare

Joy Mench

Examines animal welfare from the animals’ point of view. Who are animals, and what can they (do they) experience? Which practices compromise their welfare, and which do not? How can management practices and environments be modified to improve the welfare of animals?

Wild Child: Children and Animals

Mike Ziser

In the modern adult world it is very easy to get through an entire day without encountering the faintest reminder of the existence of the nonhuman world. But take a step inside the average child’s bedroom and you will find an incredible array of creatures—goldfish and teddy bears, cartoon chipmunks and puppy slippers, elephant noises and monkey business—spilling from every corner. It is almost as if one comes of age precisely by stepping through a filter that strips one of any animal fellow travelers. How did this happen, and what does it mean? This course will explore how ideas about animals come to be mixed up with ideas about childhood in the modern West, as well as how adulthood comes to be something from which the animal is necessarily absent. We will look carefully at tales of feral children, chimpanzees raised by humans, Teddy Bears®, Bambi’s life on the streets of fin de siècle Vienna, Tarzan, “wire mothers”, neotenic cartoon animals, and Nature Deficit Disorder, among other wild and wonderful things. By the end, we will have a much deeper understanding of what our civilization has told us it means to be animal and human, child and adult.

Veterinary Medicine

Ethics of Animal Use

Joy Mench

Covers such concepts as moral good, pain and suffering, welfare evaluation, and animal minds. Other topics include limits on human right to use animals, use of animals in research, ethics and behavioral research, views of researchers and veterinarians, alternatives to animal use, and rules and regulations.

Human-Animal Interactions: Benefits and Issues

Lynette Hart

The contributions of animals to human society, including historic, anthropologic, developmental, human health and therapeutic perspectives, as well as effects of humans on animals.

Ethics of Animal Use

Jerrold Tannenbaum

Human-Animal Interactions in Veterinary Science

Lynette A. Hart

American Studies

Nature and Culture in America

Julie Sze


Animals and Human Culture

Juliana Schiesari


University of California, Irvine

Political Science

The Politics of Animal Rights

Claire Kim

This course examines the animal rights/welfare movement’s efforts to transform the moral, practical, and legal standing of nonhuman animals in the contemporary U.S. Topics to be covered include: philosophical debates about the moral status of animals; current knowledge about animal minds and emotions; factory farming; the use of animals in scientific experimentation and product testing; the use of animals for human entertainment; the ethics of vegetarianism and veganism; competing ideologies and strategies within the animal rights/welfare movement; and the connections among speciesism, sexism, and racism.

Race, Gender, Species

Claire Kim

This class examines the intersections among race, gender, and species in Western culture.  Questions to be addressed include: How have the categories of race, gender, and species been constructed and reproduced in intimate relation to one another?  How have bodies categorized as nonwhite, nonmale, and/or nonhuman been imagined, exploited, and subjugated historically?  To what degree and in what ways has the domestication of nonhuman animals served as the template for modes of treatment toward nonwhites and women?  What are the connections (or lack thereof) among justice struggles on behalf of groups of color, women, and nonhuman animals today?  What happens when these justice struggles collide and proponents of racial equality, sex equality, and species equality find themselves at odds?  Do ecological perspectives offer a way to integrate these struggles or do they in fact work against some or all of them?


University of California, Riverside

Gender & Sexuality Studies

Feminist Animal Studies

Katja M. Guenther

This course examines the complex relationships between human and non-human animals from a feminist perspective. The course introduces students to the core contributions of feminist scholars to the field of animal studies. We will examine the social construction of non-human animals and the human/animal boundary from critical and feminist perspectives. We will explore the connections between sexism, misogyny, racism, classism, homophobia, and speciesism, and will consider how animal studies illuminates systems of inequality that enable some forms of life to thrive and others to suffer.



University of California, San Diego

Latin American Literature

Latin American Literature in Translation: Brazilian Humanimals: Species and Postcoloniality in Brazilian Literature

Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond

This course looks at Brazilian texts wherein representations of animals intersect with postcolonial (racialized, classed and gendered) power relations. Situating our readings vis-a-vis other media-essays, cinema, music–we will consider the animal not simply as metaphor for “human” objectification but question precisely the human/ animal divide that enables colonialist   systems of domination. Though we will focus principally on Brazilian texts, we will situate them in the context of cross-cultural discussions in ecocriticism and species studies. How do gender, race and species intersect in literary representations? What is at stake in scrutinizing the ethical dimensions of human/ animal relations?


University of California, Santa Barbara

Environmental Sciences

Animals in Human Society: Ethical Issues of Animal Use

Jo-Ann Shelton

Identification and exploration of the ethical issues which arise when humans interact with other animals. Analysis of the philosophical debates about the moral status of animals, and examination of the controversies surrounding the extension of human rights concepts to non-human animals. Discussion of conflicting attitudes toward the value of animal life in such specific areas as food production, scientific research, recreational activities, pet ownership, and environmental protection.


Interspecies Collaboration

Lisa Jevbratt

Interspecies Collaboration is an experimental and experiential class exploring the possibility of making art projects together with animals. The focus of the class is on finding, communicating and working together with other species. The projects can be manifested in a wide range of media and genres, they can be performative, visual, conceptual etc. They should make us aware of, and facilitate, an intellectual, emotional and spiritual partnership with the species around us.

Environmental Studies

Animals in Human Society: Inequality, Conflict, and Social Justice

David N. Pellow

This course introduces students to the theoretical and historical foundations of scholarly treatments of human-animal relations, variously known as animal studies, human-animal studies, or critical animal studies. We will examine and interrogate the scholarly evidence concerning the dynamic historical and contemporary relationships between humans and the more-than-human world, and raise fundamental questions about the consequences and implications for the wellbeing of humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems. We will consider the ways in which human and nonhuman forces interact, collide, collaborate and are indeed inseparable. Students will be expected to master a range of theories and concepts related to the subject matter. Questions we will pursue include: how are the boundaries between humans and nonhuman animals constructed and why does this matter? How do humans and nonhumans work together and why are they so often in conflict? What is the relationship between social hierarchies within human society and myriad impacts on more than human species and ecosystems? Is there a connection between our treatment of animals and our treatment of marginalized human groups? How do we as individuals and groups contribute to these collaborations and conflicts, and how might we be a part of solutions? How shall we (and, some would ask, should we) rethink, rebuild and recast our relationships with other animals? Students will be exposed to key concepts, theories, and perspectives from the social sciences, the environmental humanities, history, philosophy, anthropology, ethics, and law and science. Studying the relationship between human society and the nonhuman world is fundamentally an ethical issue and a matter of shared responsibility because it reveals the ways that our everyday activities and the public policies our elected officials enact have real consequences for the health of humans, nonhuman species, and the ecosystems upon which we depend. We will consider and debate evidence and perspectives from scholarly studies on this matter with an eye toward inculcating the importance of students acting as historical agents of change in the quest for improvements in knowledge, scholarship, and action toward more sustainable animal-human relationships.

University of California, Santa Cruz

Science Studies/Feminism

Animal Studies as Science Studies

Donna Haraway


History of Consciousness

Plants, Animals, Science, Food, and Justice

Donna Haraway

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

Donna Haraway

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 Redlands Human-Animal Studies Major and Minor

Human-Animal Studies (HAST) is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field devoted to examining and critically evaluating the relationships between humans and nonhuman animals, be these relationships historical or contemporary, factual or fictional, real or symbolic, beneficial or detrimental. In exploring these relationships, we acquire a greater understanding of the ways in which animals figure in our lives and we in theirs. As our understanding of ecology and the fundamental interconnectedness of all living beings continues to grow, the importance of studying human-animal interactions becomes ever more evident. All students with an interest in the interactions between humans and animals are encouraged to consider a Human-Animal Studies minor. This minor will have an especially practical use for students pursuing careers related to wild or domesticated animals, such as animals in laboratory science, zoos, shelters, refuges, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and veterinary medicine. Courses include:

  • Humans and Other Animals
  • Animal Ethics and Policy
  • Animal Ethics and Service
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Ethics and the Environment

Other courses include:

Taking Animals Seriously

Kathie Jenni

A four week long internship at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah that is grounded in study of the history, issues, philosophies, and strategies of the animal welfare movement. One and one half days per week are devoted to class time; the remaining three and one half days each week are devoted to full time work in all aspects of the Sanctuary: cleaning, feeding and watering, socializing with and exercising animals, veterinary care, adoption services, humane education, and community outreach. Students may specialize in one facet of animal care during their final two weeks.

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