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Human-Animal Studies: Courses in Media & Communications

Media & Communications Overview

This is a list of colleges and universities around the world who provide courses for Media & Communications 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 Media & Communications course that the instructor will be covering.


Eastern Washington University

Representations of Animals

Pete Porter


Emily Carr Institute

Environmental Ethics

Carol Gigliotti

The primary goal of this course is to prepare students to understand and to critically evaluate various ethical perspectives on human beings’ interactions with nature and these perspectives’ applications to environmental issues. An important secondary goal is to provide students with tools to integrate those perspectives into their practice as cultural workers.

Critical Animal Studies

Carol Gigliotti

Once one begins to notice, it becomes clear that animals play a central role in how meaning is made in the arts and humanities. This course deals with how and why visual, narrative and metaphorical depictions of animals affect our ways of being with animals in aesthetic, activist, environmental and biological contexts. You will be looking closely at these roles through examples in the arts, literature, media, film, design and performance. You will also be reading materials from a range of areas – literary theory, philosophy, history, art and film history, sociology, anthropology and critical theory – and encouraged to think about how representing animals differs from “using” them; how do these representations affect animals themselves; how do literature, the arts, media and design respond to, and act upon ethical and political debates particularly the rights of animals. In what new ways can literature, the arts, film, design and media affect our ethical relationships with animals?


New School for Public Engagement

Animal Images: Representations of Non-Human Life

Dawnja Burris

Non-human animals have been represented in various forms of media throughout history.  From ancient instances of cave paintings to the plethora of modern day visual media, images of “the animal” have consistently been produced by all human societies, and for a variety of complex purposes. This course traces key instances of animal portrayal through different epochs, with emphasis on identifying the ways in which humans interact with, and maintain, relationships with animals through their mediated image. Drawing upon inter-disciplinary theoretical viewpoints that explore the subject of the animal and humans’ conceptions of them, we examine and question potential motivations and consequences involved in interacting with animals via their presentation as emblems, friends, companions, humanized characters, and wild others. Examination of visual media is key to the course and students are expected to contribute visual examples to the online course blog for collective analysis, as well as co-creation of a digital gallery that will have an online opening at the end of the semester.


University of Oregon

Communicating Nature

Debra Merskin

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