Animals In Society
The study of the relationship between animals and society is a relatively new and growing area of interest within sociology. Understanding our relationship to animals as pets, as food or other products, as laborers, as subjects in laboratory experiments, and as wild animals is particularly important in today’s society where environmental concerns, provision of food for the world’s human population, and ethical debates about the use of other beings are current and likely to be increasingly important as the 21st century unfolds. In this course we will use a sociological perspective to explore the relationship between animals and humans in contemporary society. The methodological approaches focused on by the class will include qualitative sociological techniques such as ethnographic field work, interviewing, discourse analysis, auto-ethnography, or visual sociology. The theoretical perspectives used will fall under the general category of social psychology and may include symbolic interactionist, social constructionist, and ethnomethodological frameworks.
“Us and Them: Multispecies Anthropology”
What happens when humans live with, use, save, and destroy other species? What happens when other species protect, comfort, feed, and threaten humans? How are humans and other species made and re-made through our relationships with one another? What can anthropological tools help us learn about relationships that traverse species lines? Can we do participant-observation with a chimp or interview a tree? This course will get at these questions by examining the literature and debates of multispecies anthropology, and analyzing current events and popular films that explore struggles between species. Students will also examine how human desires to know, communicate with, and conquer other species shape nation, race, and gender, and how these desires blur the lines between “us” and “them.”
Introduction to Humane Education
This course introduces students to humane education and explores innovative educational philosophies and methods, exciting and effective ways to approach teaching and learning, and positive communication skills and conflict resolution. Forming the foundation for the issues courses that follow, Introduction to Humane Education invites students to examine the ways in which they can more fully model their message as educators, and bring the underlying concepts of good communication and teaching to their students as they incorporate the important issues of human rights, environmental ethics, animal protection, and culture.
This course covers a variety of animal issues including animal agriculture, experimentation, hunting and trapping, companion animal concerns, and more. It explores different philosophies regarding the inherent rights of other sentient animals to be free from exploitation and abuse, and encourages students to grapple with and determine for themselves their own ethics regarding nonhuman animals. Animal Protection examines the ways in which humans, animals, and ecosystems can be protected for the good of all and helps students develop techniques for teaching about complex issues in a positive manner that invites dialogue and positive solutions.
Feminism, Nature and Culture
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.
Episcopal Divinity School
The Environment, Eco-Justice, and the Christian Faith
This course will focus on basic environmental issues confronting our planet- and the necessity of developing a bicentric view if we are to be faithful to the doctrine of Creation. But in addition to concerns for air and water quality, land pollution, and the depletion of nonrenewable natural resources, we will explore and develop the linkages between the natural environment and concerns for social justice in all areas.
Framingham State College
Human Animal Relations
An examination of the contexts in which humans and animals communicate and develop relationships. Ways in which animal lives intersect with human societies include our incorporation of them into our homes as pets; our domestication of them for food; our implementation of their skin and fur for clothing; our utilization of them for entertainment in circuses; our experimentation on them for research; our observation of them in zoos; and our recreation with them through sports. An emphasis is placed on how human relations with animals have changed since the recent rise of interest in animal rights, protection, and welfare. The course addresses questions such as: Do animals deserve the same moral and legal considerations typically extended to humans? What do changing ideas about animals reveal about how humans communicate amongst themselves? Are the contradictory ways in which humans have lived with animals reflected in larger human conflicts?
Religion and Animals
Students trace the history and shape of this emerging academic field and its relation to other academic disciplines. Students also examine social, public policy, conceptual, environmental, ethical and philosophical implications of the field. Class sessions are discussion-based, and students undertake both group work and a number of individualized writing projects.
Animal Studies: An Introduction
This course traces the history and shape of academic efforts to study non-human animals. Animal studies scholars explore such questions as, how do contemporary Western societies characterize the differences between humans and non-human animals? What ethical debates surround the use of animals in scientific research or the use of animals for food? How different are other cultures’ views of non-human animals from the views that now prevail in the United States and other early twenty-first century industrialized societies? Class sessions are discussion based and students undertake group work, significant writing, and an individual presentation.
Harvard University Divinity School
Animals and Religion
Focuses on the symbolism and ritual function of animals in human religious worlds. Using particular cultural histories as paradigms, considers themes such a cosmogony, hierarchy, magic, metamorphosis, antinomianism, prophecy, mimesis, hunting, sacrifice, and the role of fantastic creatures. Central to the course is the evaluation of developmentalist and other theoretical models and their impact on the history of religion.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Introduction to Environmental History
Focusing primarily on the period since 1500, explores the influence of climate, topography, plants, animals, and microorganisms on human history and the reciprocal influence of people on the environment. Topics include the European encounter with the Americas, the impact of modern technology, and the historical roots of the current environmental crisis.
Nature, Environment, and Empire
People and Other Animals
Psychological Research and Personal Values
Considers historical, psychological, philosophical, sociological and spiritual perspectives regarding animal experimentation. Includes evaluation of research projects through written and oral reports.
Experiments in Learning and Motivation
Presents alternatives to using laboratory animals for teaching purposes and thus provides an ongoing forum for discussing issues concerning the use of animals in research and teaching.
Ethics in Research Psychology
This graduate seminar is required of all psychology graduates. It addresses ethical concerns and dilemmas that psychology students and professional research psychologists face in acquiring and using scientific knowledge.
History of Human-Animal Relations
The Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) advances research, policy analysis, education and service pertaining to the important roles animals play in society, and explores the ethical implications of the human-animal relationship. The Center offers the Masters of Science in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program and is also home to the Ethics and Values curriculum within the DVM program. The work done at the Center revolves around three areas of focus: Animals in the Community, Animals in Research, and Animals in the Environment. Classes include:
- Animals & Society I & II
- Research Methods I
- Public Policy Analysis
- Introduction to Human-Animal Interactions
- Animal Law
- The Study of Animal Welfare
- Principles of Animal Behavior
- Applied Animal Behavior
- Topics in Animal Ethics
- Wildlife in Captivity
- Service: Animals in the Community
- Communicating Policy Positions
- Statistics I
- Statistics II
- Research Methods II
- Religion, Science and Other Animals
- Human Animal Relations
- animals in Posthuman Thought
Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies
This class is focused on the ethics and meaning of nature-society relations, for example, ‘Conceptions of Nature’ and ‘Ethics and the Environment.’