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New Mexico Colleges

New Mexico State University Human-Animal Interactions Minor

Students receiving a Bachelor’s degree outside of the Animal and Range Science department at New Mexico State University may wish to obtain a minor in Human Animal Interaction. Students may want to complete this minor for personal interest, or to increase their marketability to employers in an area in which they may be incorporating companion animals (including horses) into their careers.
Research into Human Animal Interactions (HAI) has increased in the past 10-15 years as human health and wellness disciplines look for progressive approaches to incorporate companion animals into various modalities and treatments in their respective fields.  For professions that want to incorporate companion animals, having strong university based knowledge on companion animals will be critical for maintaining appropriate risk management procedures, as well as for ensuring animal well-being in professional settings where humans are in close contact with the animals.  Currently, the primary companion animal species involved in HAI are dogs and horses.


University of New Mexico

Freshman Seminar

Advocating for Animals

Marsha Baum

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.



Animal Ecosystems: Urban, Rural and Wild

Marsha Baum



The Question of the Animal

Walter Putnam




Walter Putnam

Many philosophical and literary attempts to locate, define, describe, and understand the human animal have been formulated with respect to the larger animal world or to some notion of animality.  Is man a “featherless biped,” as Plato claimed or a “soulless machine” as Descartes believed?  Do animals feel pain like us? Do they know they exist?  How can there be thought without language?  What separates the human from the non-human animal?  And what do we share in common?  These are some of the pressing questions that are being re-evaluated in light of scientific discoveries and cultural transformations along the fault line between human and non-human animals. The bulk of the semester will focus on continental philosophers and writers who have based some aspect of their thinking on animals: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Agamben, Deleuze, Derrida, to cite the most prominent.  Questions of identity and ethics will direct our thinking as we deal with issues of the status and treatment of animals.  This course will bridge the literary and the philosophical by reading texts such as Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” in light of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “becoming-animal.”  I would like to devote some attention to the visual representation of the postmodern animal.  This multi-disciplinary approach will allow us to gauge the range and richness of thought not only “about” but “with” the animal.


Communications and Journalism

Ecoculture: Humans and the “Environment

Tema Milstein

This course explores cultural and communicative ways that humanity informs, shapes, and shifts relations with the environment. Following extant scholarship, the course situates human-nature relations as both actively socially constructed and as deeply and materially experienced. As learners, through readings, discussion, field study, and research, we will explore how: 1) Cultural and communication processes and contexts inform, construct, and produce perceptions of and actions toward nature; and 2) Cultural and communication research can be used to deconstruct and critically investigate dominant and alternative understandings of nature. The course will lead to a deeper understanding of culture, communication, and the human relationship with nature. The learning focus in this course is on student-driven creative and critical exploration and discussion, as well as out-of-the-classroom group field experiences.

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