Eastern Washington University
Media Studies, Film Studies
Representations of Animals
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.
Animals in Global Perspectives
María Elena Garcia
This course examines the multiple ways in which animals have entered transnational flows through the international economy of food and development programs, and the transnational movement around animal rights. The globalization of the “factory farm” model of production has implications for human and non-human animal lives as the epidemics of “mad cow” disease, avian flu, and “swine” flu have recently and dramatically demonstrated. While these diseases are often seen as separate to the “normal” workings of international political economies, this seminar will explore how they have emerged in and through the processes of industrialization and globalization. Students will also examine the implications of development programs that place “traditional animals” at the center of new strategies to confront poverty in many parts of the developing world. We will engage this new development literature and ask what the cultural and economic implications of this process are for local communities who often value animals for religious and social reasons that are incommensurable with the metrics of international development. Finally, students will explore the ethical and moral debates that have emerged under the rubrics of animal rights and animal welfare. While this debate has largely been seen as a “First World” phenomenon, this course will look at how concerns for the lives of non-human animals have been expressed by local communities and activists in a global context. Taking animals as the proverbial “fish in the water,” this course seeks to complicate and de-naturalize the common sense understandings that make non-human animals an all too invisible part of world politics.
Suffering: Animals, Violence, and the Consequences of Silence
María Elena Garcia
This advanced seminar invites students to engage intellectually with the idea and experiences of suffering. How do we think about suffering and, perhaps more importantly, how do we not think about it? Reviewing philosophical, cultural, and social questions about the nature of pain and violence, this course pays special attention to the suffering of non-human animals. In the United States, approximately 10 billion animals are killed each year in the food industry alone, although this does not include fish or other sea animals. Throughout the world, millions of animals are used in illegal fighting and trafficking circles, used in medical experiments, and killed in harrowing ways for their fur and skin. The pain and suffering that these and other animals endure in life, and during the process of death, is mostly hidden from public view. Do we consider the fate of pigs, chinchillas, or mice, in the same way that we think about the dogs or cats with whom we share a home? How do humans make decisions about the relative importance (and non-importance) of the suffering of particular animals? What are the consequences of those decisions?
Animal Planet: Food, Development and Activism in Global Perspective
María Elena Garcia
Violent Intimacies: Encountering the Animal
María Elena Garcia
The radical revaluation of animals within society
The Politics of Living and Dying
How are living and dying understood in contemporary critical theory? In what ways are the lives and deaths of humans and nonhumans governed by economic logics? Whose lives are privileged over others and with what consequences? How are conflicts rooted in racism, land dispossession, and settler-colonial histories implicated in making certain bodies killable? How do we understand and face the process of death and dying? How do we live and die well, and who has this privilege? This seminar interrogates these and other questions related to how we live and die with others in a multispecies world. With attention to race, gender, species, ability, and other sites of perceived difference, students will gain a nuanced understanding of core themes related to fundamental processes of living and dying. This course asks students to theorize real-world moments of living and dying – of ‘making live’ and ‘letting die’ – to understand the deeply political nature of life and death as differential moments on a continuum of being. We focus on key questions related to an affirmative politics of life – in other words, how we should live, how we care and for whom, and how we might foster nonviolent interpersonal life-affirming encounters. Students can expect to explore pressing contemporary issues such as mass incarceration and ‘social death;’ biotechnologies and ethics of patenting life; stem cell research; the intensive breeding, confinement and slaughter of nonhuman animals for food; ecological damage and Indigenous struggles over territory in extractive industry; end-of-life care and euthanasia; and the role of marginalized bodies in biomedical research.
Animals, Place and Politics: Doing Multispecies Ethnography
Students enrolled in this experiential learning seminar will gain a better understanding of the place of animals in society and the experience of animals within systems of commodity production and use. We will explore pets/companion animals, animals in entertainment, animals in the food system, and animals in medical research as case studies in order to theorize notions of power and difference, ethics and responsibility, and creativity in reimagining the status quo. This course will push the boundaries of how we think about different ways of being in the world. In particular, students will have the opportunity to explore the place of animals in society through time spent in the classroom and at Pigs Peace Sanctuary. As a lens through which to understand the lives of other-than-human animals, we will focus our work together on the ‘multispecies ethnography’, a methodological trend in anthropology dedicated to understanding the inner lives of animals and the impacts on their lives and bodies of their encounters with humans. Time spent in the classroom will be dedicated to engaging with readings, film and presentations related to the subject of animals in society and understanding the theory behind our ethnographic fieldwork. Our time at Pigs Peace Sanctuary will be dedicated to conducting an ethnography of a pig who lives there and a geography of the sanctuary itself. Each student will be paired with a pig and will work with that singular animal throughout the term. Through our work together, we will explore creative possibilities for pushing new boundaries in how we think about politics, power, place, ethics and interspecies relationships in our private and public lives.
Animals, Environment, Food, and Justice
How do we understand the ethical and political dimensions of the food system for animals, humans and the environment? How does animal agriculture operate as a dominant institution fraught with complex interspecies social relations? What are the impacts of animal agriculture on humans, animals, and the environment and what movements for justice are working to mitigate these impacts? This course explores issues of justice for humans, animals and the environment in animal agriculture primarily in the United States. Framed at the outset by George Orwell’s 1984, the course asks students to explore how discourse operates powerfully across space and time to shape processes of production and consumption and policies related to the meat, dairy and egg industries. The second part of the course contextualizes how agricultural and food policies are shaped. Next, we consider literature on climate change and the environmental impacts of industrial ‘livestock’ production. This provides context for Part 4, which aims to understand the way these production practices affect human laborers and surrounding communities. The fifth part of the course is dedicated to taking seriously the lives and deaths of animals at the center of the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Finally, the course concludes with a class on how we might envision futures of multispecies justice. In this class, we will spend time synthesizing all we have learned to envision practical alternative pathways forward (for food production, consumption and policy) that take seriously the plights of humans, animals and the environment.
Animals, Ethics and Food: Doing Multispecies Ethnography
Students enrolled in this course should gain a better understanding of the workings of the U.S. food system and the experience of animals within this system. Using animals in the food system as a case study, this course will explore notions of power and difference, ethics and responsibility, and creativity in reimagining the status quo. This course will push the boundaries of how we think about different ways of being in the world. In this experiential learning seminar, students will have the opportunity to explore the place of animals in the United States food system through experiential learning in the classroom and at Pigs Peace Sanctuary. As a lens through which to understand the lives of animals in the food system, we will focus our work together on the ‘multispecies ethnography’, a methodological trend in anthropology dedicated to understanding the inner lives of animals and the impacts on their lives and bodies of their encounters with humans. Time spent in the classroom will be dedicated to engaging with readings, film and presentations related to the subject of animals in the food system and understanding the theory behind our ethnographic fieldwork. Our time at Pigs Peace sanctuary will be dedicated to conducting an ethnography of a pig who lives there and a geography of the sanctuary itself. Through our work together, we will explore creative possibilities for pushing new boundaries in how we think about ethics and farmed animals in our private and public lives.
Animals, Ethics and Food: Deconstructing Dominant Discourse
In this advanced seminar, students will have the opportunity to explore the place of animals in the United States food system through various lenses. An interdisciplinary exploration of animals in the food system pushes us to encounter in the course issues of emotion and intellect, living and dying, discrimination and oppression, and the discourses that run as undercurrents throughout these issues. Most of all, drawing on an interdisciplinary body of work from both scholars and activists, we will introduce creative possibilities for pushing new boundaries in how we think about ethics and farmed animals in our private and public lives. Student should come to the first day of class having recently read George Orwell’s 1984. Week one of the course introduces students to thinking about how discourses are constructed about animals as food in the United States. This is a major theme throughout the course, and we will utilize Cathy B. Glenn’s ‘doublespeak’ and Orwell’s ‘doublethink’ to provide a frame for thinking through what work discourse does to obscure the current relationship between humans and animals in the food system. The first part of the course is dedicated to understanding the way animals live and die. Beginning with the industrialization of the food system is integral to understanding the experience of farmed animals. As a response to the industrialization of animal agriculture, alternative producers have gained more popularity in recent food localization and organics movements. Contemporary ethologists and animal behaviorists are contributing to a growing body of work on animal emotion and intellect that helps us to understand their lives more fully. Students will be encouraged to engage in conversations that explore questions such as: What do we gain from trying to understand and respect animals’ intellectual and emotional lives? How have notions of place and space in the industrialization of agriculture affected consumers’ understanding of the implications for animals of this kind of system? In alternative animal agriculture, how alternative is alternative? This course focuses on animals’ experience, but it also engages with important academic debates about the relationship between animal oppression in the food system and human experiences. Geographer Joni Seager (2003) asks us to consider ‘species’ alongside ‘race,’ ‘class,’ ‘gender,’ and ‘sexuality,’ as significant sites of oppression. How can studying familiar (or not-so-familiar) histories of discrimination and oppression help to inform an understanding of animals? How can dialogues about animals interrogate intersections among various sites of oppression? Finally, this course synthesizes what we learn throughout the quarter about animal lives and deaths, emotion and intellect, and discrimination and oppression in order to push the conversation further and in order to rethink discourse. We will take a field trip to a local animal sanctuary where students will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the animals we have learned about throughout the course. This final portion investigates ways to re-imagine our relationship to the animals we eat. What can we do with this information, and how can we grow as scholars and global citizens by taking seriously the plight of animals in the food system? What new possibilities emerge for animals and for humans?
En Vogue: From Feathers to Leather: A Contemporary and Historical Exploration of Animals in Fashion
Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle. Gucci, Armani, Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Heidi Klum. Paris, New York, Milan. The modern fashion industry is an amalgamation of corporate media giants, designer brands, individual icons, and select urban centers. Fashion is also embodied in the functional, everyday choices we make about what to wear, how these articles of clothing contribute to the construction of our identities, and why we make the choices we do. Thus, fashion is at once a celebration of the extraordinary, the astonishing, the unexpected and the ordinary, the mundane, the everyday. From the catwalks of Paris and Milan to the streets of Lynnwood and Tacoma, fashion—the clothing we wear—is connected to complex cultural, economic, political and ethical networks. And throughout time, animals have been deeply embedded at the heart of these networks through the use of their skin, their bones, their teeth, their hair, their feathers, their tails and other body parts in human fashion. These industries use various bodies and labor—human and animal—in commodity production. Animal use is ubiquitous in fashion and this course uses animals and fashion as a lens to get at two important intellectual sites of inquiry: 1) It will offer students the chance to explore the complex political, economic, and cultural dimensions of a multi-billion dollar industry with relevance for their everyday experience, and 2) it will encourage students to reflect on the personal, ethical, and intellectual dimensions of human/animal relations in specific empirical and more theoretically abstract ways. In addition to the more overt explorations of animal justice in the fur, leather, feather, wool, silk, and bone industries, the course material also addresses issues of human and environmental justice. Humans and the environment, like animals, are made vulnerable by the production and reproduction of fashion trends and the networks that promote these trends. Thus, students will begin by engaging with questions of vulnerable economies of export around the globe, sweatshop and child labor, environmental destruction and toxic effects of the fashion industry. An intersectional approach not only connects social justice issues of animals, humans and the environment to each other, but it also acts as a location for students to personally engage with these issues on their own terms. Using animals in fashion as a case study, this course explores the ways in which aesthetics are deployed to obscure certain realities about the production and consumption of commodities goods like clothing. Building an empirical and theoretical base informed by a Marxist social anarchist critical theory in Part 1, students will explore in Part 2 four specific case studies of animal use in fashion—fur, feathers, wool and leather. Finally, Part 3 of the course is dedicated to students sharing what they’ve learned about their own chosen topics through in-depth final project presentations.
Animals in the lives of children
How do animals impact children in their everyday life? What are the different ways children encounter animals? Why are interactions with animals important to children’s development and health? This seminar will provide an understanding of how children’s lives are enriched by the love and companionship of a pet. Topics include the role pets and therapeutic animals play in children’s health and development, animal assisted therapies, how young children think about animals and cultural attitudes towards animals. The course is discussion based and you will learn via classroom and on-site, using visuals and discussions with guests who work with children and animals.
Washington State University
Human-Animal Interaction: What We Know and What the Future Holds
Phyllis Erdman and Leticia Fanucchi
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.
Introduction to the Human Animal Bond
Animals, Ethics and Religion
Why are some animals considered food and others objects of religious devotion? Why do we treat dogs like family and kill flies without a second thought? Why do animals appear so frequently as metaphors in our everyday speech? In this course, students will explore these questions by reading texts featuring animals in literature, scripture, film, and theory, ranging from the Hebrew Bible, Franz Kafka, and Rainer Maria Rilke, to Robert Bresson, J.M. Coetzee, and Donna Haraway. We will bring these diverse texts together in order to investigate how animals illuminate religious questions about the relationship among humans, animals, and the divine. This discussion-based course is divided into five key themes: 1) naming, 2) eating, 3) companionship, 4) symbolism, and 5) sacrifice. Each unit brings together biblical, literary, and theoretical texts and examines how representations of animals reflect central religious concerns. In the words of Claude Lévi-Strauss, animals are “good to think with,” and in this class, animals will not only help us explore literary and religious questions, but also to examine our own presuppositions about human and animals. Distribution area: humanities.
Animals and Philosophy
Our lives are intertwined with the lives of animals. We eat them, wear them, and experiment on them, and yet we also consider them family members. What are animals such that they can serve all of these purposes? We will engage this question through two interrelated pathways. We will try to understand the mental lives of non-human animals. And we will try to define the moral dimensions of our relationship to animals.
German Studies and Environmental Studies
Moles, Memoirs, and Metamorphosis: Animals and Text
How do we understand humanity in reference to and against animality? How do poetic texts throughout history challenge the boundaries between humans and animals? How do writers envision the links between poetry, language, and animals in their work? And how do they make sense of and cope with environmental crises that threaten animals and humans alike? This course explores how writers and artists of the German-speaking world from Romanticism to Postmodernism reflect on and challenge the boundaries between humans and animals and animals and language. Students will engage in close and critical reading of literary texts by German speaking author and study theoretical texts from the fields of cultural and literary studies, continental philosophy, environmental humanities, and critical animal studies. Course taught in English.
History and Environmental Studies
Beastly Modernity: Animals in the 19th Century
Many people think that history has to be focused on humans. Furthermore, the modern era can seem like a period of minimal cohabitation with animals. However, many of the dramatic changes in the nineteenth-century world in the transition to modernity were irrevocably linked to the ways that humans interacted with, used, and thought about other animals. By investigating human history around the globe with an eye to the nonhuman actors within it, you will learn more about the different ways that humans relate to other animals and the importance of other living beings in human lives in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. This course considers the factors that shaped some of the most important trends in modern history, including: more extensive and faster transportation networks, modern urban design, scientific research, how nature is used as a resource, and the global increase in mass extinctions and invasive species. Class will be discussion based, including in-class debates and a presentation of your final research paper.