Animals and Society (HIST*2120) | College of Arts

Animals and Society (HIST*2120)

Code and section: HIST*2120*DE

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: Susan Nance


Course Synopsis:

The W20 offering of this course uses North America since 1600 as a case study. It provides a historical survey of modern human-animal relationships and the contradictions that characterize them in a consumer economy. Topics include: anthropocentrism over time, 19th century horses and animal breeding ideologies, anti-cruelty movements, pet-keeping and consumerism, animal figures in popular culture, natural history, taxidermy and the zoo, history of veterinary medicine, animals in sport and entertainment, 20th century urban wildlife, animals as biotechnology and research tools, and animals used in industrial agriculture.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. research and writing skills
  2. how to examine and clearly explain controversial historical subjects
  3. how to demonstrate an understanding of the power and limits of human agency with respect to other animals
  4. a sense of historical development by exploring changes over time with respect to human interaction with animals, as well as the human perceptions of and depictions of that interaction.
  5. how to demonstrate the predictive skills of the historian in observing and analyzing contemporary events and questions about human interaction with non-human species.

Methods of Evaluation:

Week 1 Online Introductions & Webquest Discussion - 5%
Online discussions (2 @ 10% each) - 20%
Periodic short essays (2 @ 15% each) - 30%
Digital primary source analysis & online presentation - 15%
Final examination (take-home) - 30%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

* Arnold Arluke and Robert Bogdan, Beauty and the Beast: Human-Animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905-1935 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2010).  – available on Courselink eReserve
* Jim Sterba, Nature Wars (New York: Broadway Books, 2012). – please purchase
* Jonathan S. Foer, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast (New York: Back Bay Books, 2019). – please purchase
* Also: a variety of articles, book chapters, films, and digital archives (all on ARES reserve)

*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.