• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Simone Dennis
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course examines animal-human relationships from a multiple of theoretical perspectives to explore the various positions that animals occupy in human (as pets, food, friends, enemies, beings with rights, organ donors and spectacles of nature). It also introduces students to some of the theoretical cornerstones (and classic readings) of the discipline of Anthropology.

What are animals? How do we classify them? What sorts of relationships do animals have to humans? What can the anthropological exploration of animals and their relationships to humans tell us about ourselves? Animals and their relationships with people have been of interest to anthropologists for a long time, and some theoreticians have even suggested that the anthropological exploring animal-human relationships allows the discipline to come to terms with its colonial past. Early understandings of animals focused on their sustenance and symbolic value, and structuralist perspectives placed animals centrally in marriage and other systems of great importance to human social lives. More recent approaches have retained the notion that animals are important because they offer insight into human conceptualisations of and actions in the world. These approaches, which arise from a multiple of theoretical perspectives, have attempted to nuance old dichotomies and to look into the interesting and sometimes conflicting positions that animals occupy as pets, food, friends, enemies, beings with rights, organ donors and spectacles of nature.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Students will develop analytic and critical thinking skills as well as increasing research and writing capacity. 

Students will demonstrate an existing capacity to deeply and critically analyse a range of classic and contemporary readings in the discipline, in an area of interest to their main research goals. This capacity will be evidenced in and through the production of the major essay. Students will develop an existing capacity to conduct research on an area of animal/human relationships of interest to them and to the discipline, and to develop and present critical insights in the area of animal-human relationships. This capacity will be facilitated by and evidenced in the production of the tutorial presentation. Students will gain experience in the professional practice of presenting a paper to an audience, responding to audience questions, and in working feedback from that audience into a professsionally polished paper. This will be facilitated and evidenced in the presentation of the tutorial paper, and the production of the subsequent minor essay. Additionally,  students can experience researching, presenting and then writing a paper in the same order that a professional researcher might. This is especially important for postgraduate students, who will need to develop this capacity to advance in the discipline as professionals.  Students will also develop presentation skills that will be of use in any academic or employment context in which oral presentations are expected.

Indicative Assessment

Minor essay (1,500 words 25%); major essay (2,500 words 40%); tutorial presentation (20%); tutorial participation (10%); tutorial attendance (5%).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


 Two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorials per week + 1-3 hours of personal study per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ANTH6519. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

None is required, but students will benefit from reading the following texts:

Mullins, M. 2002 ‘Animals in Anthropology' Society and Animals vol 10 (4) pp 378-393.

Mullin, M. 1999 ‘Mirrors and Windows: Sociocultural Studies of Human-Animal Relationships' Annual Review of Anthropology 28 201-24.

Bulliet, R. 2005 Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers: The Past and Future of Human-Animal Relationships. Col.:Columbia UP




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8601 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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