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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Evaluate the relevance of studying animals anthropologically;
- Appreciate the culturally constituted dimensions of animals;
- Understand the various roles of animals in the discipline and its development, in webs of power and disempowerment, globalisation, social relations, debates about the constitution of human-ness, and culturally specific interpretations of animals;
- Participate in a community of scholars organised around an interest in animals;
- Build in depth knowledge of particular topics according to the student's own program of study to the student's own emerging interests; and
- Critically apply anthropological ideas and techniques to the study of animals.
Indicative AssessmentParticipation (15%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]
Tutorial presentation, 20 minutes (20%) [Learning Outcomes 4, 5, 6]
Major essay, 6000 words (65%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 5, 6]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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