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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Animals and Society (PGGE11194)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat is an animal? What do we know about animal consciousness and animal intelligence? Is it right to use animals for human ends, e.g. for food or entertainment? What are our responsibilities with respect to wild animals (e.g. conserving species) and animals that share human spaces (e.g., companion animals and feral animals)? How is animal life represented and expressed through the arts and media, and how does this shape human-nonhuman relations? Are we entering a posthuman age where nonhuman animals have attained a new status and significance in society?

This course addresses contemporary issues concerning nonhuman animals (in particular, mammals), from multidisciplinary perspectives in the social sciences and humanities. It aims to provide a grasp of key issues in the new, burgeoning field of animal studies and to extend this knowledge to more specific topics through the use of films, guest lectures, student presentations, and a local field trip. The approach is largely conceptual and theoretical, but also intends to bring theory and practice together via topical case studies and other means.

The course begins with foundational questions concerning the nature of animals and animal capacities before moving to ethical questions about the treatment of animals. It then addresses the range of animal-human relations, from interactions with wild animals to those much closer to home, such as farm animals and companion animals. It then looks at our creative interactions with animals through representations and other forms of engagement in the arts and media.
Course description Week 1: What is an Animal?: Historical Perspectives
Week 2: What is an Animal?: Contemporary Perspectives
Week 3: Animal Capacities: Pain, Emotion and Consciousness
Week 4: Animal Ethics I: Animal Rights
Week 5: Animal Ethics II: Animal Welfare
Week 6: Innovative Learning Week: Film showing
Week 7: Animal Ethics III: Relational Ethics
Week 8: Wild Animals
Week 9: Domesticated and Companion Animals
Week 10: Feral Animals
Week 11: Representing Animals

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Modest costs for a local visit
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 3000 word essay (60%); presentation (20%); reading portfolio (20%)

┐ Essay submission date: 12 noon, Thursday 10th March 2016.
┐ Presentations by students take place during the course in weeks 3-11.
┐ Reading portfolio: Part I due 12 noon, Thursday 11th February 2016; Part II due 12 noon, Thursday 24th March 2016.

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1. gain a critical understanding of conceptions of animal capacities and historical and contemporary theories about the nature of animals
  2. 2. evaluate key theories of animal ethics, from animal rights and welfare to more recent relational approaches
  3. 3. gain a critical understanding of the relationship between humans and animals, and the place of animals in human societies in the past and present
  4. 4. use this knowledge to assess contemporary approaches to human-animal interactions and to inform their understanding of issues in contemporary environmental and geographical thought (within the humanities and social sciences).
Reading List
Key texts:

Armstrong, S. and Botzler, R., ed. 2003. The Animal Ethics Reader
Allen, C. ┐Animal Consciousness┐, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Baker, S. 2001. Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation
Beauchamp, T. and Frey, R. ed. 2012. Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics
Birke, L. and Hockenhull, J., ed. 2012. Crossing boundaries investigating human-animal relationships.
Coetzee, J. 1999. The Lives of Animals
Donaldson, S. and Kymlicka, W. 2011. Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights
Fudge, E. 2002. Animal
Fudge, E. 2008. Pets
Haraway, D. 2008.When Species Meet
Hearne, V. 2007. Adams┐s Task.
Ingold, T, ed.1988. What is an Animal?
Kalof, L. ed. 2007. The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings
Midgley, M. 1998. Animals and Why They Matter
Norton, B. et al, ed. 1995. Ethics on the Ark: Zoos, Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation
Palmer, C. 2010. Animal Ethics in Context
Philo, C. and Wilbert, C., ed. 2004. Animal Spaces, Beastly Places
Singer, P. 1995. Animal Liberation, 2nd ed.
Thomas, K. 1983. Man and the Natural World
Wolch, J. and J. Emel, ed. 1998. Animal Geographies

Journals: Society and Animals; Between the Species; Anthrozoos; Journal for Critical Animal Studies; Animal Studies Journal
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The transferable skills and skills developed through the course are to:
Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently using a variety of means;
Develop a sustained and reasoned argument; an ability to identify, acquire, evaluate and synthesise data from a range of sources;
┐ Formulate and evaluate questions and identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving;
Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management);
Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses;
Develop presentation skills.
Keywordsanimal studies; animal ethics; human-animal relations; animal geographies
Course organiserProf Emily Brady
Tel: (0131 6)50 9137
Course secretaryMrs Karolina Galera
Tel: (0131 6)50 2572
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