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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, for example, for food or entertainment? What are our responsibilities with respect to wild animals (for example, conserving species) and animals that share human spaces (for example, 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 from multidisciplinary perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. It aims to provide a grasp of key issues in the burgeoning field of animal studies and to extend this knowledge to more specific topics through the use of film, 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 2016/17, 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) Essay (3000 words) (60%)
Presentation (20%)
Reading portfolio (20%)

The individual oral presentations are 15 minutes, using powerpoint slides and assessed based on the presentation only. Submission of essay and reading portfolio is via Learn as well as a hard copy.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gain a critical understanding of conceptions of animal capacities and historical and contemporary theories about the nature of animals;
  2. Evaluate key theories of animal ethics, from animal rights and welfare to more recent relational approaches;
  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. 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
Animal Studies Group, ed. 2006. Killing Animals U. Illinois Press.

Armstrong, S. and Botzler, R., ed. 2004. The Animal Ethics Reader. McGraw Hill.

Baker, S. 2001. Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation. U. Illinois Press.

Beauchamp, T. and Frey, R. ed. 2012. Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics (online)

Bekoff, M. ed. 2004. Encyclopedia of Animal Behaviour. Greenwood.

Birke, L. and Hockenhull, J., ed. 2012. Crossing boundaries investigating human-animal relationships. Brill (online)

Buller, H. 2015. Animal geographies I. Progress in Human Geography, 38:2.

Buller, H. 2015. Animal geographies II: Methods. Progress in Human Geography, Buller, H. 2015. Animal geographies III: Ethics. Progress in Human Geography 39:3.

DeGrazia, D. 1996. Taking Animals Seriously. Cambridge UP.

DeMello, M. 2010. Teaching the Animal: Human-Animal Studies Across the Disciplines. Lantern.

DeMello, M. 2012. Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies. Columbia UP.

Donaldson, S. and Kymlicka, W. 2011. Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights. Oxford.

Gruen, L. 2011. Ethics and Animals: An Introduction. Cambridge UP
Freeman, et al. 2011. Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-animal Relations. Ashgate. (online)

Fudge, E. 2002. Animal. Reaktion.

Fudge, E. 2008. Pets. Reaktion.

Haraway, D. 2008. When Species Meet. University of Minnesota Press.

Hearne, V. 2007. Adams┐s Task. Skyhorse.

Ingold, T, ed. 1988. What is an Animal? Unwin Hyman.

Kalof, L. ed. 2007. The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings.

Kim, C.J. 2015. Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age. Cambridge University Press.

Marvin, G. and McHugh, G. ed., 2014. Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies. Routledge. (online)

Midgley, M. 1998. Animals and Why They Matter. Georgia UP.

Norton, B. et al, ed. 1995. Ethics on the Ark: Zoos, Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation. Smithsonian.

Palmer, C. 2010. Animal Ethics in Context. Columbia.

Philo, C. and Wilbert, C., ed. 2004. Animal Spaces, Beastly Places. Routledge.

Reaktion series on animals.

Singer, P. 1995. Animal Liberation, 2nd ed. Pimlico.

Thomas, K. 1983. Man and the Natural World. Allen Lane.

Wolch, J. and Emel, J. 1998. Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands. Verso.

JOURNALS: Society and Animals; Between the Species; Anthrozoos; Journal for Critical Animal Studies; Animal Studies Journal; Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies.
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 Paula Escobar
Tel: (0131 6)50 2543
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