The Roar of the Lion: the lives and deaths of animals

Profs Ellen Finkelpearl and Jacqueline Wernimont

RoL takes its point of departure from several of the questions of Core I, but in particular from the issue of how we have historically understood what it means to be human and what the consequences of those understanding have been. We will take up what has often been the implicit “other” to the human: animals.
In many ways our syllabus will disrupt the common approach of moving through time and across space in a linear fashion. We do this, in part, to raise topical issues within a large field. While we will be historicizing and theorizing “the animal,” we will also be reading a range of literature “from the animal perspective.” This organization arises from our own interest in asking “how would the outlook change if we took seriously the perspective of the animal?”

In Core II, students will engage in a more sustained and focused interdisciplinary investigation making use of the methods and/or drawing on an issue or problem from Core I, and so will have a better capacity to:

  • 1. Understand how and why different disciplines approach seemingly similar objects of contemporary interest and/or historical importance from different perspectives, leading to different conclusions and material consequences;
  • 2. Use various disciplinary methods;
  • 3. Develop their own arguments in interdisciplinary contexts in writing and discussion; and
  • 4. Gain familiarity with and functional literacy for the debates in animal studies today.
  • Assignments include
    “Rants, raves, and questions” reading responses; book club; a disciplinary research proposal or final literary analysis; exams.

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