Animal Studies

Department Course Offerings

  • AS600 Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Animal Studies

    Animal Studies, a rapidly growing and evolving field, provides an interdisciplinary approach to examining the changing roles of animals in society, the evolution of human attitudes to other animals, and the animals themselves. This course draws upon the expertise of scholars in a sampling of disciplines to examine what each contributes to Animal Studies and, in turn, what Animal Studies contributes to the disciplines considered. 3 credits

  • AS601 Understanding the Human-Animal Bond

    This course provides an interdisciplinary examination of the human animal relationship. Topics include relationships with pets, psychological and physiological benefits of companion animals, concern for animal rights and animal welfare, the role of animals in children's lives and in schools, and demographic differences in people's relationships with animals. 3 credits

  • AS602 Sociology of Animal Abuse

    The sociological approach to animal abuse examines human cruelty to animals from several perspectives. How do different groups arrive at definitions of animal abuse, and what claims are made by various groups, whether psychologists, legal scholars, or activists, to have a particular definition of abuse recognized? The course also critically examines the potential and contextual impact of cruelty to animals on people. Individualized forms of animal abuse, such as cruelty and neglect, and institutionalized abuses such as the use of animals for research, hunting, and food are also examined. 3 credits

  • AS605 Animals and Ethics

    This course provides an overview of the current debates about the nature and extent of our moral obligations to animals. Topics include general theories of ethics and their implications for animals, moral argument analysis, animal minds, and the uses of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, entertainment, hunting, as companions, and other purposes. 3 credits

  • AS606 The Literary Animal: Raising Consciousness Through Fiction

    Literature provides insight into human attitudes toward nonhuman animals. It also uses nonhumans as a means of examining and understanding what it means to be human. Literature also can provide a lens through which human animals may learn more about their nonhuman neighbors, offering insights into their biology, behavior, and culture, as well as the difficulties animals face in ever-changing habitats. Animal literature can raise consciousness about animals and encourage both empathy towards and activism for nonhumans. 3 credits

  • AS613 Global Animal Issues

    Animal welfare advocacy has typically been focused locally (e.g. shelters) and nationally (e.g. changing laws and corporate behavior). However, in the past thirty years, a significant international advocacy movement has emerged that is promoting animal welfare issues to international agencies and developing coalitions to prevent animal suffering across the globe. This course tracks the development of the international animal protection movement and examines its tactics and impact over a range of issues. 3 credits

  • AS616 Animal Behavior, Animal Minds, and Animal Protection

    The study of animal behavior (ethology), particularly the study of animal minds (cognitive ethology), offers important insights for animal welfare and animal protection. Knowledge (and beliefs) about animal minds inform how we treat animals in the wide variety of venues in which animals are used (food, clothing, education, research, and entertainment). This course takes a comparative, ecological, and evolutionary view of animals and animal behavior, discussing a wide range of species and contexts. 3 credits

  • AS617 Animal Protection and the Environment

    This course examines the convergence and divergence of animal protection and environmental movement interests, which have far-reaching strategic and policy implications for animals. Factory farming, climate change, hunting, and sustainability are among the topics considered. 3 credits

  • AS620 Animal Sentience

    As the bedrock of ethics and moral systems, sentience is at the very core of arguments to ascribe basic rights to animals. This course surveys the current scientific evidence for sentience in all the major vertebrate groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes), plus emerging evidence for sentience in some invertebrate groups. Sentience is chiefly defined as the capacity to experience forms of pain and pleasure, but other relevant capacities such as consciousness, awareness and emotionality will be explored. Students will also examine the scientifically- and politically-charged controversies regarding animal sentience, and will complete the course with a better understanding of “where to draw the line” on animal sentience. 3 credits