Lecture: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
The following syllabi come from a variety of different terms. They illustrate the evolution of this course over time, and are intended to provide alternate views into the instruction of this course.
Fall 2010, Harriet Ritvo (PDF)
Fall 2008, Harriet Ritvo (PDF)
Fall 2007, Harriet Ritvo (PDF)
Fall 2005, Harriet Ritvo (PDF)
A historical survey of the ways that people have interacted with their closest animal relatives, for example: hunting, domestication of livestock, exploitation of animal labor, scientific study of animals, display of exotic and performing animals, and pet keeping. Themes include changing ideas about animal agency and intelligence, our moral obligations to animals, and the limits imposed on the use of animals.
The following books are recommended for purchase:
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty. Norwich, England: Jarrold & Sons, 1877.
Wells, H. G. The Island of Doctor Moreau. New York, NY: Stone & Kimball, 1896.
The schedule of readings is available on the Readings page, as well as additional required readings for graduate students. (Of course, undergraduates are very welcome to read them too.) Suggestions for supplementary reading and related Web sites are listed on the Related Resources page.
A research paper will be due at the end of the semester—12 pages for undergraduates, 25 pages for graduate students. A proposal will be due in Week 4. An annotated bibliography is due in Week 8. I will be happy to read and comment on drafts if they are submitted at least two weeks before the final paper is due. For inspiration, some topics students chose in Fall 2010 are provided:
In addition, each week students will hand in a brief (1-2 pages) response to the readings.
Students will give a brief oral report on the progress of their research in Week 8 and a 15-minute presentation in class during Week 13.
Grading will be based on the three written assignments, the oral presentation, and class participation (including informal reflection/response papers), weighted as follows:
Written assignments should represent original and individual work.
Assignments are to be handed in on time. If an extension becomes necessary it should be requested ahead of the due date. Otherwise, lateness will be penalized.
Attendance is important. Not all the material to be covered in class is included in the readings. Be sure to bring your copy of the readings to class.