People and Other Animals

A beaver in a pond, chewing on a submerged leaf.

A North American beaver in its native habitat. (Photo from the U.S. National Park Service.)


MIT Course Number

21H.909J / 21H.969J / 21A.390J / 21A.835J

As Taught In

Fall 2010


Undergraduate / Graduate

Cite This Course

Course Highlights

This course contains archived syllabi from various semesters.

Course Description

This class provides 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.

Archived Versions

Ritvo, Harriet. 21H.909J People and Other Animals, Fall 2010. (MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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