The aim of this class is to make you encounter animals in their habitats and in the texts of our Western authors. Building upon the traditional motif of the animal encounter, our curriculum examines how animals have been portrayed in our culture and history. While we begin our study with an exploration of how traditional ideas about “human exceptionality” have impaired our scientific, ecological and practical relations to animals, we also discover how both knowledge and relations with animals have improved in the last decades. Thanks to better scientists, more pragmatic philosophies and the role of social media, animals are starting to enter our worlds in newer and richer ways. From Facebook debates between Corvids' fans to the essays of Donna Haraway, animal encounters have become richer, more intimate. The goal of this class is to build on this intimacy in order to make you not only smarter about animals but also more discerning about human dogmas and prejudices.
Taught in English.
Open to French Minors and Majors who can do the reading assignments in French.