By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:
- Identify terminology related to the field of critical animal studies from the perspective of different disciplines
- Identify questions that shape critical animal studies and its main objectives
- Practise critical, creative and analytical thinking through close readings of examples from world literature, philosophy and cinema
- Describe the relevance and necessity of animals to some of our most crucial contemporary issues
- Read, summarize, compare and critically engage with scholarly articles
- Create and apply skills for developing and defending an argument
Your online learning will include the following methods:
- Academic and non-academic articles
- Participation in written discussions with other students
- Participation in videoconference seminars
For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.
Week 1: Why animals?
Why do we need to think about animals? In what ways do the figure of the animal impact the figure of the human? Is it possible to reconfigure the human/animal separation?
Kari Weil, Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now?
John Berger, “Why Look at Animals”
Gerald L. Bruns, “Otherwise than human”
Week 2: Animals as thought
The figure of the animal has long been a philosophical exploration. What does the “question of the animal” allow us to discuss in terms of ethics and the definitions of being human?
Matthew Calarco, “The Question of the Animal”
Thomas Nagel, “What is it like to be a bat?”
J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals
Week 3: Animals as symbol
Examples of literary and cinematographic representations of animals as metaphors or symbols are endless. This week’s readings and film invite us to think beyond conventions and explore alternative ways of representing the animal.
J.M. Coetzee, The Dog
Ceyda Torun, Kedi (film)
Charles Perrault, “The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots”
Angela Carter, “The Puss-in-Boots”
Week 4: Animals as food
We explore the politics of eating. What does our diet tell us about the broader political structures of the society we live in?
Carol J. Adams, “The Patriarchal Texts of Meat”
“Eating Well, or the Calculation of the Subject: An Interview with Jacques Derrida”
Sarah Salih, “Vegans on the verge of a nervous breakdown”
Books, materials and resources
You will access course resources using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.