This course explores how animals and people are situated within the web of structures and connections known as “society.” Module 1 considers some of the key symbolic roles that animals play in society by investigating the practice of “thinking with animals.” We investigate how people construct different meanings of animals and the implications these meanings have for both animals and humans. You will gain first-hand experience of this by analyzing how animals are represented in the media. Modules 2 and 3 investigate human-animal relationships, including those that involve suffering as well as those that are beneficial. Although many people describe their pets as friends or family members, Module 2 takes a deeper dive into what constitutes friendship and family membership where other species are concerned. Module 3 examines the dark side of these relationships, focusing on animal abuse and its relationship to domestic violence. Module 4 focuses on people’s encounters with those animals outside the boundaries of the home and the farm. The way people understand and regard the species commonly considered “wild” shapes the treatment and moral status of these animals.
About this Course
Skills you will gain
University of Colorado Boulder
CU-Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with five Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies.
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TOP REVIEWS FROM ANIMALS, SELF, AND SOCIETY
It was a very productive course
Excellent course. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of very good information!!
Awesome course! Learned a lot. Very interesting and easy to learn from. Educational. I am studying to be a vet tech and this will be a valuable course on my resume.
A really great course, easy to follow lectures and great information! I had a really fun time with it, and the peer graded assignment really solidified what I had learnt. I definitely recommend! :)
About the Animals and Society Specialization
Animals matter for human existence in so many ways that it is difficult to imagine the entity we call “society” without them. They figure heavily in our language, food, clothing, family structure, economy, education, entertainment, science, recreation, and other areas of social life. In this specialization, we will investigate a range of topics, many of them controversial. Although this is a sociology course, the field of human-animal studies is interdisciplinary. Many of the suggested readings come from fields outside of sociology, but this specialization emphasizes their sociological relevance throughout each course.
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