Anthrozoology: Theory and Method (ANTM102)

30 credits

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS MODULE IS ONLY AVAILABLE VIA DISTANCE-LEARNING.

 

If you are interested in the many and varied ways in which humans think about and engage with animals, then this module is for you! This is the first module for the MA in Anthrozoology (and an optional module for other programmes) and as such introduces you to anthrozoology – the study of human interactions with nonhuman or 'other than human' animals. Anthrozoology is an emergent but rapidly growing discipline in its own right, and the study of human-animal or multi-species interactions and relationships can be approached from a whole host of disciplinary perspectives. This module (and the MA in Anthrozoology more generally) is grounded in socio-cultural anthropology, and therefore prioritises a cross-cultural, comparative approach to anthrozoology. As a result, you will be encouraged to think about unfamiliar as well as familiar ways of being with animals, which will often require you to set aside any 'cultural baggage' or preconceptions, and adopt a reflexive approach to emotive issues such as blood sports and animal sacrifice. While an anthropological approach to anthrozoology has numerous advantages, the traditional focus of anthropologists on the human animal also raise some significant theoretical and methodological issues which must be confronted in pursuit of an anthrozoological agenda. For example, are humans the only cultured species? What are the ethical implications of classifying humans in opposition to other animals? How can we begin to understand and interpret inter- or multi-species interactions? What are the risks and gains of bringing animals into the social sciences? These issues and many more besides will be explored via a selection of ethnographic case studies and a close reading of a range of seminal texts and the resulting theoretical discussions.