Representation of Animals Through Religion (ANTM106)

15 credits

In this module you will examine a wide range of human and non-human interactions that occur through religious representations, ceremonial practices, and ethical discourses. From the earliest forms of sacred custom, to the rise of “world” religions, through to contemporary discourses of spirituality, human-animal relationships have encountered religion in a diversity of ways. Stimulating and comprehensive in its scope, the module provides you with the opportunity to explore the range of ways that non-human animals are created through religion, from the anthropomorphism, deification, and worship of animal gods, to the ways that they are presented in religious art, animals as sacrificial gifts, the correct ritual prescriptions for the slaughter of animals, and animal welfare as the focus of compassionate religious discourse. The module will also examine the representation of animals in deep ecology and “new age” spirituality. The module will also discuss bereavement and pet funerals and, intriguingly, the religious experience of animals themselves.

There are no pre-requisites, and the module would be particularly suitable for students on other programmes, particularly religious and political studies, psychology, and studies exploring ecology, conservation, and sustainability.