Lecture 2 What is an animal?
What is an animal?
○ How would you describe an animal to a young child?
- A living thing that can move
- Anything that's not a plant
- Music: "Animal Carnaval" [aquarium] - Saint Saen
- Complicate the binary of human and animal
- There is a binary ; Western ideology
- Blurring similarities/boundaries, anthropomorphism
- Relationship between humans and animals
- In different contexts, we see animals different
○ e.g. cow in a field, meat as food to feed hunger
- Conception of animals are fluid over time
- Argument of the dog by Joseph Taylor
- Threshold*, state of being
- Question: what is animal?
- Human / non-human division
- Animals get sorted into groups, classified into "an _____"
- Images of women
○ Women associated with wild animal
○ Associated with lions, tigers, snakes(=associated with temptation, danger)
○ Animal coding of her body
- Statue of David - by Michelangelo
○ This statue sculpture, naked
○ Ideal physical man and his body, gorgeous
○ Different views / associations
○ e.g. pet, lab experiment, disgust,
- Animals are resource used by humans
○ e.g. fur coat, Alligator shoe
Margo Demello, Animals and Society. Columbia University Press, 2012:4
"We are surrounded by animals. Not only are we ourselves animals, but our lives as humans are intimately connected to the lives of
nonhuman animals. Animals share our homes as companions whom we often treat as members of the family; ……." (will be sent
Lectures Page 1 "Human-Animal Studies (HAS) - - something known as Anthrozoology or animal studies - is an interdisciplinary field that explores
the spaces that animals occupy in human social and cultural worlds and the interactions humans have with them. Central to this
field is an exploration of the ways in which animal lives intersect with human societies."
- Focus of this course = human and animal relationships
- Think about portfolio .. Think of animal in terms of human-animal relationship
- (example of human-animal relationship - - eating steak every weekend, or .. The type of medication you take, may or may not
be associated with testing with an animal or involve some type of animal)
"Human-animal studies is not the study of animals - except in sofaras the focus of our study is both nonhuman and human animals.
But unlike ethology, comparative psychology, zoology, primatology, or the various animal behavior disciplines, HAS is not about
studying animals per se. Rather we study the interactions between humans and other animals, wherever and whenever we find
- Margo Demello. Animals and Society. Columbia University Press, 2012.
Emotions / Affect
- Critical to the way we relate to animals
- Issue of objectivity can be complicated
- Other emotions / emotional register - deep fear / horrid
Joseph Taylor's reading on THE DOG
- His emotional register / objective
- Instrumentalist perspective
- How the dog helps him as a human
- Characterization of the dog, moral orientation of the dog
- The dog comes across as a 'good Christian' - loving, loyal, friendly, forgiving, faithful, kindness to their masters/human
- He tells stories of dogs and the amazing things dogs have done
- Written in 1803
- Writing emotional
- He makes it clear it is not about domesticated dogs
Reflexivity = situating yourself with distance from research
- There is not such thing as true objectivity
- Research and exploring things, but not suggesting tha