Humans Among Animals
KHC AN 101
This course examines some of the ways humans understand (other) animals, and how we use animals to understand ourselves. Considering wild, herded, and domestic species, we ask what is known and unknown about animal thought, feeling, and communication; (2) what humans assume, believe, and imagine about these knowns and unknowns; and (3) what roles language and culture play in these understandings in contemporary societies variously engaged in hunting, herding, farming, and pet keeping. We will see how the lines people draw between humans and animals, or culture and nature, get redrawn - for psychological, political, and other reasons -- and explore where they blur in the light of new discoveries, and in the twists and turns of story and humor. Case material on selected species, human languages and societies will come from various settings in Africa, Europe, and North America. Our approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on anthropology, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and zoology. Findings will have practical, legal, and ethical implications, bearing on some of the most pressing issues of our time.