Phil 296 0 Animals and Society

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PHIL 296/3.0

Animals and Society
Term: Winter 2015

Time: Tuesday: 10:00 – 11:30/Thursday: 8:30 – 10:00

Location: Miller 201 (south side of Union near Division)

Dr. Zipporah Weisberg


Office hours: Thursday: 10:30-12:30

Location: Room 335, Watson Hall (Dept. of Philosophy)
Teaching Assistant

Frédéric Côté-Boudreau

PREREQUISITE: Completed 30.0 or more units.
Course Description

This course provides students with an introduction to the nascent but rapidly growing field of animal studies. We will examine the ethical and political implications of the use of animals for food, clothing, biomedical research, and entertainment. We will also explore our relations with wild animals (including both animals in the wilderness and the urban wildlife that live amongst us). Western societies have historically operated on the unquestioned assumption that humans have the right to use, and if necessary to harm or kill, animals for human benefit. Yet the traditional justifications for this assumption are being increasingly challenged as we learn more about the complex mental and emotional capacities of animals and as the public becomes informed about the nature, scale, and scope of systemic violence against them. Animal studies scholars propose a variety of alternative ethical and political frameworks by which to protect animals from systemic abuse and to reshape human-animal relations within a more peaceable paradigm. Some theorists call for protecting animals from harm on the basis of their capacity for sentience, but do not object to killing animals. Others call for the attribution of personhood to animals and the abolition of their property status, while some suggest according citizenship or sovereignty to animals. We will explore these debates over the status of animals and their relationship to human beings, and consider what society would look like if it were restructured to include nonhuman animals as ethical and political subjects and as members of society. We will also examine the structural and ideological links between various forms of oppression, especially the oppression of women and animals.


Bi-weekly lectures with opportunity for activities and discussion in class.

Approximately 50 pages of reading per week.

1. Short reflection paper (10%): Due in class on Thursday, Jan. 29th.

Write a short reflection paper of 750-1000 words responding to Colin McGinn's discussion in his "Editor's Introduction" to Mark Rowland's, Animals like Us (2002) (available on Moodle) of the difference between "intrinsic" and "instrumental" value. Do you think all or some animals have intrinsic value, or are all or some animals valuable only instrumentally? What are the different ethical obligations we owe, if any, to animals who are either intrinsically or instrumentally valuable? Is it ethically acceptable to exploit animals in the latter category without limits, as long as their alleged purpose or function is fulfilled? Do you think that it is possible or desirable to attribute intrinsic value to animals who are typically regarded as being only instrumentally valuable and vice-versa? To what extent is the nature of animals' value culturally determined? Does this matter? Why or why not?

2. Mid-term exam (25%): In class on Thursday, February 12th. Definitions, short answers, two of three essay questions.
3. Ethology Writing Assignment (10%): Due in class on Tuesday, February 24th. Over the reading break, take *one hour* to closely observe one animal interacting with the subjects and objects in her environment. Possible animals and locations include your own companion animal, a duck or goose by the lake, a squirrel in the park, a raccoon rooting through your garbage bin, a kitten, cat, rabbit, gerbil, bird, reptile, or fish in a pet store, or an elephant, dolphin, or other wild animal in a zoo or waterpark, a chicken, pig, cow, or any other animal on a farm. (I will provide a list of pet stores around town and other potential locations.) Once you have chosen a site and an animal to observe, put on your proverbial ethologist's cap and, using what you have learned in class about ethological (and phenomenological) analysis, explore the dynamics of the animal in her 'world.' What kinds of activities is the animal engaged in? Who is she interacting with and what is the nature of their interaction? What is her emotional state? Does it change? What triggers the change? What is her body language? What kinds of facial expressions does she have? What objects seem to be of most interest to her? What kind of meaning(s) do those objects seem to have for her? Does she notice you? If possible, spend more than one session with the animal so that you can develop some kind of relationship with her (but this is not mandatory). Discuss your observations in a short written report of 1000 words.
4. Final Essay (25%): Due Friday, April 10th in the Philosophy Dept. Drop Box. Write a paper (2000 words) exploring one of the four following topics:

  1. Explore the relationship between *one* of the following issues concerning overlapping oppressions between humans and animals: domestic violence against women/girls and animal abuse; pornography and the objectification of animals (esp. in the meat industry); colonialism and zoos; economic oppression and animal exploitation. Another potential topic is the traumatization of slaughterhouse workers or animal researchers.

  1. Make an argument for either reforming or abolishing the use of animals for one of the following: food, entertainment, or biomedical research.

  1. Discuss the merits and limitations of according citizenship, denizenship, and/or sovereignty to nonhuman animals. You may choose one political category to examine in depth, compare two, or focus on all three categories.

  1. Choose your own topic. You may, for example, wish to write on one of the topics not explored, such as hunting and masculinity, or the historical trajectory of the fur industry (from pre-colonial, to colonial, to postcolonial times). Please run your topic by me first.

Draw on the relevant sources discussed in class and at least *three* additional outside scholarly sources (refereed journal articles, scholarly books). I will provide a list of five potential sources for each topic. Do *not* use websites, Wikipedia, or social media.
5. Final exam (30%): During exam period (exact date TBA): Definitions, short answers, two of three essay questions.

1. Textbook: DeMello Margo. Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

2. Additional required readings available on Moodle. Further readings and readings required for assignments are also available on Moodle.
Statement about Students with Disabilities

Queen's University is committed to achieving full accessibility for persons with disabilities. Part of this commitment includes arranging academic accommodations for students with disabilities to ensure they have an equitable opportunity to participate in all of their academic activities. If you are a student with a disability and think you may need accommodations, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) and register as early as possible.  For more information, including important deadlines, please visit the DSO website at: 

Academic Integrity

According to “Academic Regulation 1: Academic Integrity, ‘Plagiarism [is] (presenting another’s ideas or phrasings as one’s own without proper acknowledgement). Examples: copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source, or other resource without proper acknowledgement; copying from another student; using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without appropriate acknowledgement; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s).’"

For more information on Queen's Academic Integrity policy, please visit:
Electronic Devices

The use of laptops, tablets, iPads, smart phones, and other electronic devices is *not* permitted during lecture, except by students with special needs. A doctor's note or note from the Disability Services Office must be provided by students requiring the use of electronic devices. No exceptions.

Week 1
Lecture 1: Jan. 6 - Introducing Animal Studies

DeMello, Margo. Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Chapter 1: "Human-Animal Studies," 3-31.
Lecture 2: Jan. 8 - The 'Great Divide'

Patterson, Charles. Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern Books, 2002. Chapter one: "The Great Divide: Human Supremacy and the Exploitation of Animals," 1-26.
Week 2
Lecture 3: Jan 13 - Classifying and Naming Animals

John Berger: Why Look at Animals. London; New York: Penguin, 1980. Chapter 3: "Why Look at Animals?"12-37.
DeMello - Chapter 3: "The Social Construction of Animals," 44-60.

Le Guin, K. Ursula. "She Unnames Them." The New Yorker. January 21, 1985.

Lecture 4: Jan. 15 - (Re)Discovering Animal Consciousness

DeMello - Chapter 17: "Animal Behavior Studies and Ethology," 349-376.
Griffin, Donald R. and Gayle B. Speck. "New Evidence of Animal Consciousness." In The Animal Ethics Reader, second edition. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler, 126-135. London; New York: Routledge, 2008.
Week 3
Lecture 5: Jan. 20 - Animal Perception

Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage Books, 1996. Excerpts from chapter two: "Philosophy on the Way to Ecology: A Technical Introduction to the Inquiry," 31-52.
Uexküll, Jacob von. A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with A Theory of Meaning. Translated by Joseph D. O’Neil. Posthumanities, vol. 12. Edited by Cary Wolfe. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. "Forward," "Introduction," 41-43; "Environment Spaces" 53-54; "Goal and Plan;" 92-4 (Plates 2, 3, and 4 and 96-98; "The Same Subject as Object in Different Environments," 126-132; "Carriers of Meaning" 139-146.
Lecture 6: Jan. 22 - Animal Emotionality, Sociality, and Morality

Bekoff, Marc. The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Sympathy--and Why They Matter. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2007. Chapter one: "The Case for Animal Emotions and Why They Matter," 1-28.
Week 4
Lecture 7: Jan. 27 - Factory Farming: Commodification and Alienation

DeMello, Margo. Chapter 7: "The Making and Consumption of Meat." 126-145.
Torres, Bob. Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2007. Selections from chapter two: "Chained Commodities," 28-49
Lecture 8: Jan. 29 - Carnism and the Sexual Politics of Meat

Joy, Melanie. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2011. Chapter five: "The Mythology of Meat: Justifying Carnism," 95-113.
Adams, Carol J. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Continuum: New York; London, 2010. Selections from chapter 2: "The Rape of Animals, The Butchering of Women," 64-74.
*Short reflection paper due in class*
Week 5
Lecture 9: Feb. 3 - Arguments Against Vegetarianism/Veganism

Davis, Steven L. "The Least Harm Principle May Require that Humans Consume a Diet Containing Large Herbivores, Not a Vegan Diet." Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics v. 16, n. 4 (2006): 387-394.
Keith, Lierre. The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. Crescent City, CA: Flashpoint Press, 2009. Chapter 1: "Why this Book?" 1-12; Chapter 5: "To Save the World," 245-272.
Lecture 10: Feb. 5 - Farm Animal Welfare

Rollin, Bernard. "The Ethical Imperative to Control Pain and Suffering in Farm Animals." The Animal Ethics Reader, second edition. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler, 248-259. London; New York: Routledge, 2008.

Week 6
Lecture 11: Feb. 10 - Animal Experimentation

DeMello - Chapter 9: "Animals in Science." 170-193.

Fox, Michael Allen. The Case for Animal Experimentation: An Evolutionary and Ethical Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. Excerpts from chapter 4: "Animals in Research: Understanding the Context," 93-116.
Birke, Lynda. "Into the Laboratory." In The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings, edited by Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald, 323-335. Oxford; New York: Berg, 2007.
Lecture 12: Feb. 12 -
*In Class Mid-Term Exam*
*Reading Week - Feb 16-22*
Week 7
Lecture 13: Feb. 24 - Arguments For and Against Zoos

Hutchins, Michael, Brandie Smith, and Ruth Allard. "In Defense of Zoos and Aquariums: The Ethical Basis for Keeping Wild Animals in Captivity." In The Animal Ethics Reader. Second Edition. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler, 513-521. London; New York: Routledge, 2008.
Jamieson, Dale. Morality's Progress: Essays on Humans, Other Animals, and the Rest of Nature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002. Chapter 11: "Against Zoos," 166-175.
*Ethology Writing Assignment Due in Class*
Lecture 14: Feb. 26 - The Colonial Legacy

Malamud, Randy. "Zoo Spectatorship." In The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Edited by Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald, 219-236. Oxford; New York: Berg, 2007.
Sorenson, John. "Monsters: The Case of Marineland." In Animal Subjects: An Ethical Reader in a Posthuman World, edited by Jodey Castricano, 195-222. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier Press, 2008.

Week 8
Lecture 15: March 3 - The Ethics of Keeping "Pets"

DeMello - Chapter 8: "The Pet Animal." 146-169.
Palmer, Clare. "Killing Animals in Animal Shelters." In The Animal Ethics Reader. Second Edition. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong and Richard G. Botzler, 570-578. London; New York: Routledge, 2008.

Lecture 16: March 5 - Animal-Assisted Interventions

DeMello - Chapter 10: "Animal-Assisted Activities." 194-214.

Week 9
Lecture 17: March 10 - Animal Welfare and Animal Rights

Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New Revised Edition. New York: Avon Books, 1990. Chapter 1: "All Animals Are Equal," 1-24.
Regan, Tom. Animal Rights, Human Wrongs: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy. Lanham; Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Chapters 7-8: "Animal Rights" and "Objections and Replies," 91-98; 99-114.
Lecture 18: March 12 - Animals as Persons

Francione, Gary L. Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. "Introduction: The Abolition of Animal Use Versus the Regulation of Treatment," 1-24.
Week 10
Lecture 19: March 17 - Feminist Care Ethics

Donovan, Josephine. "Attention to Suffering: Sympathy as the Basis for Ethical Treatment of Animals." In The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics, edited by Josephine Donovan and Carol J. Adams, 174-198. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Lecture 20: March 19 - Justice for Animals

Garner, Robert. A Theory of Justice for Animals: Animal Rights in a Nonideal World. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Chapter 1: "Introduction - Animals, Justice, and Nonideal Theory," 1-19.

Rowlands, Mark. Animals Like Us. London; New York: Verso, 2002. Chapter 6: "Justice for All," 58-69.

Week 11
Lecture 21: March 24 - The Capabilities Approach

Nussbaum, Martha C. “Beyond ‘Compassion and Humanity’: Justice for Nonhuman Animals.” In Current Debates and New Directions, edited by Cass R. Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum, 299-320. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Lecture 22: March 26 - Animal Citizenship, Denizenship, and Sovereignty

Donaldson, Sue and Will Kymlicka. Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 3: "Extending Animal Rights via Citizenship Theory," 50-72.
Week 12
Lecture 23: March 31 - The Animal Protection Movement

DeMello - Chapter 19: "The Animal Protection Movement." 396-418.

Lecture 24: April 2 - Women and the Animal Rights Movement

Gaarder, Emily. Women and the Animal Rights Movement. New Brunswick; New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2011. Chapter 3: "Where the Boys Aren't: The Predominance of Women in Animal Rights Activism," 41-60.

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