ANTHRO 163 Megafauna Among Us: Humans and Other Charismatic Animals





Zoe Eddy
Thursdays, 3:00pm-5:45pm

Whales, wolves, great apes, big cats, buffalo, bears-- these animals populate human cultural imaginations. From animal advocacy groups to zoos to movies, so-called "charismatic megafauna" and/or “flagship species” dominate a wide swath of debates. By focusing on a selection of animals, this course explores a) how people interpret these animals, and b) how human interactions impact these animals and their natural environments. Organized around different animals and the controversies, questions, and events surrounding them, this course will emphasize how animals reflect human understandings of morality, culture, and history. Course themes focus heavily on environmental activism, public and environmental policy, Indigeneity, and animals in tourism markets. While this class centers on North American case studies, international examples will help create a cross-comparative global context. In addition to exploring the cultural context of large animals, students will also learn how to approach these issues as anthropologists. Every class will feature a module wherein students tackle problems with different theory and methodology from anthropological research. This course relies on interspecies approaches to anthropological research on animals: critical use of interdisciplinary materials will generate multiple perspectives on the animals we study. Finally, Indigenous methodology and ontology about animals and the environment will serve as a foundation for discussion.

See also: Spring 2020