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Four papers are required in this course. Each paper assignment is presented below.

Paper 1

Due: In class, on lecture 5; Length: 5-6 pages

Write an essay about your own relation to one of the topics to be covered in class this semester. Your paper can focus on a specific animal, such as a pet, or a specific experience, such as a visit to a zoo or a fishing trip or an internship in a veterinary clinic, or a commitment such as vegetarianism or pro- or anti-vivisection. The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to think concretely about your own experience, but also to reflect on that experience and set it in a larger context.

Paper 2

Due: In class, on lecture 12; Length: 5-6 pages

This assignment asks you to connect Anna Sewell's humane agenda in Black Beauty with the convictions and strategies of some of her modern successors. You should choose a particular issue and approach (if nothing comes to mind, you could look at some of the links to animal protection Web sites on the MIT server-or you could delve further into the anti-foxhunting ban that we discussed in class). Be sure to pick something that is reasonably focused. In the first part of your paper, you should distill Sewell's arguments for humane treatment of horses and her recommendations for how to achieve this goal from her fictional narrative. Then you should compare these arguments and recommendations to the arguments and recommendations (or strategies) of the modern group you have chosen. In what sense can the modern animal advocates be considered to descend from 19th-century humanitarians like Sewell?

Paper 3

Due: In class, on lecture 18; Length: 5-6 pages

The question of the closeness of humans to other animals (or even whether the term "other animals" is appropriate) has become very contentious in recent years. For example, it underlies much of the anxiety surrounding the advocacy of "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution. But it often turns out that people's actions imply different assumptions than do their words. For this paper select a particular animal (or small group of animals) that has been the focus of public attention-for example, Keiko the orca, or the giant pandas at the Washington zoo, or Koko the Stanford gorilla-and examine the ways that people have discussed him, her, or them. To what extent is the discussion conditioned or determined by anthropomorphism? By awareness of the animal's anatomy and physiology? By explicit or implicit inclusion of the animal in human society?

In this paper you will need to cite sources from newspapers, periodicals, etc. Be sure to attribute all your sources. If you use internet sources, you should give the complete url (that is, not just the homepage of the Web site) and also indicate the date on which you last accessed it.

Paper 4

Due: In class, on lecture 25 (oral); In class, on lecture 26 (written); Length: At least 5 pages

In your readings from Reel Nature, Gregg Mitman is primarily concerned with an earlier epoch of wildlife films (beginning with the period that we have studied with regard to big game hunting and natural history museums), although he gives some attention to recent work at the end. Based on the episode from David Attenborough's series, The Life of Mammals, that you have selected to analyze, how would you describe the evolution of wildlife documentaries? How would you explain the differences between early films and those being made at present?

Remember that you need to give citations for quotations or arguments that you take from Mitman's work, as well as from any other print or electronic sources that you consult. When you refer to the film, you can use the subtitle function to make sure that you know exactly what Attenborough is saying.