MIT OpenCourseWare


Subject Description

A historical survey of the ways that people have interacted with their closest animal relatives, for example: hunting, domestication of livestock, worship of animal gods, exploitation of animal labor, scientific study of animals, display of exotic and performing animals, and pet keeping. Themes include changing ideas about animal agency and intelligence, our moral obligations to animals, and the limits imposed on the use of animals.

Things to Remember

Written assignments should represent original and individual work.

Assignments are to be handed in on time. If an extension becomes necessary it should be requested ahead of the due date. Otherwise, lateness will be penalized.

Attendance is important. Not all the material to be covered in class is included in the readings. Be sure to bring your copy of the readings to discussion classes.


Grading will be based on the three written assignments, the oral presentation, and class participation (including informal reflections), weighted as follows:

Paper 1 1/6
Paper 2 1/6
Paper 3 1/3
Oral Presentation 1/6
Class Participation 1/6