Fall 2016

Animals: Law, Ethics, Biopolitics

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-355  |  Political Science, as POSC-355

Faculty

Thomas L. Dumm (Section 01)
Adam Sitze (Section 01)

Description

(Offered as LJST 355 and POSC 355.) (Research Seminar)  The treatment and legal status of animals has often provided a rich resource for legal theory. Jeremy Bentham famously yoked the denial of rights to animals with pro-slavery arguments in order to argue that the basis of rights was not the shape of the body or the level of intelligence but the capacity to feel pain. Since then a considerable literature on animal rights and the nascent field of animal studies has emerged. This course covers many of these debates but goes further, asking what are the historically contingent grounds on which humans relate to animals? Such a perspective draws us to consider the contingency of moral arguments and the changing structures of sovereignty and legal personality.  Finally, in a world where at least a billion people have been reduced to what Giorgio Agamben calls "bare life," how do global capitalism and biopolitics shape our contemporary conceptions of human and animal?  Readings include Sunstein and Nussbaum, Animal Rights, Jonathon Safran Foer, Eating Animals, Giorgio Agamben, The Open: man and animal, J. M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello.

This writing-attentive seminar operates on twin tracks.  Over the course of the semester, students will identify, research, write and revise a topic resulting in a 30-page paper.  At the same time, weekly assignments will not only probe content but also focus on style.  What constitutes a piece of evidence in a research project?  How do writers make choices in the construction of sentences and paragraphs? 

Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professors Sitze and Dumm.

If Overenrolled: Priority would be given to LJST majors and Political Science majors

Keywords

Attention to Research, Attention to Writing

Offerings

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016