Spring 2022

Animal Trials

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-239


Lindsay Stern (Section 01)


Laboratories are modern-day truth factories, but they are also places where monkeys bargain, dolphins mimic human speech, and rodents suffer heartbreak. What are the juridical conditions of possibility for the study of animal minds? Do the conclusions of certain experiments on animal subjects undermine their ethical justification? This course investigates the significance of animals to legal, literary, and scientific explorations of personhood. Ranging from philosophy to fiction and poetry, from ancient Indian rock edicts to medieval and early modern attempts to define the specifically human soul, we will inquire into the affinity between the foregone “animal trials” of the Middle Ages and the contemporary science of consciousness.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester.  Visiting Instructor Stern.

Class will meet two times per week for 80 minutes.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on discussion, readings and written work Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022