Sociology | Topics in Social Policy
S360 | 28005 | Blouin

Learning and Doing Sociology:  Human and Animal Relations


In this course students will participate in a sociological
exploration of the relationship between humans and animals.  Animals
occupy a significant position in the lives of many people and are
deeply embedded in the functioning of human societies.  Yet, our
relations with and uses of them are largely unexamined.  Why do many
people eat one kind of animal and cuddle another?  Should animals
have rights?  Why and how long have people kept animals as pets?  The
course will address these questions while focusing on the following
broader issues:  historical and cultural variations in attitudes
toward animals, animal welfare problems such as pet overpopulation,
the benefits and disadvantages of pet-keeping, and the controversies
over animal rights.  In addition, this course offers students first-
hand experience in “doing sociology.”  Along with class meetings and
assigned readings, students will learn about sociology and human-
animal relations by conducting sociology research.  Students will
help design a research project, collect data, and write a report that
analyzes the data collected by the class.