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2015-2016 Catalog

FYS 077 The Dog Course

"Man's best friend?" "Nature's" most successful parasite? Drawing on readings from across the disciplines (including literature, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and biology), the course inquiries into how the domestic dog has been constructed in human history and how, in our determinations of the dog's value as, e.g., companion, hunter, protector, medical specimen, etc., we circumscribe our own identity as "human." Specific areas of inquiry include the psychology of animal ownership, the science of dog behavior and cognition, and the question of animal agency. Through reflection on these issues, students will reevaluate their understanding of the complex bond between humans and dogs, the line between human and animal, and the question of what moral consideration humans owe animal others. Please note: This course requires interacting with dogs, and is not appropriate for anyone who may be fearful of or allergic to them.