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Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations(Fall 2011)

Page history last edited by ike sharpless 10 years, 4 months ago

Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations (Fall 2011)


Using this Page:  We will primarily use this page to compile and examine current events assignments. Assignments are due by Wednesday evening and should pertain to the regions or topics discussed since the last assignment. The articles you find should generally be short enough for people to have a chance to browse them, but long enough that we can learn from them. A partial-page Economist article is a good length. In order to receive credit for each assignment, you need to do one of the following two things: 1) write a short paragraph in the comments section of this page explaining why this article or piece caught your attention, and how you think it relates to our studies, or 2) write a short paragraph (or more, if you want) in the comments section of another student's post. You are of course free to do both; this forum is meant to be interactive, and you should feel free to comment however and wherever you want on the pbworks page.



  • 1st Short Paper (and in-class exercise): NGO Case Study (20%)

    • Written assignment (15%)

    • Informal class presentation (5%)

  • 2nd Short Paper: Reading Response (20%)

  • Research Paper (40%)

    • Outline (5%)

    • Rough Draft (5%)

    • Final Draft (30%)

  • Participation (20%)

    • 20% of this grade will be based on student uploads to the pbworks website (2% each, due 2 hours before class, but preferably the evening prior. There are eleven upload options—one per week, excepting the session on NGOs—and you need to do ten of them)

    • Although there is no specific grade for in-class participation, active and productive participation will help if your final grade is hovering between two grades; the inverse, regarding poor participation, is also true.


NGO Analysis Guidelines: Additional details on this assignment will be provide in class, but the 3-5 page written assignment should: pick a Non-Governmental Organization that is a relevant actor in an animal protection issue (You're welcome to pick either an animal advocacy organization like the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a livestock trade group like the Animal Ag Alliance (AAA), or a pro-biomedical research group like the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR). Your paper should, at the very least, answer the following questions: Who is their audience? What are their core subjects? What tactics do they use? What kind of a budget do they have, and how do they get their money? Do you think they're an effective organization? Why or why not?


Reading Response Guidelines: Select two related works we've read, and compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses. This assignment should demonstrate both an understanding of the authors' key ideas and some critiques of their potential shortcomings. This paper should be 4-6 pages long; clarity is valued over length. In essence, what I am looking for is a balance between demonstrating that you've thoroughly read the works in question (and aren't just regurgitating the class notes) and an engagement with your critical views on those works—too much of your opinion and I can't tell that you've done the reading, and too much outlining the text and I don't get any sense that you've grappled critically with the text at all.


Research Paper Guidelines: Full guidelines will be distributed in class. Generally, though, this paper should address one or more of the issues we discuss in class, but should do so in greater detail. I will be soliciting topics throughout the course, and you will have to submit an outline and a rough draft, both of which will be graded on an all-or-nothing basis. Unless we agree on a different format, your paper has to be 12-15 pages long, and you need to have at least 15 unique sources. (Alternate format: If you would prefer to engage in a hands-on final project with a less research-oriented written component, I am happy to discuss this option. We will discuss this more thoroughly in class. Less traditional formats—including fictional works, grant proposals, and the like—would also be welcome, but only if you approach me well in advance.)


Student Upload Guidelines: You are expected to upload a relevant link, video, or other media source with a comment relating the ideas of the thinkers we are discussing to a pertinent current issue. The mechanism for logging on to the pbworks site will be explained in class. If, however, you are ever unable to upload a link to the website, just send me your link and comment and I will upload them for you. Unless I specify otherwise, the links should be related to the ideas covered in any class since the previous upload. If possible, you should also try to leave a comment on at least a few other students’ posts throughout the semester—while not officially graded, I will consider giving you extra credit if you post a lot of comments. (Alternate format: if, instead of posting to the pbworks site, you would like to set up your own blog on a related topic and update it weekly, that would be fine with me. See my blog, at ikesharpless.com, for an example of a similar format.)


Relevant Assignment Dates

Date Session Name Assignment Resources
Introducing Public Policy
NGO Case Study
Post comments and links here
Animals as Food, 1
Reading Response
Guidelines listed above
Animals as Food, 2
Research Paper, Outline
Guidelines to be discussed in class
Animals as Symbols
Research Paper, Rough Draft
Guidelines forthcoming
n/a (soon after last class)
Research Paper, Final Draft Guidelines forthcoming



Thursday Upload Dates

Date Session Name Assignment
Animals as Companions
First pbworks upload
Animals as Ethical Subjects

Second pbworks upload

Wild Animals - guest session by Allen Rutberg
Third pbworks upload
Animal Consciousness Fourth pbworks upload
Animals as Food, 1
Fifth pbworks upload
Animals as Food, 2
Sixth pbworks upload
Animals as Experimental Subjects
Seventh pbworks upload
Animals in Edutainment
Eighth pbworks upload
Animals as Symbols
Ninth pbworks upload
Animal Law
Tenth pbworks upload
Two Legal Case Studies
Eleventh pbworks upload



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