Curriculum & Course Descriptions

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HH2016: History of Animals

Course Coordinator: Asst. Professor Lisa ONAGA (email: lonaga@ntu.edu.sg)

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semster 1

Course type: BS-Major PE 

Pre-requisite: Students of all levels and majors may take this course, although it is suggested for students who have completed one year of coursework in either history OR biology. This is a seminar that depends heavily on class participation, so if you cannot commit to joining the class meetings, you may wish to join another class.

Course Type: BS-Major-PE

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours: Lectures: 6 hours ; Tutorials: 33 hours

Learning Objective:

• Gain a working familiarity with key concepts and issues in the study of animals in history.

• Apply historical research methodologies to how humans have studied non-humans.

• Exercise a deeper understanding of primary and secondary sources used to study beings and bodies incapable of narrating their own histories or leaving written historical records by developing practical and creative communication skills.

Content:  

This course is for students who want to hone a greater awareness and grammar with which to discuss about animals in history. You will gain the ability to explain to others the importance of animals in human society and in the biosphere through critical thinking skills sharpened by close readings and writing, paired with careful observation of the natural and historical worlds.

Students who want to broaden their capacity to explain and argue about issues such as species extinction, commodification and capital, animals in biomedical experimentation, and animals and language, will be encouraged to develop an independent habit of reading periodicals and observing how animals are written about in daily newspapers. Studied awareness of ethical debates and global connections, combined with history, should heighten awareness about the roles of humans as part of the natural world.

There will be outdoor learning components to this class, so students who take this course should be prepared to do unconventional assignments that will complement typical book-learning. A field trip to the Natural History Museum is planned. Multiple research methodologies and the cultivation of analog or digital production skills will sharpen students’ analytical skills in a hands-on fashion.

Learning Outcome:

• Gain a working familiarity with key concepts and issues in the study of animals in history.

• Apply historical research methodologies to how humans have studied non-humans.

• Exercise a deeper understanding of primary and secondary sources used to study beings and bodies incapable of narrating their own histories or leaving written historical records by developing practical and creative communication skills. 

Materials:  Small unlined notebook, drawing tools. Optional: camera, audio-recorder 

Attendance:

There are no make-up activities, tests, quizzes, or points of any kind for no-shows. Tardiness or skipping classes for reasons aside from the extraordinary, such as dismemberment, hospitalization, or death, will result in grade deductions. If you are unacceptably late for class, you will be asked to leave. The activities in this class are designed so that everyone in the seminar can make the most of each interactive session, which makes it crucial for you to attend each class. Each absence will result in a 10% reduction of your class participation grade.

Student Assessment

a. Class participation – 30%

This grade includes classroom activities, serving as discussants of assigned readings, class discussion, peer review, field trip and other small assignments.

b. Quizzes – 20%

Pop quizzes are designed to help review and apply key concepts from the prior week.

c. Reading Reflection – 20%

Due at the beginning of class. In 250-300 words on one page, write 1 originally conceived and concisely deliberated question that demonstrates your thoughtful engagement with that week's reading assignment. Use all of the assignments to the best of your ability. Place your name, bibliographic reference (use Chicago style, 16th ed.), date at the top of the page. Write reflexively and openly about your question by using the first-person point of view. Be ready to share your question and receive and give feedback to your peers. Graded Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, or Outstanding.

d. Seminar Research Project – 30%

You will be assigned to a group and select an animal-related issue to research together. The group will identify historical issues and themes to research through this set of animals. Groups will each curate a thematically cogent compilation of original text, art, and photography by deciding on how to further deepen their work conducted during the semester. The resultant compilation of writings results in a co-produced “animalzine". The topic of animals will advance reflexivity about what is fundamentally a human endeavor of authoring history. At the end of the semester, groups will present the processes and results of their research journeys. Instructions to be distributed separately.