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Animal Studies

Seminar: BA, Kulturwissenschaften-/ Kulturgeschichte-/ Sozialwissenschaften-Einführung
Montag, 14.15 - 15.45 Uhr, Ort: AM 105
Veranstaltungsbeginn: 14.10.2013

The animal looks at us, and we are naked before it.
Thinking perhaps begins there.      (Jaques Derrida)

This famous quote from Jaques Derrida’s L’animal que donc je suis (The Animal That Therefore I Am) can be understood as the ultimate revelation of an anthropomorphic consciousness in the tradition of Western thinking. It also alludes to an anthropocentric worldview in which the human subject is the active perceiver of his environment, not an object to be looked at; for all philosophical thinking that allows for the thinker to emancipate from a mere animalistic being, ignites by the look of the creature. The primacy of human kind as “crown of creation” lies at the heart of how Judaeo-Christian societies organized their laws, social life and alimentation. However, human expectations of and presuppositions about animal behavior and an animal’s perception of the human being and the world vary in terms of temporal and spatial context.

The course intends to be an introduction to the relatively new subject of Human-Animal Studies in the realm of sociological, anthropological and cultural studies. It deals with philosophical approaches to subjectivity and questions of cultural and historical preconditions that made our present concept of human-animal relations and forms of coexistence possible.

Literatur: Agamben, Giorgio (2003), Das Offene: Der Mensch und das Tier, Frankfurt.
Derrida, Jaques (2008), The Animal That Therefore I Am, London. Haraway, Donna (2008), When Species Meet, Minneapolis.

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: Students interested in the course please send a short resume of why they want to participate (half a page, in English language) by the end of September to:

Hinweise zur Veranstaltung: In the last week’s session we will visit a real „horse whisperer“ in Brandenburg (30 min. away from Frankfurt)

Leistungsnachweis: Oral presentation and paper

Sprache: English