ENVIRON 244 - Topics in Culture and Environment
Section: 001 Representing Wildlife
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Last year, Connecticut enacted a law making it the first state to allow judges to appoint lawyers as advocates for dogs and cats (similar to what is done for children) in cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect, giving dogs and cats true legal “representation.” Yet, this past June, A New York state appeals court ruled that Chimpanzees are not legal persons who have a right to be free, thereby denying a request by the Nonhuman Rights Project to move two captive apes to a sanctuary. Representing Wildlife examines the origins of this sharp contrast, surveying the evolution of our views towards wildlife as depicted in art, literature, and law. The course begins by looking at the colonial legacy of viewing wildlife in America as abundant, diverse and freely available to all classes –“creatures serving for the use of man,” progressing to increasing awareness of species eradication and the need to regulate local commerce, evolving to efforts to preserve wilderness and habitat, then to more intentional national and international efforts to preserve wildlife and regulate trade, and finally to contemporary challenges to animal management and preservation presented by climate change. A typical unit on the 1970s, for example, includes examining Phillip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, along with the Endangered Species Act and landmark legal cases on the endangered snail darter and Delhi-sands flower-loving fly; we might then look at art by bird illustrator Arthur Singer and wildlife photographers Joel Satore and Moose Patterson. The course will include three classes at the UM Museum of Art with guide David Choberka. Students will acquire the tools to closely examine art, law and literature with attention to both the overt and the nuanced, and to make connections and draw contrasts between these genres that help reveal underlying cultural attitudes, scientific knowledge, and political objectives. Toward these ends, students will write a series of short analyses, actively participate in discussions, lead one discussion, and write three formal essays.

Intended Audience:

Students interested in gaining a better understanding of our evolving and perspectives on wildlife and the challenges to “representing” wildlife.

Class Format:

Discussion and Lecture.

ENVIRON 244 - Topics in Culture and Environment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780275959883
The evolution of national wildlife law, Author: Bean, Michael J., Publisher: Praeger 1997
ISBN: 9780345404473
Do androids dream of electric sheep?, Author: Dick, Philip K.,
ISBN: 9780807014356
Into great silence : a memoir of discovery and loss among vanishing orcas, Author: Saulitis, Eva, 1963-2016., Publisher: Beacon Press 2012
ISBN: 9781451697728
The soul of an octopus : a surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness, Author: Montgomery, Sy,
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