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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jennifer Seltz
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

Class description

ANIMALS AND AMERICAN CULTURE, 1600-2000

Why did Americans kill and dismember wolves for three centuries, and then pass laws protecting them? Why do people pay to look at dolphins and orcas at Sea World? When and why did city dwellers start to think of cats and goldfish as friends? Why did cows replace bison on the Great Plains? What do racetracks and dog shows have to do with debates over imperialism? When did Americans start eating hamburgers, and why might they be stopping? This course will consider the intertwined history of animals and humans in the United States, asking how and why different animals have mattered as sources of food, labor, leisure, pleasure, and power to diverse groups of people. We will examine the histories of animals as symbols of and aids to national expansion, industrialization, and environmental preservation, among other topics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Some background in U.S. or environmental history is helpful, but not required. This is the capstone course for senior history majors.

Class assignments and grading

Some background in U.S. or environmental history is helpful, but not required. This is the capstone course for senior history majors.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Elizabeth A. Campbell
Date: 02/02/2005