Maria E Garcia
Content varies from quarter to quarter.
Global Guinea Pigs: Animals in Global Perspective
This course examines the multiple ways animals have entered transnational flows through the international economy of food, international development programs, and the transnational movement around animal rights. The globalization of the factory farm model of production has implications for human and non-human animal lives as the epidemics of mad cow disease, avian flu, and swine flu have recently and dramatically demonstrated. This seminar will explore how these diseases, often seen as separate from international political economies, have emerged in and through the processes of industrialization and globalization. Students will also examine the implications of development programs that place traditional animals at the center of new strategies to confront poverty in many parts of the developing world. We will engage this new development literature and ask what the cultural and economic implications of this process are for local communities who often value animals for religious and social reasons that are incommensurable with the metrics of international development. Finally, students will explore the ethical and moral debates that have emerged under the rubrics of animal rights and animal welfare and will look at how concerns for the lives of non-human animals have been expressed by local communities and activists in a global context. Taking animals as the proverbial fish in the water, this course seeks to complicate and de-naturalize the common sense understandings that make non-human animals an all too invisible part of world politics.
Student learning goals
students will become well versed in the literature on development and transnationalism
students will expand their understanding of violence, especially the ways violence against animals is invisibilized
students will develop research and writing skills through the completion of their research paper
students will develop public presentations skills
students will learn how to create a weblog
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Participation in seminar: 20% Weekly responses to readings: 20% In-class presentation: 10% Journal/Blog assignment: 20% Field Research Paper: 30%
Grades will be assigned based on the completion and quality of written work, and the degree of participation in class discussions.