Module type: Explorations
Module code: HIS00085I
Animals have played a crucial role in human history. Valued as beasts of burden, consumed as food, hunted for sport, exhibited for pleasure and studied by scientists, animals have shaped the development of European society. At the same time, they have themselves elicited contradictory human emotions, from curiosity and pity to affection and fear. This module explores the evolution of human-animal relations in the years 1700-1900 and uses the history of animals to explore wider cultural and social developments during this period. We look at animals in a variety of settings, from the circus ring to the laboratory, the savannah to the dinner table, considering their contrasting roles as commodities, specimens, companions and victims of abuse. Students will get the chance to study the history of animals through a range of primary sources, including novels, art, zoo guides and RSPCA reports.
Seminars will likely cover the following areas:
Group project work will focus on the idea of animal biography. Students will complete a detailed study of a well-known individual animal to elucidate the wider themes and issues of animal history. Sources will be provided on a range of animals – from Jumbo the elephant to Greyfriars Bobby. Alternatively, students may choose their own subject in consultation with the module leader.
Fore more information, please visit the module catalogue.