MWF 08:00-09:00 AM 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Bristin Jones

As long as homo sapiens have told stories, we have told them about, through, and with animals. Literary texts are the imaginative staging ground for complicating and blurring the human/animal divide. They encourage us to pose philosophical and ethical questions such as: What does it mean to be human? What differentiates humans from non-human animals? Is it possible to access knowledge and to communicate without verbal language?  If so, what might that kind of knowledge and that kind of communication look like?

This course serves as an introduction to the emerging fields of animal studies and posthumanist theory. We will explore questions raised by literary animals from multiple perspectives, including from the point of view of (fictional) animals themselves. The texts we read will encourage us to reexamine our anthropocentric assumptions and to push back against narratives of human exceptionalism.

This is a writing-intensive course that builds upon the skills you have gained in the first course of the Reading and Composition sequence. In this course, you will use your critical reflections on the texts as starting points for developing two papers, the latter of which will incorporate research on literary criticism. You will develop your papers through a series of brainstorming assignments, drafts, in-class workshops, peer reviews, and revisions. In addition, you will also complete shorter weekly reading responses and assignments devoted to specific elements of essay writing.

Literary texts may include:

Miguel de Cervantes, The Dialogue of the Dogs
Giacomo Leopardi, Little Moral Works and selections from Canti
Giovanni Verga, Selected short stories
Horacio Quiroga, Selected short stories
Italo Svevo, Argo and his Master
Julio Cortázar, “Axolotl”