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CLU33210 Humans and Other Animals

This module explores basic questions of the relations between humans and animals in the ancient Greco-Roman world and its literatures. Through these questions, the module aims to bring to light key social, poetic, moral, political, historical and philosophical aspects of the ‘human’ in antiquity with particular insights from the contemporary general human/animal studies and ‘posthuman’ studies informed by environmental, sustainability, ecological and other main strands of 21st century research. We will study a representative selection of approaches to human/animal relations in Greek and Roman literatures, visual and material cultures, from Bronze Age Greece to the Roman Empire and late Antiquity.
  • Module Organisers:
    • Prof Monica Gale, Prof Ahuvia Kahane
  • Duration:
    • Semester 2
  • Contact Hours:
    • 27 (22 lectures, 5 seminars)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 50% coursework (one oral presentation, one written assignment), 50% written examination
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Classical Civilisation; Columbia Dual Degree; Ancient and Medieval History and Culture; Visiting; Open Module

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate close, detailed knowledge of the portrayal of animals and the relations between humans and other animals in a wide range of classical Greek and Roman sources.
  • Analyse such sources and explore central aspects of the representation of animals in a focused, careful manner with a view to both specifics and comparative views.
  • Understand some of the key general problems and themes in relation to the place, role and functions of animals within Greek and Roman literature, art, culture, politics, religion, domestic life, etc.
  • Situate analyses and discussions of animals in the ancient world within a wider context of important contemporary work studying animal-human relations in, modern, post-modern and ‘post-human’ literature and thought.
  • Discuss the relations between ancient sources, mentalité (i.e. the perception of one’s place within society and culture) and identity and our grasp and characterization of ‘the human’ in classical Greek and Roman past.
  • Understand the practicalities of how to approach diverse and wide-ranging ancient materials from an overall unifying perspective, independently, comparatively and in the context of general critical frameworks
  • Work effectively in small groups